by Jeffery Suhr
Recently, I went downstairs in my home and counted 22 Fox Cities Marathon medals among my running memorabilia. Each one linked to fond memories of running races with my four daughters and loving wife cheering me on.
I first got interested in running when I was a Lutheran minister and members of my congregation ran in a local event. I went to watch them and thought, “they look like they’re going at a pretty slow pace. I can do that too.”
Little did I know, it wasn’t so much about the pace, as it was about the distance. And, even more quickly I realized running isn’t even about the destination as much as it is about the journey.
I’m 71 now, and my years of running are slowing down. I am looking at what will likely be my final race, so I wanted to invite some very special people to take one last running journey with me: my four daughters.
Now grown, married and with children of their own, I asked each daughter take a leg of the Orthopedic & Sports Institute Relay event at the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Presented by Miron Construction this year. Without hesitation, all four agreed. Our plan is to have my youngest daughter start and then gradually get to the oldest who will pass the last leg of the marathon off to me.
My wife is a retired nurse, and she worries about me running long distances. I like to stay active though and running is something I enjoy; I was second in my division of 65-69-year-olds a few years ago at the Fox Cities Marathon. (I think she feels better knowing this is a shorter distance and our daughters are going to be running with me.)
I’ve always loved how the Fox Cities Marathon brings people together. It brings families together. It brings friends together and it brings community together. Running it with my daughters brings that all together for me.
Looking back, I don’t remember all the races I ran, how I felt running them or even where all of them were, but I do remember who was there. And while this race very well may be my last, it will be incredibly special running with my daughters and knowing my wife, sons-in-law and grandkids will all be cheering us on at the finish line.
I can’t wait for all of us to create that memory together on race day. I hope you make some memories too!