Friday, April 15, 2011

26.2 Is No Laughing Matter

There’s nothing funny about running 26.2 miles, and there is certainly nothing funny about getting up at the crack of dawn to train for such an event. If you think I’m talking from experience you definitely do not know me because although I like to challenge myself, running a marathon has never placed top on my list.

Oddly enough I have many friends that have run marathons. Some have even run more than one; which got me thinking, am I hanging around with  a bunch of lunatics or am I simply missing out on something really special.

I Stopped Along The Way to talk with my friend Barbara Vanderwilden about what has inspired her to run in this year’s Boston Marathon. I can assure you that Barbara is not a lunatic, but she is a woman of strength propelled by a passion much deeper and stronger than a finish line.

The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual city marathon in the world and is ranked one of the most prestigious running events in the world. On Monday April 18th approximately  25,000 people are expected to contend. To enter you have to qualify, and to stay in the race requires months of training. 

Barbara shared how as a little girl living in Boston’s North End she had always wanted to run the Boston Marathon. She is running as part of a team that supports MDSC the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. The MDSC team advocates for people with Down Syndrome. Because this is the 115 Boston Marathon, and the last year that the MDSC is a sponsored charity for the Boston Marathon, the stars aligned and she decided it was time to live out her childhood dream.

Barbara is a wife to John and mother of two to Emily and Max. Emily, the older of the two, is a wonderful big sister. She is Max's biggest cheerleader, and patient with him in everything that he tries to accomplish. Max has Down Syndrome and is a burst of sunshine. Whether he’s giving you a rendition of Taio Cruz’s Dynamite or flashing his wide smile at you, he’ll have you in stitches and win your heart.

In speaking with her it was clear that her journey was made possible by so many people. The continued support of her family has been crucial to her daily routine and a source of motivation and inspiration. With over $18 thousand dollars that she raised for MDSC she is extremely grateful to family and friends that helped her achieve her financial goal. In total 24 runners supporting MDSC have raised over $80 thousand dollars. Let's not forget about Beantown Bootcamp, six months of rigorous training during the extremely cold New England winter, now that's commitment!

I wish Barbara an easy run on Monday, and salute her and all the participants  that have devoted their time to a cause bigger than they. I'm so glad that I made this stop! It reassured me that my friends are not lunatics, and that yes, 26.2 is no laughing matter.

To follow Barbara during the marathon click here and follow her number 22678

1 comment:

  1. GO BABS, GO! Just looked here ... if she keeps up current pace site is projected time = 4:40:46