by Brian Duffey
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
In 2013, weighing 210 pounds, and no longer wanting to put it off for "tomorrow" I made a promise to my daughter, but most importantly to myself, to run at least one marathon with her. So on May 4, 2013, I committed to the ride of my life. After watching my daughter complete her first 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, I went home and began my own journey, jogging 1 mile (at 13 minute pace).
Race day was like a "story untold". It started off as a cold and blustery morning and I was certain that most of our students, parents, and even staff would choose not to participate; but as the morning began to unfold I was proven wrong. We had approximately 97% of the runners and 100% of staff show. As I stood in my corral before the start of the marathon, I realized that this was the first time I was alone, not with the students and staff. All morning my thoughts were on my students and their goals and their safety. Qualifying for Boston was at best just a fleeting thought, but as the race unfolded like a house of cards, I realized that I was ahead of the required pace to qualify but still knew many things could go wrong. The desire of potentially qualifying began to erase all doubts, my pace was still strong, but more importantly my belief was stronger. Nearing the finish line the feeling of accomplishment started to engulf me. Knowing all the hard work and steps taken meant something and that my students were there waiting to talk about their moment being monumental as well as supporting me in my journey.