I ran 40 miles on my 40th birthday to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s. My incentive was a natural result of my great love and devotion for my dad, Guy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years ago.
From 6 a.m. until 2 p.m., I ran eight five-mile segments. The day was one of celebration, as many friends and family members turned out to share in parts of my run. The atmosphere was one of unity and friendship as my mom, Cathy, brother, Matt, my sister, Megan and my dad, Guy, did everything to support all the runners and me with food and drinks. There were smiles all around for a community event that took a year of planning and much physical effort.
As you can imagine, success in such an endeavor encompasses multiple goals. These included raising public awareness, raising a sizeable amount of money, creating a fun-filled activity and having an important specific purpose, all realized within the running community umbrella. Last, but certainly not least, was the goal of running 40 miles — not an easy task for most. As measured by all of these parameters, the day’s event surpassed all my goals. Hard work behind the scenes helped to raise $6,600.00 for NPF’s Team Hope for Parkinson’s. My family was outstanding and embraced all the participants. The running community shared their effort and their love of running, especially for a good cause.
My husband, Erik, and I appreciate the fact that our exercise routines provide an invaluable lesson to our children and those living with Parkinson’s: One exercises to both feel good and to be healthy in mind and body. We want our children to get the message to strive for balance and to see exercise as a healthy way to cope with stressors and better our health.
While I don multiple hats — spouse, parent, work peer, athlete — I work to maintain emotional balance. A loving, nurturing family such as mine, gives me the courage to dream and then we can all blossom. Thanks go to my family, friends and strangers who pursue their goals and generously give of their effort to build up the community in various ways.
I was brought up in Park Rapids, in central Minnesota — the North Star state and the Land of a Thousand Lakes. While I live in Florida, train in Florida and ran the event in Florida, I will forever be a Minnesota girl, not to mention a “dad’s girl”— and I did this for him.