My Inspiration … and My Motivation

What a great event on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Marathon should make our city and our region proud. Despite the weather, which was wet but cool by running standards, over ten thousand ran through the city streets while thousands watched and cheered along every inch of the race route.

A big shout out to all of you who cheered the runners on to victory. You energized those runners and made the 26.2 mile full marathon or the 13.1 mile half-marathon seem much shorter. I know all about this because I was one of those runners who laced up the sneakers and ran.

Two months ago, the Pittsburgh marathon was the farthest thing from my mind. Weighing 225,  I would go to the gym and run five miles on the treadmill ( never losing any weight ) but never envisioned that I would have the stamina and fortitude to take part in a half-marathon.

However, someone did. Lisa is a friend of  mine from football tailgating season – and a devoted runner. She’s done half-marathons before and could see that perhaps that kind of challenge would be good for me. She talked me into it … and I think it was the fear of letting her down and being a “wuss” that made me go from the treadmill to the Montour Trail every other day for two months.

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My running partnr, Lisa Flynn, an myself with Tim Lunardi. He’s the owner of Lunardi’s Restaurant in Beechview. We had a pre-race pasta dinner before Sunday’s event.

By raceday, her motivation moved me to start running … and really never stop. We ran together through the Strip, the North Side and the South Side. By the time we reached the finish line 13.1 miles later, we held hands and crossed together!

If Lisa was my motivation, when I did start to tire on the course, a young girl from Greene County was my inspiration. Her name is Chrissy Lahew and I have told you about her before. We met at the Greene County Relay for Life. She was just six years old at the time and battling luekemia. However, you could not tell her struggles when you saw her smile and heard her laugh. We started a conversation … that became a friendship … that lasted for 10 years.

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With Chrissy Lahew at the Greene County Relay for Life at Waynesburg Central HS. We met 10 years ago when she was battling cancer. Ten years later, the event has become out annual chance to renew our friendship … and watch her grow up.

I saw her at the Relay for Life at Waynesburg High School the day before the marathon. She is now beautiful young woman about to get her learner’s permit to drive … and planning to study forensic science. She has a boyfriend and a firm grasp on her future. However, Chrissy is still the sweet little girl with the winning smile who has overcome on the greatest killers known to man. If she can stare cancer in the face and beat it, why can’t I run 13 miles?

My Inspiration and my Motivation combined to help take me somewhere I had never been before … and to a point in my life I could not have imagined. I’m more fit, in better shape and happier than I have been in years … and I owe it to two very talented young women who have moved mountains by just being themselves.

Ladies … thank you!

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