Sara Whitten, Executive Assistant
Event: Loch Ness Marathon – Inverness, Scotland
My sister emailed me in October 2016 with a link to the 2017 Loch Ness marathon, with the note, “this is a really great price…I’m just putting it out there.” Of course this sparked my interest, I cave to peer-pressure and being Scottish, I could run on my home turf. I was in! I ran my first marathon in 2013 and since then have completed five, using three of them to fundraise for the MS Society. I was excited that my sixth marathon would include a visit home to see my family and would be another opportunity for me to fundraise.
Shortly after I registered, my cousin Peter registered and then my sister – it would be the first marathon for both of them. During our training, we would message one another encouragement – this was going to be a fun event.
Fast-forward 24 weeks – I was boarding a plane from Charlotte to Glasgow! My Mum, sister and other family members greeted me at the airport and we were off to Inverness. The day of the marathon was windy, rainy and cold. After five-hours, I crossed the finish line with my cousin Peter; two-hours later my sister (who walked the entire race) finished. It was an amazing experience.
As I mentioned before, I use my marathons as fundraisers for the MS Society. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My life didn’t change radically, but it made me approach it differently. I thought about my fitness more and became active in martial arts, weight training and running. I run to raise awareness for my people, my people with MS. So far, in six races I have raised almost $18,000. I still plan on running more races, but I go to bed every night with the full realization that when I wake up I may not be able to walk or see. I didn’t choose this charity, it chose me.
John DeWalt, Senior Project Manager
Event: Chicago Marathon – Chicago, Illinois
Bucket lists, everyone has them, mine includes running all the “big” marathons in the US. I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in DC in 2007 and qualified for Boston. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2014 and 2015 and New York City in 2016. The Chicago Marathon was the last big one to conquer and 2017 was going to be the year.
I run for the camaraderie of training with my friends and the feeling of accomplishment when I cross the finish line. Three of my friends decided to race Chicago, so we had a pretty fun weekend. Running Chicago was a great experience – it is the second largest marathon in the US behind the New York City marathon. The crowd was enormous and represented the city well. When I finished the race, the sense of accomplishment was overwhelming and another item was off my bucket list.
Matt Ventimiglia, Director of Preconstruction
Event: Ragnar Trail Carolinas – Fort Mill, South Carolina
Two years ago a group from church decided to run the Ragnar Trail Carolinas. Hurricane Matthew blew through the Carolinas and cut the race short. Our team had completed two legs of the race each, when the event was cancelled for safety. Everyone was really disappointed and we felt like we had not completed our goal of finishing the race.
For those that are not familiar with a Ragnar Trail race, it is a relay trail race. A team of four to eight runners run three loops (a 3-mile, 5-mile, and 7-mile). The race takes place over two-days, including through the night. It takes about 24 hours for teams to complete all 24 loops. Each runner competes 15 to 16 miles, with the team logging 120 to 128 miles total!
The Messenger Newsletter | December 2017 | Shiel Sexton Carolinas