No one recognized the man who blistered the 10K course at DONNA Marathon Weekend. I followed him from the finish line to where he picked up his medal, and then to his wife who lifted a small bald-headed girl into his arms. It turns out he was from the UK, here for his daughter’s treatment.
On the other side of town, another man was running the 110 Ultra Marathon. He says he’s “not a runner” but decided to do the Ultra because his sister, who died from breast cancer, was “so ultra,” always living life to the fullest.
These were just some of the stories that carried me as I ran what I call the “26.2 miles of smiles” on Sunday. As always, our runners were greeted with warm cheers, popsicles, mimosas, music and pink everything along the streets of Jacksonville and our wonderful beaches communities from Ponte Vedra to Atlantic Beach. They were given so much love and support from you, my amazing neighbors. I am so in awe of how you own this event. You have long recognized that everyone just wants to matter and they want their loved ones to know they matter.
When we had the chance to become the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, you took it to heart. Once again, you welcomed runners from every state and almost a dozen countries to our streets to help us offer a hand to those in need with breast cancer and to fund groundbreaking research to end the disease. Most importantly, you showed them the best of the First Coast: our people.
Thank you from the bottom of my very full heart.