Steve Wisinski - Participated in honor of Jack DeWitt
Last year after NYC Marathon was cancelled I ran in another marathon in Columbia City, IN, which is about 4 hours from my house. I wasn't able to finish that race due to a stomach bug, but the DeWitts came down to support me and gave me the clock necklace as a trophy. They were very sweet and supportive and that trophy has meant a lot to me. Since I was finally able to run this year I made sure I brought the clock with me.
It was an amazing feeling finishing that race after two years of preparing. And running for FARA and for
|Steve at the Finish Line!|
Jack was huge motivation and inspiration to get through it all. This was by far my best and most complete marathon and I still have the "runner's high" when I think about it. I think running for this cause was a big reason for it. I had a goal bigger than myself. I knew I had a bunch of people behind me, cheering and supporting me.
I had a small card that I used throughout the last 6 miles. I had each mile listed on it and corresponded each mile to someone whom I cherish and helped me get to where I was. It was also someone who inspires me to make it the last miles of the race (it is said the race starts at 20. I believe that). I had Jack and FARA at my 26th mile and the inspiration hit me when I needed it most.
John and Julia Lagedrost – Participated in honor of Joanna Lagedrost
Being a part of Team FARA was great, as always. And getting the chance to represent the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance in New York City was terrific. The FARA logo on our jerseys was a continual reminder of the cause for which we were running. Often it's easy to take for granted the ease of our everyday activities - things like walking, driving, pouring a glass of water, and of course, running.
|Julia and John Celebrating their Victory|
But being a part of Team FARA provides a reminder of the importance of the cause, especially since running a marathon stands in such stark contrast to the limited physical capabilities of the people for whom we're racing. And the outpouring of support from friends, family, and the FARA community this year was overwhelming and made the experience truly unforgettable.
|Lori, John and Julia Getting Ready to Race for Team FARA!|
Lori Pitta - Participated in honor of Donovan Simpson
When people describe the NYC Marathon as one big moving party, it is an appropriate description. I was ready for the race my training was done, I was wearing my FARA race shirt, with a picture of Donovan & I taped to my back, and my FARA baseball cap. I was running fairly strong until close to miles 12 & 13, I was becoming very overheated and was struggling. I was trying to work through it and not be overwhelmed or negative. Thankfully my mind wandered from the physical issues and I thought hey I am running for Team FARA and for Donovan, it does not matter what time I finish, I just have to finish strong. I am running for others that cannot run. What I am going through right now is nothing compared to what Donovan and others with FA have to endure every day. That thinking flipped a switch for me and I moved away from the physical pain, I just hunkered down and kept going.
At mile 24 I was climbing up the hills in Central Park feeling weary, and I heard someone running next to me say, " is that Lori?" - My friend Joni also running said she heard someone shout Lori, then she saw the picture on my back and knew it was me. Joni reminding me of the picture on my back re-focused me on getting the race done and that Donovan would push me over the finish line-- and that he did. But I received the best news of all two days later from Debra Simpson- she wrote me an e-mail and shared this news with me… "As you were running at about mile 10 or so, Donovan was walking across his own finish line for the Make A Wish walk at FDR state park. Norm and I were supporting him, but he actually walked across the line! Donovan's surgery was a success!" Completing the marathon was nothing compared to Donovan walking across the Make A Wish finish line. Donovan's finish is to be burnished in our memories, hopefully with many more finish line successes for FA to come in the future.