Now, our youngest daughter [of four kids], who’s in the 6th grade, is a runner. Her fastest time is a 5:45 mile. I never have and never will run a mile at that pace, but watching her brings so much joy and pride.
MORE: What inspires you to keep running?
KL: The first person who comes to mind is my dad. He remembers running the New York City marathon in its early years, in 1974. There were only a few hundred runners that participated back then. After the race they were each given a locker in the local YMCA so they could shower and change. Could you imagine? I wish I had gone to see him cross that finish line but I never made the trip in with him. My dad was a teacher and a coach, but he had to stop running a while back because of phlebitis.
Running with Lollie each year has been the best. Now, she is a runner. She has the look and the discipline. I can't thank her enough for her patience and her unwavering willingness to stick by my side. She could run at a much quicker pace. I know I hold her back, but she would never even think of leaving my side. We stick together each and every year. We talk the entire race. I know for a fact, in years past when I have had a doozy of a story to share, many runners just hang around us, just to have me finish the story and hear it.
Lollie is the one that keeps me going those last three miles. I swear they lie when they say it's three miles to go. It feels like five! But when we start to hear the music and see the crowds get thicker, we know we are close to that finish line, and that is why we are here, to finish. We grab each other's hands and raise them high in the air as we cross the finish line. We act as if we won the race, and in some sense we have. We did it. We won. I may not be a pretty runner to watch, especially at the end, but I do it, because I can.