Rewarded by the Smile on the Face of my Biggest Fan

My journey as a runner began in 2004, when a group of friends challenged my husband and me to train with them to run a half marathon. Until then, I had logged many miles as a race walker. Since I’m always up for a new challenge, the training began and I transitioned from being a race walker to a runner. The transition was easier than I thought it would be, and I quickly fell in love with running.

After that first half marathon, I began to sign up for race after race including 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s and halves. I never really considered 26.2 as a runner, although I had covered that distance twice as a race walker. In 2007 another group of friends formed a training group called the Northshore Running Club, and invited my husband and me to join the insanity of training for our first marathon. We accepted yet another running challenge and ran our first marathon in October 2007: the Marine Corps Marathon. My primary goal was to finish, and my secondary goal was to break four hours. The months of training paid off and I successfully met both of my goals! I ran my first marathon in 3:55:32 and finally became a marathon runner!

In 2008, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston for a continuing education course on running. The course was sponsored by the American Medical Athletic Association and the organization gave their members a fund raising opportunity to run Boston in conjunction with attending the course. I was so excited to have this chance, because I never thought I would be fast enough to qualify for Boston!

In 2008, the women’s marathon Olympic trial was also being held in Boston. The Sunday before Marathon Monday, I got the chance to see some of the fastest women in the U.S. fight to earn a spot on the Olympic team. All I can say is “Wow”! I did get a little ego boost that trip when someone asked me if I was there to run in the trials (at least I “looked” fast). My first Boston experience was amazing! Because I was running as a fund raiser, I started at the back of the pack. I enjoyed every mile and set a goal to return as a qualified runner!

With my Biggest Fan

In 2009, I ran the New York Marathon in 3:39:45 and met my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon! I was thrilled to know I would be returning after officially earning my spot! Training for Boston began soon after New York and it seemed April arrived in an instant. 2010 was a special year and my favorite Boston to date! The race that year was so special because my mom, AKA “my biggest fan,” joined me on the trip. My running partner at the time, Paul George, and his brother Jim also made the journey to Boston that year. Due to a calf injury, Paul was unable to participate in the marathon. Instead of running, he was there to support his running buddy and his brother. He also did an outstanding job as tour guide for my mother.

Marathon Monday arrived and Paul convinced me I was capable of running a 3:30 marathon (although my goal was 3:35). I hopped on the school bus to Hopkinton that morning with visions of a PR in my head. When the time came to start, I confidently went out at a 3:30 pace. The towns clicked by: Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley. The scream tunnel at Wellesley is a noise you can hear from what seems a mile away! What an awesome part of the Boston experience and a great display of fan support!

Somewhere between Wellesley and Newton, I began to regret my decision to start out at 8:00 minute pace. The hills had arrived and they were eating me alive! I felt the PR slowly slipping away with each successive mile. Heartbreak Hill definitely broke my heart and my stride! I continued to push through, although at a much slower pace. I made it to Brookline and knew the race was soon coming to an end. “Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running” had become my mantra. It was as much a mental battle as a physical one! I was so incredibly happy when I saw the Citgo sign in Boston! One more mile!

The closer I got to the finish, the larger and louder the crowd grew. That crowd support was the surge I needed to push on to the end. Those final steps down Boylston Street were amazing! You can definitely feel the love and support of the city when you approach the finish line! I crossed the finish line in 3:40:41 that day. Even though I didn’t PR or reach my goal, I was very proud of the effort I put forth. I was even happier when I got to see my running buddy, and especially my mom’s face after the race! Smiles all around!

Although I hadn’t achieved my goal that day, I discovered Paul’s brother Jim had a phenomenal race. He placed in his age group and was set to receive an award. I never even imagined I would attend the award ceremonies at a Boston Marathon, but I did that year! Jim George ran the marathon in 2:40:54 and placed 2nd in his age division. What an impressive achievement! That’s just one more reason why I have such fond memories of Boston 2010.

I ran Boston again in 2012 and 2014, but 2010 will always be my favorite. I’m so glad my mom was able to be there with me and share the experience. We had a wonderful time together that year! She also joined me in Boston for the last time in 2012. Another great trip and precious time spent with mom! My mom unexpectedly passed away in November 2012 and a part of me died with her. Life’s not the same without her. When the marathon rolls around, I always think about her and the smile on her face. She will forever and always be my biggest fan! And I will continue to “just keep running”…

Amy Macon
Brandon, Mississippi
April 19, 2010
Age – 38
Bib # 16473