26.2 Miles of Motivation: Why I’m Running a Marathon for Healthy Schools Campaign

July 17, 2008

Today we have a guest blog from Anne Honzel, a member of HSC’s Charity Athletics Team

I ran my first Chicago Marathon 20 years ago. 1988 was a milestone year. I got married, and ran my personal best marathon! Of course, I never considered that it would be my fastest marathon for all time. Throughout my twenties and then my thirties, I assumed I could run that 26.2 miles just a little faster. It’s amazing the perspective your forties bring.

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I ran Boston, a bunch of Chicagos, Grandma’s and the Fox River Marathon chasing that personal record. Finally, with thoughts about starting a family, I gave Chicago one last shot in 1997, a year before my first son Henry was born.

I trained super hard, did track work and lots of long runs. Still no new PR, but a decent time I could retire with. At 40,000 runners I deemed the course too crowded….and too long. I was done trying to conquer the Chicago Marathon.

When my second son Max turned two, a good friend talked me into running the distance again. With some baby weight to lose, I got back on the marathon road. The 2003 Cleveland Marathon would be my tenth, my slowest, and my hardest! At the finish line, I strongly declared, absolutely no more marathons! Being a mom runner with two small children is way different than running when you’re a newlywed at 25! Running a marathon is hard!

So, I traded in all those running hours for volunteer hours and have been active with the boys’ schools over the past few years. I’ve climbed the volunteer ladder, and this year will proudly be co-president of the Kingsley School PTA.

Our theme for the year, “Kingsley Goes Green,” promotes healthy living and sustainability for all beings and our planet. It includes getting the kids outside more by establishing gardens and nature trails around the school, and building an amphitheater as an outdoor classroom and meeting area. Our first event and fundraiser to kick off the year will be a fun run and Eco-fest.

While doing research for this event and the upcoming year, a friend forwarded me a link to the Healthy Schools Campaign website.

“Clean Environment, Healthy Children, Better Education,” was at the top of the page. Everything we’re striving for! And in the middle of the page, “Run for Healthy Schools…Register Today.” Before I really knew what I was doing, I had joined the Healthy Schools Campaign team and registered to run the Chicago marathon.

What a great tie-in to Kingsley’s goals! What better way to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of my first Chicago marathon than by running one more time to raise money and awareness for Healthy Schools Campaign.

So I’m back on the road running those long miles and loving it! I’m not chasing that personal record, not thinking about losing weight — I am running with the number one motivation of benefiting our children.

Over the past 20 years, it is the best reason I’ve ever had for running a marathon.