Why did you sign up to do this race?
I signed up for the Piggyback Dash because it raises money for the Lance Purschke Memorial Scholarship. I heard about it the year before but was unable to make it due to work. I was not going to miss it this year. There is something special about a smaller race where people all have an attachment to the cause. Lance passed away my senior year of high school. We went to different schools. I can not pass up a chance to go home and run a race that keeps the memory of a great teenager alive.
We can piggyback someone up Autumn Hill in Union, MO at the end of the race. You don’t have to but you can if you want. The piggyback part is because Lance always encouraged people to run the hill to practice. When someone struggled, Lance went back and carried them up the .2 mile hill. I am drawn to an event that celebrates that encouraging spirit.
How did you feel once you crossed the finish line?
I was so relieved to not have dropped my mother-in-law on the piggyback part of the run. While I carried my mother-in-law up the hill, she was dialing our family members.
(I don’t think there is a photo to prove it, but trust me).
She was telling my sisters what a great race this was — but remember, she was being carried for a portion of it. By the end of the hill climb, she had 15 family members ready to run next year. Plus she already outlined that we would not be carrying grown adults.
(I will be, though).
What would you say was the hardest challenge in this race?
I feel the whole run was a challenge for me. I have felt like that for the last 5+ years of racing. People that I had stayed ahead of the whole race passed me on the hill while I was carrying my mother-in-law.
Ten years ago, I would have been one of those people that had finished 15 minutes earlier. I was fit and loved running. Now due to illness, kids, and excuses – I am not fit.
I do still love to run. So the challenge is just me seeing past who I was and who I am. Each year, I have worked harder on eliminating some of the excuses and I get a little faster.
What was the most rewarding thing about completing this run?
When Lance carried people up the hill, they were the same size as him. That thought is why I carried my mother-in-law? I had to follow Lance’s example and carry an adult. I know a couple other people did carry adults, but I only saw people carrying children while I raced.
So I honored his memory. He would have gotten a good laugh out of it all.
Was there anything or anyone in particular that helped you throughout your training?
I would say my mother-in-law, who giggled the entire time we were trying to complete the hill part of the race. I do not know how many grown people would say yes to being carried up a hill. But she did!
She sang, cheered, called people, and sang some more while she was on my back. I can tell you I was a bit disappointed that she has no ability to jump. She is amazing and I am thankful for her and her positive cheering.
Any final words of encouragement and thoughts you’d like to share?
I mentioned before I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. I had 2 marathons under my belt and now I struggle on a 5K. That does not take away from the love of the race. I still hold my breath at the start due to excitement. I smile throughout the races, even in pain.
There is something to be said about getting the same rush from coming in first or yes, coming in last. I still finished. You will finish. We will do something that other people didn’t even think about doing that morning of the race. We will run.
One last thought: big races have a huge draw. Those races have excitement, entertainment and huge groups of runners. Make sure you sign up for the smaller hometown races, too. Those races hold hometown pride, spirit, and a huge amount of love.
I might just see you out there; I will be the one in the back.