Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Four Years of Marathons

By Ross Forman

I remember sitting at my parents’ kitchen table about 4 ½ years ago. It was May or June, 2007, and I was there to tell them that I wouldn’t be joining the family that year for Thanksgiving dinner, which my mom always cooks.

I was, instead, going to be in Florence, Italy, to run my first marathon.

I’m sure they thought I was crazy. In fact, I thought I was crazy for even thinking I could run 26.2 miles.

But, I had registered with the endurance-training program that supported the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and was determined to cross that finish-line in Florence – and not just because my friend Chuck bet me $1 that I wouldn’t make it, which he did pay.

Well, I crossed that finish-line in Florence – and have run 14 total marathons in four years.

Yep, the guy who once said, and still kind of believes, that the best way to go 26.2 miles is in a car, ideally with a chauffer, is a 14-time marathoner.

I never thought I could run one marathon, let alone 14 – with No. 15 right around the corner and No. 16 already planned.

Clearly, running is an addiction.

Even my distain for pasta hasn’t slowed my passion.

I think about Florence every Thanksgiving time, and when I’m officiating high school hockey games this weekend, my mind will, at times, drift back to Florence.

My next marathon is Sunday, Dec. 9, when I run the Honolulu Marathon for the fourth consecutive year. One thing that really means a lot to me about this marathon is that both my mom and dad will be in Hawaii, cheering as I run through Waikiki at about Mile 5, and then again in Kapiolani Park, when the Puka shells are placed around my neck, signifying I finished the race.

I’ve made so many friends through running, particularly this summer when, for the first time, I was a Coach for the Team To End AIDS (T2) endurance-training program.

There will be T2 runners from Chicago and Los Angeles participating in the Honolulu Marathon, which certainly makes the event extra special. I hope the rookie T2 runners in Hawaii will have the same overwhelming emotions that I enjoyed in Florence – and I know they will.

There’s something about running a marathon, as I know 14 times. The emotions run the gamut. From pure joy to

I couldn’t be happier, or more proud, that I skipped Thanksgiving dinner 2007 to become a marathoner.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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