I don't know if you've heard any of the stories about what happened in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon, but for me, it turned out to be the best race I've had yet!!!
We started the race under a tornado watch, which turned into a warning. We knew there was a chance they would have to cut the race short and take us off of the course early, but we were hopeful we'd get a break in the weather and be able to finish. I was running about two minutes ahead of my pace at mile 5, but knew there were a lot of difficult miles ahead. We were on a part of the course where the front part of the group turns and runs back past the runners behind them. I had been thinking about the inspiration dinner the previous night, and one of our team members, Mallory Chandler, from the Atlanta team who I have become friends with and was running her first marathon in Nashville.
Race day was Mallory's seven year "cancer free" anniversary. I had promised her I would go back out on the course to see her finish after I had finished. At about mile 6, I started thinking about how much more important Mallory finishing was than any time I would finish in, so...........
Somewhere around mile 7, I saw Mallory running the other direction, heading onto the part of the course I had just been on, so I decided to turn around and run with her!!! Long story short, we ran the rest of the race together. IT WAS AMAZING!!! I had more fun and felt reconnected with why I started doing this in the first place. Mallory had a great time!!
I would run ahead and get groups of spectators or cheerleaders to chant her name “Mal or E, Mal or E, Mal or E!”, she would smile and laugh and it helped her get through some of the difficult times in the race. One of the Atlanta coaches joined us around mile 10 and we all finished the race together (they closed the course just around mile 21 due to weather and made us go to the finish line). Mallory was so excited to have finished, and for me, it made what could have been a disappointment in a shortened course into one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of.
To top it all off, later that night a group of us went out and I talked the band into letting Mallory and me come up on the stage in front of several hundred people and announce her accomplishment and anniversary!!! We all have different reasons for why we're participating, and even though the event didn't go off like we all wanted, it turned out to be an incredible event nonetheless!! Thank you, Mary, and Ana so much for being part of our team, you have a great family and I'm thankful we've become friends.
Bruce Scruggs first joined Team In Training in 2009 and has quickly racked up several TNT events under his belt. Next up for Bruce, the 2010 Chicago Marathon.
Mallory Chandler celebrated her seventh year anniversary as a survivor at the 2010 Country Music Marathon. She is also set to do the 2010 Chicago Marathon with Team In Training.