I love the kilted runner.   Photo credit:  Colleen O’Neil Moran

So humbled and inspired to be a part of the magical day that unfolded in downtown Milwaukee on the Lakefront Marathon course.  Team Ann’s Hope ran the miles with smiles sporting bright yellow shirts!  The weather was perfect:  cool with a slight cloud-cover.  At one point we faced a harsh headwind.  The moment we unfurled the name of an angel that we loved, there was a whoosh of air shifting to tailwind. One of the women I was running with said, “Did you feel that?  Did that really just happen?”  I believe.

Our team leaders planted a few words in my mind during our Saturday evening pasta dinner.  One talked to us about faith and trust.  The other used the analogy that Sunday would be the party where the journey of the last four months of training concludes in the joy of accomplishment.  I let the words faith and trust sink into my bones (I even wrote the words on my hands with a silver Sharpie as a race-day reminder).  Somehow, with the support of our amazing volunteers at the Ann’s Hope cheer stations along the 26.2 mile route, a little party unfolded in my heart.  Something magical happened as this was hands-down my happiest marathon ever.  EVER.  Perhaps because I was a witness to so many achieving their goals and honoring their loved ones.

So many brave hearts on this team – like those that had never ran more than 3 miles back in the spring of 2012.  They crossed the finish line with gigantic smiles and authentic joy.  This was another stride forward in search of a melanoma cure.  I am so grateful to have been on this journey.

Grab and go water!

This series of photos by: John Siepmann