I am happy to share a blog post from Michael Chappell. Michael ran with Team Inheritance of Hope in the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon. It was his first marathon – a memorable experience because of it being his first … as well as the fact that the temperature was crazy cold – about 30 degrees! Michael shined as he ran for the families attending the Disney retreat that same weekend. Inspired by this event Michael went from running for families, to running with his family. Michael will share a memorable experience running with his family this past year…
About a year ago, Deric spoke with me about running a race for Inheritance of Hope. I decided to run in the Disney Marathon a few months later.
I discovered that I really enjoyed the training and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. I wanted to share this sense with my family, so I challenged them all to complete the Country Music Half Marathon with me the next year. Being a competitive crowd, they didn’t require much convincing and quickly became excited about participating in the event.
Over the next few months, we shared tips and encouragement, our struggles and our triumphs. We each used our own methods of preparation, from my brother’s sitting on the couch and seeing how he’d do to my dad’s full 13-mile runs weeks prior to the race. Before we knew it, the race was upon us.
We converged on Nashville, Tennessee—my wife, parents, sisters, brother, and brother-in-law (another brother was unable to come due to the threat of severe weather)—the evening before the event, laid out our lime green tech shirts, and talked strategy. In the morning, we drove to the race start and waited anxiously. There, we hung out with about 25,000 people waiting to join us on our journey. The race began at the Parthenon and weaved through downtown Nashville, ending at LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans).
I spent the entire race running alongside my father, and really enjoyed the 2 hours, 30 minutes we spent running through the city. Stationed along the course were my wife and mother, who took our pictures and cheered us on. My brother, who spent the majority of the training season watching and talking a little trash, was able to easily finish ahead of all of us (ok, so he spent a few years running cross country), and we all finished within 3 hours of starting. Although we were very nearly caught in a downpour at the end of the race, we mostly had a successful day.
Upon returning to my parents’ house, we all commiserated about our soreness and nursed our injuries. This was the most enjoyable part of the whole event, sitting around and sharing the stories of each of our own personal journeys through training and the race itself.
I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do things like this with my family. Not only was the race a memorable family experience, but it was also an obstacle for us to overcome together. Each member played a role in getting the whole family across the finish line, whether by running alongside, cheering from the sidelines, or just sharing stories from the road.
One of the primary goals of Inheritance of Hope is to provide events that help to create fun memories to families dealing with a parent’s life-threatening illness, a huge obstacle that’s part of their daily lives. I am proud to be associated with this outstanding organization.