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February 9, 2016 tanderson

I got “the” news that no runner wants to get on January, 21, 2016. On the Marathon4Kids Facebook page, I posted the following:

Tears streamed down my face as I called the Cheerleader yesterday with an x-ray in my hand. Arthritis has taken the cartilage from my left hip. Yeah, it went faster because of the running but it was going to go anyway.

For the last 18 months, I have been running with bone on bone. There never was a muscle pull or hip flexor issue. I hung up the phone, sat in that parking lot, put my head on the steering wheel and cried like I haven’t cried in decades.

Then, I began to move forward. The doctor says I shouldn’t run but I am not dying. There are so many others worse off than me. I started on a journey to 50 marathons in 50 states. I am so not ready to give that up. I will get another opinion. I will scour the internet for my options. I will find a way. There has to be a way.

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About 90 minutes later, my niece the NYC lawyer, Becky Crance posted the following note. It picked up an old man at his lowest point.

It was not that along ago that I found myself sprinting through the boroughs of an unfamiliar New York City with a map in my hand trying to get glimpse of my Uncle Tony running the New York City Marathon. I thought he and every other runner were crazy … who in their right mind would willingly run 26.2 miles…. I seriously thought you would have to be an idiot!!

But then I stood near the finish line in Central Park and tried to not let anyone see the tears in my eyes as I watched one runner after another stream across the finish line. Something clicked. I walked away knowing that I had to do it … I was going to run 26.2 miles in a row some day.

I didn’t immediately sign up for my first race, but I watched as my Uncle started his charity Marathon4Kids and how he was raising money and awareness for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and that he was on a mission to run a marathon in all 50 states. I will have to admit Uncle Tony, it seemed a bit ambitious…. I mean once you run one marathon isn’t that enough?? Turns out it’s not.

I signed up and ran my first marathon in Arizona in 2009 and have not looked back. I’m not setting any land speed records and my only hope of placing in any marathon is if I’m the only one in my age category, but I’m hooked. And there is one singular reason and that is because I was and continue to be inspired by my Uncle Tony.

He has completed over 34 marathons!! I had the privilege and honor of running two of those with him, where he risked injury to slow his pace and stride and sacrificed a decent time just to make sure I finished!

During the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine, when I wanted to cry every time I saw a new hill in the pouring rain, he was there to make sure I just put one foot in front of the other until we saw the sweet, sweet sight of the finish line. May not have been my favorite course I ever ran, but remains my favorite race because of Uncle Tony.

Uncle Tony you are there to call and text me whenever you know I have a race and you do not think I’m crazy every time I sign up for a new one. I read your post on M4K earlier today and I teared up, but I know in one form or the other you will reach your 50 state goal.

I have a wall full of running medals and race bibs, and not a single one would be there if it wasn’t for you. I thought you should know that your running has done more than just raise money. Thank you for your inspiration!

Becky Crance – January 21, 2016