True confession? I really love running. There’s something exhilarating about having a goal and reaching it, whether it’s time or distance. It began when I put on my first pair of running shoes in eighth-grade track! Through junior high and high school, I ran the two-mile relay, the mile, two-miler, and get this – hurdles!! Yes – you heard me, these short legs ran hurdles (I am five-foot tall by the way!). I wasn’t ever very good at it, didn’t qualify to go to states. I would place in track meets, improve my times, but never truly excelled into something great. That’s alright, because running is fun and a way to stay fit, gain energy, a stress release, and a great time for praying. This year I decided to run the Columbus 1/2 Marathon. With four kids, one child with special needs, and a busy schedule it’s hard to find the time to consistently run every day, but I was able to complete the race in one-hour, fifty-seven minutes and fifty-eight seconds (but who’s counting?). My goal was around two hours, and I was ecstatic to achieve it.
I have a few reasons for deciding to run the race this year. One was to set a goal and have the discipline to achieve it. Having four kids in nine years has not been conducive to training for long races. I’m not one of those super-women who can run/race while pregnant. This year, our kids were at an age where I had a little more time to train consistently. I have run a few longer races through the years – some 5K’s, a 10-miler, and a 30 K (18.6 miles), but never a half-marathon. Races are fun, the feeling of camaraderie and teamwork among runners as you encourage one another – knowing it’s a great accomplishment to run that many miles. I remember trying to give my boys perspective on how far it was. If you got in the car and drove from our house to Hilliard along I-270…yikes, that is a long way and we are doing it on foot!
The second reason I ran was to raise money for Marathons for Moms. It’s a fund-raiser that is close to my heart especially after having Toby. While pregnant with our third child, at a 21-week ultrasound we learned he had Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Later that day, a high risk doctor presented us with the choice to terminate my pregnancy. For us it wasn’t something we even considered, but for many out there they feel it is their only option. Many unborn babies, especially ones with special needs are NEVER given a chance at life. Let’s be honest, society doesn’t exactly treasure children, let alone children that will need many resources (education, money, therapy) for their entire lives.
So I ran for Toby – because of God’s grace, we had the knowledge and resources to have our baby and above all, have hope for his future. I ran for all those babies out there that need a chance to be and to give families hope.
I was truly honored and blessed to raise money and run for Marathons for Moms. It’s incredible to see how God was completely in my training and fund-raising. There were weeks I was only able to fit in one short run during the week and the long-run on Saturday. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to reach my time goal of under two hours or the financial one, but God provided in many ways. My husband sacrificed many hours home alone with four kids, so I could train. God provided the strength and endurance to finish well, and reach the financial goal. One of these was through the final donation in the form of $200.00. A friend donated her entire substitute teaching salary in honor of someone that she knew that chose life for her unborn baby facing a heart defect.
When she told me the reason for the donation I shed tears in thankfulness and joy. Looking back at this journey, both with our son and running, I can see the ways that God has always provided.
He has provided in big ways like facing uncertainty as Toby fought for his life in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at 4 weeks of age, and in small ways – allowing me the time and energy to not only finish a half-marathon, but finish well! In the end, God’s provision is evident and He is the giver of life and hope to everyone who asks.
-Carrie Holt, Columbus, Ohio