On Sunday, January 8 2017, Ms. Sandy Athey, one of our amazing Northside Elementary staff, ran her very first full marathon.. in Disney World! After attempting this same race last year and having to drop out halfway through due to an ankle injury, the finish this year would prove to be even more special and inspiring.
Ms. Athey realized quickly after last year's attempt that she would ultimately try again, "When I was being shuttled to the finish line after my injury last year, I met a woman sitting next to me who told me she was proud of how far she got because she knew she wouldn't finish the race anyway. When I asked her why her reply was "Well, cancer'll do that to you." At that point I decided I would run this race again and finish it in honor of those who can't or may never get the chance to."
After raising hundreds of dollars for children with cancer, Ms. Athey ran the marathon as a member of Kellsie's Krew, within a charity organization called Kellsie's Hope Foundation through RunDisney Click on this link, http://kellsieshopefoundation.com/, to donate and/or learn more about Kellsie and Kellsie's Hope Foundation, Inc.
This year's attempt was not without anxiety or doubt. Race morning dawned windy and COLD!!! The wind chills were as low as 20 and the actual temperature was barely over freezing. As she passed the the halfway point of the marathon, she came to the point where she had had to drop out last year due her ankle injury. She ran past the medical tent where she had stopped and thanked God that she was still running this time even though her left ankle and right knee were starting to complain a bit. However, it was with 8 miles left, with her ankle starting to really scream at her, she seriously questioned if she was destined to fail yet again.
Ms. Athey shares her final push to the finish line, "At mile 18, I told myself "If (co-worker) can come to work each day with a pretty head wrap on her head and a smile on her face, then I can run one more mile". At mile 19, "If (4 yr old child) can continue smiling and fighting until the day he passed away, then I can run one more mile". At mile 20 "If (new friend) can run this marathon after getting a cancer treatment 6 days ago, then I can run one more mile!". This continued for each remaining mile and gave me the strength I needed to keep going despite the pain and exhaustion I was feeling."
For a better account of Ms. Athey's memorable trip and accomplishment as well as to enjoy the great photos of her experience of a lifetime, you may read her blog, Running in the Autumn Rain, http://runningintheautumnrain.blogspot.com/.
Ms. Athey is an inspiration to all her know her. We are grateful for her altruism and dedication. She leaves us with one final reflection, "Will I ever run another full marathon? I'm not sure yet, but I do know that this event was life altering for me and that I will cherish the entire experience forever. And I will never stop running, racing, fundraising, and fighting for those who need it!" Thank you, Ms. Athey!