Jennifer Raley saw the finish line ahead – and felt a sudden burst of energy. “I did it! I did it! I did it!” she cried as she finally completed the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. Overcome with emotion, she fell into the arms of a marine, who placed the coveted Finisher’s Medal around her neck.
Stacey Lyons approached the final stretch of the marathon with her legs and feet aching.“Put the pain out of your mind,” she told herself. She thought of her children – one has asthma, another has asthma and food allergies. She thought of a close friend recently hospitalized due to an asthma attack. Finally, the finish line was in sight. Cheers from spectators inspired Lyons to the end.
|Raley and Lyons were among 12 Team AANMA runners competing in the Oct. 27, Washington, D.C.-based Marine Corps Marathon and supporting Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA).
It was the second year in a row AANMA fielded a team in the marathon.
Peter de Boor of Arlington, Va., ran the fastest time of all Team AANMA runners, finishing in 3 hours, 48 minutes. An orchestra musician with the Washington National Opera, de Boor has allergies and mild asthma.
Raley, 41, of Atlanta, finished the marathon in 5 hours, 50 minutes – paying tribute to her 6-year-old daughter who has asthma and food allergies. “I wanted to raise awareness so that one day my daughter and others who struggle with asthma and allergies can have a cure,” she said.
Lyons, 40, who hails from Ellicott City, Md., finished in 4 hours, 23 minutes. She says her two kids with asthma are active, love to play soccer and refuse to let asthma hold them back. Her friend has since recovered, and contributed to her Team AANMA fund-raising efforts.
“When I think of asthma, I tend to think it affects only kids, but to see an adult hospitalized with asthma was eye-opening,” Lyons said. “I ran the marathon so that AANMA can continue to help so many people.”
Team AANMA runner Ryan Smith of Coppell, Texas, has asthma and exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) but only experiences symptoms during cold weather. It was chilly the morning of the marathon, so he used his bronchodilator 15 minutes before the race began.
Smith, 39, said his breathing felt normal the entire time. He finished in 4 hours, 21 minutes.
“It was exhilarating,” he said. “This experience has been life-changing. There is a great amount of support that puts you at ease and makes the race enjoyable, rather than a physical challenge.”
Team AANMA’s Tony Cook of Alexandria, Va., ran the Marine Corps Marathon to challenge himself and demonstrate how well his asthma has improved since undergoing Bronchial Thermoplasty, a new surgical procedure for patients with severe asthma. (Cook’s story is featured in the winter issue of Allergy & Asthma Today magazine.)
Cook intended to stop running at the marathon’s halfway point, but he felt well enough to continue. At mile marker 16, he inadvertently ran off course and had to take a shortcut to get back on course. No matter, though. “My breathing was perfect,” Cook said. “Even at the AANMA tent after the race, people were asking me if I wanted to sit down, and I said, ‘No, I feel fine.’”
Team AANMA’s Mikki Hebl, 41, of Houston, completed her 66th marathon — but first Marine Corps Marathon. Hebl, who has asthma, used her inhaler prior to running and at the halfway point. “It was preventive, but the cold weather would have made me struggle with my breathing had I not taken it,” she said. (Hebl was profiled in the fall issue of Allergy & Asthma Today.)
Hebl posted a slow time — 5 hours, 6 minutes — because she helped support a friend who felt sick during the race. “My time was unglamorous but it didn’t matter because the marathon was fabulous, experiencing the monument and beauty of the area,” she said. “Plus I felt no soreness the next day!”
Micah Lucas, 18, of Lorton, Va., ran the Marine Corps Marathon for the second year in a row. Lucas, who has asthma and EIB, was a guest speaker at AANMA’s Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill last May and was featured in the June 2013 issue of The MA Report.
Lucas did not run for Team AANMA, but he ran the marathon wearing Team AANMA gear! He finished in 3 hours, 29 minutes – a 32-minute improvement from the year before. He hopes to qualify for the New York City and Boston marathons next year.
— By Gary Fitzgerald
Run, AANMA, Run!
Team AANMA finish times at the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon:
|Peter de Boor||Arlington||VA||3:48:06|
|Leah Serlin||Dix Hills||NY||4:00:55|
|Stacey Lyons||Ellicott City||MD||4:23:41|
|Carly Koelsch||South Euclid||OH||4:25:59|
|Michael Deithorn||Allison Park||PA||5:10:35|