Niagara Falls International Marathon Recap

At the end of October I traveled to Canada for the first time to run a 10k with my team Remember Betty. I had originally registered for the half marathon but chose to run the 10k due a nice case of bronchitis. If you follow us on FitFemmes, you know I had debating if I should down grade to the 10k for some time. My pure stubbornness stopped me from making the decision until last minute and my illness is what pushed me to that point. I hate feeling like I gave up on something but when it comes down to it, a race is just another run for me. I will challenge myself to another half marathon someday.

Our team participated in the Niagara Falls International Marathon. They had various distances: 2k (a fun run the day before the race), 5k, 10k, half marathon and a full marathon. I have to be honest and say that I did not feel like the race was very well organized. The day of the race we had no idea where to be for the start of the race. Ok, we  (myself and my two room mates) should have been a bit more prepared. I will admit that! However, we approached more than one event staff member and none of them knew the location of the start for the 5k and 10k. Runners participating in the half and full marathons were bussed to their start. Thankfully, someone in the know graciously drove us as close as he could get us to the start of our race. We were still walking up to the start when the whistle was blown- thank goodness for time chips! This race was my first event that involved travel. I usually run races in the Chicagoland area. I am used to running very large races that have thousands of people. I was surprised to walk up to the 10k and see a somewhat small group of people start running.

The HUGE success of the week end was how much money we raised for Remember Betty! We did not know the total of our fund raising until we went to our team dinner the night before the race. Danny Wood, from New Kids On The Block, started Remember Betty in honor of his mom who died from breast cancer 15 years ago. We arrived at Planet Hollywood and I felt the typical buzz of excitement when New Kids fans are at a meet and greet. Thankfully, this event was very laid back. Danny was able to take professional photos with each team member and walked around the room chatting with everyone. The boys are used to taking selfies with fans at events. I got quite a few pictures with Danny throughout the week end but this one is my favorite:

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Ummmmm, hello? Aren’t we ridiculously adorable together in that photo? My husband just rolls his eyes when he sees pictures of me with the boys. Ok, back to the important part of the evening- our fundraising total was revealed!

Zoe Linkson, Remember Betty

Zoe Linkson, Remember Betty

By the time of our dinner, we raised just under $66,000! Amazing! When the fundraising was closed for this event, we raised $67,050. I think everyone was blown away with how successful this one event was for Remember Betty. In the picture above, you see Danny with Abbie, the director of Remember Betty. I got to know Abbie personally through the planning of this event and let me tell you, she is earning her crown jewels. She does not get paid for the work she does for Remember Betty. It is all volunteer and she does A LOT of work. Overall, Remember Betty has raised over 1.4 million dollars! All of that money will be used to DIRECTLY help families affected by breast cancer. When Danny and Abbie first started talking about participating in this race, they thought maybe 20 runners would sign up but we had well over 100 runners on our team. About 90 of us raised a minimum of $500. Here is a picture of our team at the dinner:

Zoe Linkson, Remember Betty

Zoe Linkson, Remember Betty

I mentioned in a previous post that I would be running with four names on my back. Summer and Becky are no longer with us because of breast cancer. I did not know either of them well but I watched their fight with breast cancer on social media. I wanted to honor each of them and their families. They are the reason I got involved with Remember Betty in the first place. The other two, Anna and Kara, represent all of the women fighting breast cancer everyday. Kara has finished all of her treatments and Anna is just about done with her radiation. I met both of these ladies because of Remember Betty. I do not like the reason WHY I met Anna and Kara and am grateful to be even just a small part of their lives. They are very courageous and I wish only the best for them and their loved ones.

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The race itself went pretty well, considering I was sick. My time was not amazing but not bad for someone who did not train well in the first place. I finished the 10k in 1:00:08. Stacy let me borrow her fancy Garmin but I could not find it when we were leaving for the race! My room mates and I basically dumped everything out of all of my bags with no luck. Of course, I found it as soon as I got back to our hotel room. If I would have had the Garmin, I could have definitely gotten my time under an hour. Since we were in Canada with spotty service, I did not even attempt to use RunKeeper on my phone. I had no idea what my pace was while running so I just enjoyed myself. It was kind of nice to not worry about time for once! My knee started to feel funny so I actually started walking towards the end of the race. A guy I had been running evenly with for the past couple minutes waved at me to encourage me to start running again. He was a complete stranger and I never had the chance to thank him. I love how running can bring complete strangers together even if just for a few moments. The fun part about races is the sense of community you feel with the other runners. Cheesey, I know, but completely true!

Canada is absolutely beautiful. Niagara Falls is definitely a hot tourist spot but I would travel there again. I will, for sure, do another event with Remember Betty. I love the work they are planning to do for families affected by breast cancer. Once the IRS finishes some paper work, Remember Betty will be able to start accepting applications for grants. Cancer is scary and so devastating. I lost my dad to cancer. Because of my loss, I feel the need to help other families affected by cancer. It was an honor to work with each Remember Betty team member. I look forward to future events!

Thank you to Zoe Linkson for allowing me to use two of her photos in this post. Zoe was our professional photographer for the week end. She flew, on her own, all the way from England to be with us! 

Missy

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