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While I often report on traveling to destination races, one within driving distance
from my home ranks as a personal favorite. The Big Sur Marathon is something
every runner should experience at least once.
I ran Big Sur in 2006, shortly after my father passed away, so I developed a particularly poignant connection to the event.
His death, due to complications related to Parkinson’s disease, gave me a new purpose to complete the race that I had already begun training for. I signed on with Team Fox, the fundraising arm of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for
Parkinson’s Research, and in a few months raised several thousand dollars to
contribute toward the cause.
I will always remember the start of that race. As we gathered at the line and the National Anthem was sung, I closed my eyes and thought of my father – previously so athletic, yet recently so debilitated by his disease – and of the
hundreds of friends and family members who had generously supported my fundraising effort. I opened my eyes to a fabulous blur of white – 26 doves had been released to signal the start of the race. I felt lifted by their wings up every hill and across every mile.
The Big Sur Marathon is certainly a hilly race – but don’t let that dissuade you from entering. In fact, if you pay attention to the hype that is built up around those hills, you may actually find that the reality is not nearly as steep! Not to belittle the challenge of the course, just don’t let it scare you away. If anything, it’s worth running Big Sur for the mere fact that it’s the
only opportunity to run the stunning stretch of California coastal highway stretching from Big Sur to Carmel. If the full marathon does seem too daunting, there are numerous other options – from walking to marathon relay teams. Registration for the April 25th, 2010 event is open – so give Big Sur a try!