|Grace hopes you will join us for the Grace Race on Aug. 31!|
The first A Grace-Filled Journey 5K and one-mile fun run event was held in 2015, less than one year after we learned Grace had INAD. It was an idea by my brother and his wife, who are both active runners. I always tell people if they see me running, they should probably run too because it means something is chasing me!
But not John and Emily. They run nearly all the time, like even when they are home over Christmas break! And in the first year after Grace was diagnosed with INAD, Johnny pledged to run 1,000 miles in her honor that year. That would be the year he ran his first marathon, and he attached her photo to his race bib and wrote her name on his shoes, with a note that read he ran in her honor because he knew one day she would be able to run with him.
|Johnny's shoes and race bib from his first marathon.|
|This is the text he sent me on the day of his first marathon.|
There were over 650 people who participated in that first Grace Race, including more than 150 who ran virtually in other parts of the country and the world. Big props to Kylie Walch for running her 5K in Myanmar and Kyle Stewart for making his trek in London, England.
Then we skipped a year before planning the next Grace Race, and the second edition was held in 2017. At six months old, it marked Charlotte’s first Grace Race, and she nearly slept through the entire thing. Which is okay, because Grace slept through her entire birthday party that followed.
This time, we set a goal to have virtual runners in all 50 states, and thanks to our very dedicated friends and family, we made that goal too! That day, there was someone running or walking a 5K in Grace’s honor in each and every state in the country. We absolutely loved seeing all the photos on Facebook and Instagram.
|Johnny gave Grace his first medal from the Marine Corps marathon.|
The day always turns out to be a blur for us, but special thanks to our friend, James Ryan of NokoPhoto for taking photos at both races for us to enjoy in the days and weeks that follow the race. Watching the smiles of runners and walkers of all ages cross that balloon-archway finish line never fails to bring a big smile to my face.
|The second Grace Race brought in $25,000 for Dr. Paul Kotzbauer's research.|