Chasing Chad
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Having been a firm subscriber to the adage that you only need to run if someone is chasing you, I never fully understood having the “running bug” or the need for all the shoes that I remember Chad having around the house. However, what I now fully understand is my regret in having not taken him up on his offer to run the Crazylegs Classic race with me. Not once but three times! I still hear him telling me “It’s only 5 miles. You can do that”. I never believed I could.

In response to his 26.2 Mile Challenge in December 2009, I took action and have not looked back. My first organized run was the 2010 Milwaukee Zoo’s Sampson Stomp, a mid-January 5K that takes a nice trip around the zoo. Feeling very nervous, I managed to finish and met my goal of not walking. In the 9 months following, I completed three 5K, one 8K, one 10K, one 15K and 4 half marathon events. A busy year for sure!

I entered 2011 with a very nervous registration for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Pittsburgh was a natural choice as it is my hometown and it was also the site of Chad’s first full marathon. So with the support of my wonderful wife Missy and my biggest cheerleader Heavin (who ran the Half Marathon and nearly the last three miles of the marathon course side by side with me that same day), I crossed the finish line having accomplished something that I would have never thought possible without that nudge from Chad. Several events and two more half marathons, including witnessing Heavin’s personal record in Las Vegas last December, closed out 2011.

2012 brought my 3rd Sampson Stomp and registration for the Chicago marathon in October. Considering the fact that I now have 5 pairs of running shoes and am tracking mileage for three on the kitchen chalkboard at home, I can now say I understand the “running bug”, thanks to Chad.

I miss Chad a great deal, as we all do, but I believe that throughout the 20 events and nearly 2,000 miles that I have logged since taking his challenge, he has been looking down with a smile about what he has helped me accomplish. For that I will always be thankful.

I miss you my friend,

Mark Vierling