Susan, who previously lived in Antioch, discovered the LRC on a sort of whim. While running the Golden Legs Pub Run last fall with her friend, John Mellon, they noticed a smattering of LRC shirts. If you can believe it, she suffered from social anxiety before she met us. Therefore, it was John who approached Vanessa and Steve Jones who in turn sold them on the Club in six simple words: donuts, chicken wings, watermelon, beer, and running. With her divorce imminent, she moved to Libertyville soon after.
Susan began running about six years ago. 13 months later, she ran her first marathon at Disney World and ran the 2012 Chicago Marathon to qualify for the 2013 Boston Marathon by 48 seconds! But this is when her world was shaken to its core and her previous perception that running is a solo activity and a purely selfish endeavor centered around escape, finishing times, and bling was flipped on its head.
April 15, 2013 – The Boston Marathon bombing occurred. Susan was at mile 25.7 when the bombs exploded at the finish line. This was terrifying for those involved and the millions of us watching the live feed from around the world. For Susan, it was particularly harrowing given that her four sons were waiting for her there. Her family was safe, though understandably distraught.
Stunned by the kindness and continuous outpouring of love and support for runners from runners around the world in the wake of the bombing, she discovered that running is really about a community of people that selflessly and often unknowingly empower and inspire each other. While she can never erase the horrific images her sons witnessed in Boston, she now uses her running to prove to them, as well as to others, that with courage, perseverance, and a positive attitude, good truly does conquer evil and anything is possible.
This transformation led her to discover a charity called IRun4Michael which pairs runners with children and adults who have physical, mental and/or developmental special needs. Her buddy is Katherine, an 11-year-old with Down’s syndrome. Kat is the happiest, sweetest, little girl on the planet. She and her mom live in northern Indiana and surprised Susan by making their first trip to Chicago last year to cheer her on at the marathon. All Susan could think about as she ran was the courage it must have taken Kat to take the train into this huge city and then deal with the crowds, noise, and long waits just so she could meet this random, sweaty, stranger who runs for her. Susan was honored to meet them both at the finish line and put her newly-earned medal around Kat’s neck. In turn, Kat graciously offered Susan one of her Special Olympics medals. Though communication was difficult since Kat is non-verbal, they spent the next couple of hours hugging and clinking their bling together, creating a language of their own. Since then, she sends Kat care packages with medals every month or so and they communicate through Facebook and email several times a week.
Susan’s four sons, Chance, Connor, Nick, and Ryan, range in age from 13 – 21. They are soccer and baseball players and though they run with her from time to time, running isn’t their favorite. To Susan’s chagrin – she’s a school librarian – none of them like to read either!
Susan enjoys the half marathon distance and running in new locations, combining her love of running and travel and adventure. She recently traveled with the LRC to Denver, CO for the Revel Rockies Marathon & Half Marathon. Notorious for our running shenanigans, she has a hard time picking her favorite memory from the trip: “riding dirty” while river rafting, dancing the night away in the Latino nightclub, qualifying for cheap beers in the 800 meter challenge at Shoes & Brews (a challenge in which you compete to get your name listed on the top runners board and pay the equivalent price of your 800m time for your pints for life), and being shushed at the Coors Brewery are definitely high on the list. She described the incredible scenery and the race itself as simply icing on the donut.
She is looking forward to traveling with some LRC folks to the Nashville RAGNAR series in November and riding out the rest of baseball season cheering on her Cubs, often running around Wrigleyville before the games and passing by a few area bars as part of her personal pre-game/post-game routine.
Susan’s positive attitude and approach to running epitomizes the LRC. Hats off to Susan for her sweet disposition in the face of adversity…and by “adversity,” I’m mostly referring to her devotion to those perennial losers, the Cubs. Ouch!