A little over a year ago, Christina Donnelly and Deborah Bancroft decided to run one half-marathon every month. They exemplify the MRC club spirit and are this months Featured Runners.
When did you start running, and what got you into it?
Deborah: I first started running with my husband for fun prior to having kids. 20 years later, I finally decided to do a half marathon in 2007. It was my first, my fastest and forever lead me down the road to many more half marathons.
Christina: I started running on a challenge from a previous boss. She came into my office and said, “Do you want to run a marathon? Oprah did it, you could do it?” So I took the challenge but instead of doing a full marathon, I started with a half marathon in 2005. I ran a half here and there until I decided to put more effort and complete a full in 2012.
How long have you been running with MRC?
Deborah: I joined when MRC first began and they were offering the 2 for 1 special: two years for the price of one. I joined but didn’t run with the group until a year later, due to being nervous to run with others who were faster than me. The nerves soon calmed after meeting such amazing people who also had a passion to run and enjoy the outdoors. I can’t actually remember my first run or whom I ran with in the beginning but I am so thankful I actually took the step to show up and be a part of that Saturday morning run.
Christina: I joined MRC in 2012: My life was full of complications and many life changes so I wanted to join a social group to meet new people. I thought maybe I could find new friends who will help me continue running. I started searching for running clubs on line. A light bulb when off when I drank from a McKinney Running Club water jug on a training run. As I was clicking the “Registration” icon, I said a prayer. “Dear Lord, please bless me with this group. Help me find positive people who will forever change my life for the better”…. So thankful I submitted as my prayers were answered. My life has forever been changed for the better. To make my story better, the first person I met was Deborah. I was accepted to the Facebook page and was very intimidated to show up for a run. Deborah posted if anyone wanted to carpool for the Big D Race, I thought here is my chance. I asked to join her car…. and that has lead to a wonderful friendship three years and counting.
What is your favorite/memorable race?
Deborah: My favorite race was Rock & Roll San Diego 2013. I was finally talked into doing a full marathon. It was a great experience to travel out of town with over 15 MRC runners. The course was beautiful and very challenging and the crowd support was fantastic. I walked away from the finish line knowing that I couldn’t have done a full 26.2 miles without the love and support from my MRC family.
Christina: My most memorable race was Big Bend Ultra 2013. I was signed up for a 25K but at packet pickup I asked if I could switch to a 50K. I didn’t realize I was in for the most challenging race of my life I battled freezing temperatures at the start, ran up and down what felt like mountains. There was only 6 aid stations too! I ran on rocks and boulders, then finally hallucinations set in with the warm temperatures…. I was hitting rock bottom. My loving boyfriend, stayed with me the entire time. When we came towards the finish line and could hear cheers and loud screaming from our fellow MRC runners. They were still there waiting for us! Those cheers got me through the last hill to the finish line…. 31.2 miles completed…. as well as the longest date ever!!
Who had the idea of the running goal of one half marathon per month?
The 2015 Half Challenge started with a simple text. Christina to Deborah “Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t we run a half marathon every month in 2015? It would be great, and would keep us in shape all year? Interested?” Deborah’s response back “Are you crazy!!!!!”. Needless to say, many goals start with one crazy idea. We had to rush to find a half for January. By February, we had registered for seven out the remaining 11 to help keep us on track with our goal. We do each half as it comes, the pace doesn’t matter. The goal is to reach the finish line with a smile! Some unexpected challenges with this goal: the time span between each race comes up faster than expected and with each race we seem to be getting slower. But when it is all over, we will have completed a total of 157.2 race miles together, will have earned 12 new medals, completed 3 hotter than blazing races, only 1 blister, ran one race with one sock, and shared hours of laughs, tears, and great conversation.
What is one piece of advice you can give to a new runner?
Have fun and don’t worry so much about how fast others are running, just keep going one step at a time! Enjoy the journey!!!