Running on Borrowed Time: Why I'm Running a Half Marathon with Our Dad

The first half marathon I ever ran with our Dad 14 years ago – I’ll be “running” the same one again this weekend with him in my Grit wheelchair! 

This weekend I will be “running” my first half marathon since my accident — in my Grit chair, along with my Dad and my husband.

Before I was paralyzed, I ran a few half marathons and two full marathons with our Dad.

I hated running when I was growing up, but our Dad was always a marathon runner. When I was 20 I decided to start running as a way to get to know my Dad better and to form a workout habit.

I ended up getting to know myself better too and developed a passion for running.

I credit marathon running as one of the things that saved me when my accident happened. The mentality of a marathon runner is exactly what is needed to survive and deal with a spinal cord injury. (It’s also the needed mentality to “run” a business too. 😅)

I have no idea what to expect this time around, but running grueling races with my Dad are honestly some of my favorite memories with him. 😂 (Even though I have plenty of other wonderful memories with him, I really cherish the memory of him heroically giving me his socks at mile 4 on my first marathon because I bought too small of socks the day before the race. 😅✨)

So when my Dad told me he was running the Mickelson Trail Half Marathon this year, I thought –how amazing would it be to do it with him? How could I pass up that memory?

My Dad and I are both still here by miracles: me surviving my near-death accident 6 years ago, and him getting a stem-cell transplant and surviving brain cancer four years ago. This run will be a celebration of being alive and having the strength to do it still.

I couldn’t pass up a good story, and I know that life can change at the drop of a hat.

(And when I saw that most of the half-marathon course is a gentle downhill, I thought, “I could probably do that!” 🤣)

Then I convinced my husband to do it with us too, because there’s a section at the end that I think is pretty steep and I might need the assistance of some human breaks. 😬

We won’t always have our good health. But I’m grateful for it today.

So I’ll see how it goes. I’ll let you know next week. :)

P.S. There have been days, weeks, months when all I could muster was to get through the normal tasks of my day. Running again seemed like a far-off fantasy. If you are in that boat, I see you. You’re doing a great job. With each push of my Grit chair tomorrow, I’ll be sending energy and love your way.

P.P.S. I hope you know some wonderful dads in your life too. In celebration of great dads, I wanted to share a few great cards for Dads/Grandpas/Uncles, etc.

Maybe you have these in your stash already, but if not, you have some time to grab them before Father’s day!

P.P.P.S. Father’s Day is really hard for a lot of people too, so if someone is on your heart, maybe take a few intentional minutes to send them a note acknowledging that. Here’s our sympathy and encouragement cards: 

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I loved running with you and Kelsey. I am a proud dad and admire your grit in running and life.

Robert Nixon

I was thinking of you all day Leah!! I see Ellie helped you train! I can’t wait to see highlights from today! 💗

Colleen Raley

Go Go Go, Im cheering for you! Such a warm and encouraging post, thank you!

Gina Escarfullery Delgado

You go Girl! Enjoy every second! Hugs to you, your husband and your dad!


Good luck today! Cheering you on from NJ.


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