Last week, we met Kristen Hallock-Waters, the Stockton professor who was preparing for her second New York City Marathon as a member of Team McGraw, which raises money to fight brain cancer. Her husband, Jeff, died of brain cancer in 2007.
Here, in her own words, is Hallock-Waters on her experience:
"Sunday did not go well for me. I came down with either food poisoning or a stomach virus on Friday. I thought it would pass enough by Sunday, so Saturday afternoon I went up to NY. Unfortunately, I spiked a fever again Sunday morning. I still set out to Staten Island with the Team, but found out as early as the Verrazano Bridge that I was too sick to run.
"I tried to, but the jostling of my stomach made me sick and I was unable to keep Gatorade or gels down. I ended up walking pretty much the entire time. Our Team McGraw chairman, Jeff McMahon, and our coach, Kevin Leathers, came out on the course and walked with me from mile 18-19. They handed me sports beans one at a time and I was able to keep those down with some water. I eventually finished, but it took a long time, 6:39.
"I was disappointed, but the important thing is that I was still there with the team raising awareness of Jeff's life and funds to help other brain tumor patients in his memory. I raised about $5,000 for the Tug McGraw Foundation and our team raised about $130,000.
"As far as the experience, even being sick, it was still amazing. I definitely would have enjoyed it more and soaked it in more had I been healthy, but there was still so much about it that was positive. The support on our team is just amazing and Team McGraw is very much a family. All 39 Team McGraw members crossed the finish line, some of us sooner than others, but the only thing that really mattered was what we accomplished in honor or in memory of our loved ones. No one cared how long it took me to cross the finishline and there were plenty of hugs and congratulations to go around when we gathered for our post-marathon victory party."
You'd think that after such an experience, Hallock-Waters would swear off marathoning. Think again. While she doesn't plan on running one next year -- she's taking time off to heal knee injuries she's battled since her first marathon -- there will definitely be another marathon in her future.
"I will definitely be back for another marathon with Team McGraw," she writes. "The love and friendship on our team and what we do to help brain tumor patients in memory of our loved ones is something I could never give up."
That's the thing about running the marathon. Run one, and it's easy to get hooked. And with such a noble purpose, Hallock-Waters only has added incentive to lace up her shoes and hit the course.