26Strong: Looking for a Female Wannabe Marathoner!!

If you’ve been reading here for a bit, you may remember that I participated in the 2013 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign. I had a blast – and especially loved mentoring and coaching my “cadet”, Hallie, as she trained for her first marathon.

me and hallie2

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the 2014 Saucony 26 Strong Campaign last year and got to share the journey with my youngest sister, Nicole. Saucony sent us to Hawaii to run the Honolulu Marathon and it was truly an experience of a lifetime! Running 26.2 miles by her side and being with her as she crossed her first finish line was so incredibly special.

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I’m SO SO excited to share that I have been asked to participate in Saucony’s 26 Strong program again!! This year, Saucony and Competitor are once again putting together a team of 13 “veteran” marathoners and 13 “cadets”. But this time, the goal race is the 2015 Chicago Marathon!chicago marathon

SO, that’s where you come in. I am looking for a wannabe marathoner to run side-by-side with me for the 2015 Chicago Marathon!!!! I will run your pace, grab your water, hold your gels, be your cheerleader and support you as much as I can as we cross the finish line together (and promise to not annoy you too much throughout it all!).

To enter you need to fulfill the following requirements. You must be:

  • Female (sorry to the 5 or so males who read this blog!)
  • A first-time marathoner
  • Already a half-marathoner (since Chicago is just over five months already, it’s important that you have some longer distance racing already under your belt)
  • Willing to commit to training for a marathon with me (either in person if you are local or virtually if you live across the country) with the training plan we come up with together
  • A resident of US or Canada
  • Willing to share your journey on social media – here as well as my other social media channels and via Competitor magazine/website and Saucony channels.
  • Available to participate in the Chicago Marathon on October 11. (Tentatively, travel for the race will be October 8-12.)
  • Injury-free at this point
  • Willing to run in Saucony gear + shoes in training and on race day
  • Okay with me running side by side with you for 26.2 miles on race day!
  • Running consistently – at least a couple of days/week (~15-20 miles total) with long runs at/around 6-8 miles (or more)
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I also double as a race photographer =)

The majority of your expenses (entry fee(s), travel to/from Chicago, hotel in Chicago, gear from Saucony) will be covered. Incidentals and some meals will in Chicago will be your responsibility.

If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, please comment below (no emails, please!). I ask that you keep your comments under 250 words. Please include a little bit about yourself, where you are from, your racing history and why you think you would be a great candidate for the program! And if you know someone who you think would be a great fit for the program, please pass along the post to them!

This is a really short-turnaround contest – I will announce the winner in a post Friday morning (April 24, 2015) – so please comment by 4pm (EST) on Thursday (Apr 23, 2015) if you are interested! I will read each comment and pick the person who I feel would be best suited for the program!

Note: There are several other amazing coaches (including my good friend, Jess!) looking for first-time marathoners – so if you don’t think we would be a good fit OR if you want to increase your chances, check out their posts on ways to enter!

If you have any questions, please put them in the comments below and I’ll answer them as soon as I can! 

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I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

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    214 thoughts on “26Strong: Looking for a Female Wannabe Marathoner!!

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    2. First time marathoner wannabe here! I started running in 2012 with C25K and haven’t stopped yet. I have several 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K and half marathons under my belt. I would love to run Chicago with you.

    3. A friend sent this to me last night. I am preparing for for my first half marathon (Brooklyn Half – May 16th) but I guess she feels that I can conquer this challenge. I am a Geologist and owner of American Environmental Assessment & Solutions, Inc. I must say that discipline goes all the way back to catholic school days to been a military wife of 10 years juggling the life of wife, mother, student and employee.

      Years ago living in Hawaii I was given the opportunity to participate in the Aloha run with the ex-husband unit (Aco 4/22) but went out the night before with the ex-husband and few other soldiers and decided that I was too tired to run. My ex-husband still had to run with the unit despite been out all night but I got the t-shirt. He use to always say that he is physically strong but I am mentally stronger. So if he can do the Aloha run on zero sleep the night before maybe I can kick butt in a full marathon. If this is still open for entries, please contact me.

    4. Hey!

      It’s probably too late to post but I would love the chance to train with you . I’m 31 year old new mama! I have a 7 month old and I am running my first half post baby this weekend! (Music city half in Nashville tn) I’m a former college cross country runner. I have always wanted to run a full! I found your blog when i was a few weeks pregnant and you were inspirational to me to keep going until I was 30 weeks and couldn’t medically anymore. I started back at 2 weeks postpartum -learned to balance breastfeeding/new mom/running!!! My little one is now 7 months old and I have a supportive and loving family that keeps me able to run consistently. I would love the chance! I’m a little late but would love to be considered!
      Blessings,
      Kendra Pfeffer

    5. Hi! I am a mama to 4. I left a reply on this FB post yesterday asking about nursing and training for this. I’ve become a runner because of a fundraiser race I participate in every year that raises money for victims of human trafficking. Over the past 4 years I’ve completed 4 half marathons and one 15k. One half marathon I ran pregnant. I’m so grateful for your section on pregnancy and nursing. It allowed me to keep running all the way
      up to the the morning of my c-section. I was able to complete a 15K a few months later. Most of my training is in my jogger with my little nursling. What a great experience this would be!!! I would love the opportunity to run my 1st marathon with you!!

    6. This is such an amazing opportunity!
      I’m coming to you live from Hungry Runner Girl’s blog so this is my first time on here. I love your blog so now I’ll be following you on everything.
      I’m working towards my first marathon this year too – NYC in Nov – and I know I’m too late to enter your contest so I’ll check out the other links you talked about. I’ve been running for a couple years, I did my first half in Staten Island but haven’t done many races lately but I’m getting back into the circuit.
      All the best with your journey to Chi-Town.
      Runwright recently posted..Thinking Out Loud – The Love EditionMy Profile

    7. Oh no. I had a family emergency and just sat down to read blogs/emails for the first time this week. Please say its not too late :(

    8. I hope I’m not too late! I got into running six years ago, while my husband was stationed in California. As a city girl in a small town, I had been at a loss for things to do and it turned out to be the perfect place to finally overcome my lifelong issues with being an awful runner. At the time, I had a toddler with Down syndrome (she is now a thriving 7yo) and her physical therapist offered to help me. That fall, I ran my first half and, to date, I have run 9 more (plus multiple other distance races). I have also lost over 50 lbs in the process. I have always said a full marathon wasn’t for me, but this is such an amazing opportunity. I am 38 years old and live outside of Annapolis, MD. I would LOVE to tackle this challenge with you.
      Chrystal recently posted..Two and TwoMy Profile

    9. Turning 50 years old in just a few days from now..After the death of a couple of close friends amd family members last year….I have decided to celebrate turning 50 each month of this year! I am a beginner triathlete who finished over 14 different races last year with a severely injured knee which required surgery in February of this year. My recovery has been very stressful due to my lack envisioned of being able to swim bike or run. I have completed a few 5k races along with 10k races and a few halfarathons. I have mever envisiined myself as a marathoner wanna be until now! My runner friends connected me with this link and excitement filled my soul…I am now convinced that it is possible for me and all of us women entering thos contest to go from marathon wanna be’s to actual maraton gonna be’s. Wishing each and every one of us the best. We should not limit ourselves towards anything because in life any and all things are possible! ! Running and finishing the Chicago Marathon will be an accomplished goal this year of celebrating my 50th Birthday! Thank you for considering me to run !!

      • Please accept my apologies for misspellings and words used out of context in my comment posted previously ..
        Due to my excitement of submitting my comment in due time …I had to submit this entry by using my cellular phone. Thank you again for accepting my comment entry….You’re greatly appreciated! !

    10. Hi Michelle,

      This is an amazing opportunity – thank you for the chance to win and train with you.
      I live in Tobermory, Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of 3 girls ages 17, 6, and 2. I work as a paramedic and a fitness/yoga instructor.

      When I was 27, I decided that I just wanted to be able to run 5k without hating every single minute of it. I’ve now spent the last decade or so (with many pauses for kids and life) training and participating in a couple of events per year (everything from a 5k to a ½ iron distance tri, but never a marathon yet – still pretty scared of it).

      My main philosophy over the years was ‘in it for the t-shirt’, but now as I get close to 40, and with babies over with, I feel the need to do what I can to be the best athlete I can be (corny, I know). My first goal is tackling the marathon distance and sticking with it until I BQ. I have been preparing to train for a fall marathon this year with some easy miles (approx. 20-25/wk) over the past couple months.

      I think that we would make a great team. You can talk the whole 26.2 and I’ll just listen to your accent ☺, eh? I’ve followed your blog for a while and am still in awe of your long rides on the trainer/breast pump combo while preparing for IMLP.

      Please choose Cadet Liverance!

    11. I’ve completed the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, Queen Bee half marathon in Cincinnati, Philadelphia half marathon and the Flying Pig half in Cincinnati. I ran cross country in college and high school but am no where near the speed I once was. Running is one of my most favorite things to do. I’ve wanted to run a full marathon for years and would love to one day qualify for Boston. I think that having someone to train with will be the push I need to stick to training and finish a marathon.

    12. I’m a stay-at-home mom of 4-year-old twins, who were born on my birthday in 2011. My “first C25K” facebook post was on March 19, six days before they turned two, and read “it was either run, or sell one of the twins.” Running has been instrumental in managing stress and arresting the progression of PMBR – Preschool Mom Brain Rot. (It’s a thing. Really.) Running has taught me that I am capable of doing much more than I ever would think is possible.
      My goal 5K was the Thanksgiving day race near my home, about 8 months after I started running. On Halloween, a beginner runner friend posted a facebook call for running buddies to join her for her first 5K… three days later. I knew I could finish, so why not? I finished in 37-something and got hooked.
      Exactly one year after that first 5K, I was at the starting line of my first half, and had trained myself to a 2:38 finish on a hilly course. Just a few months earlier, I never would have dreamed I would be able to do it at all. Next month, I will run my second half marathon after (carefully) training myself through a challenging hamstring injury. I don’t plan on a PR, but my three best running friends are coming from out of town to do it with me. One of them is running her tenth half. The other two are running their first, and I am so excited to get to be with them for it! Three of our foursome are running the Disney Marathon in 2016, but Chicago would be an awesome via point. I love the city, and have heard amazing things about the marathon. I’d love to get to run it with you!

    13. Would love the opportunity to train for my first marathon with you!! Completing my second half this weekend and already a huge fan of Saucony!!! I live 60 miles south of Chicago so doing this marathon would be a perfect fit for me and with your coaching / cheering I know I could do it!! Im a huge fan of your blog, you inspire me every day!!

    14. I would love to train with you for my first marathon. I just had my second child, sweet baby girl, and I am looking for another challenge. I have run 3 half marathons but never a full. I signed up last year to run the Houston chevron marathon and got in, but a week later found out I was pregnant. So I had to defer until January 2016. I have been following u for quite sometime and u keep me motivated. I even read your pregnancy and running blogs to motivate me to stay active and running throughout my pregnancy. I am also a teacher and would love to run a marathon to show my students that if u put your mind to something it is possible to achieve anything. I live in Houston Texas. Thanks for the chance to run with u!

      -Lourdes

    15. What an incredible opportunity for both you and your cadet! I actually found your blog right around Honolulu – looks like you two made it into wonderful experience.

      I would love to train with someone as experienced and lovely as you are! I was going to race a half-ironman at the end of the summer, but my shoulder (injured from years of water polo) is not cooperating so far, and I’m trying to be kind to it. Maybe training for a marathon is just what I need instead? I’ve run two halves, most recently in February (1:54), but I know I have a lot more speed in these legs!

      I started running last January to cope with my anxiety and depression, and it’s been so empowering to take charge of my mental health, and life. It has also helped me cope with my diagnosis of Celiac disease. Did you know there’s gluten-free deep dish pizza in Chicago? 😀 I’ve even got a new blog coming to fruition, and I’d love to blog about this experience with you!

      Good luck choosing your cadet – there are many amazing women who’ve posted here. And also – congrats on an amazing Boston. I loved tracking you and cheering you on!

    16. Hi my name is Shola!! I am 41 yrs old and I started running in my late thirties to get healthier. I have completed 8 half marathons since 2013 (three this year) and I have never done a full marathon. I’m a registered Nurse who works in a surgery trauma ICU. I have been married for 16 yrs and I have three children 2 girls and a boy.
      As a young girl I lived most of my childhood in Africa. I moved back to America about 13 years ago with my family. My very first race was the Ukrop’s monument avenue 10K. I love the challenge of training, starting and finishing a race. It makes me feel STRONG! If someone told me I’d run a half marathon 4 years ago, I would have laughed in their face.
      I would love to do the Chicago Marathon in October!! I’m on Facebook and love to post often!!
      Shola Calfos-Faparusi
      Sent from my iPhone

    17. Hi!

      I have 4 minutes to convince you :) I just saw your blog on FB – I am a 38 year old single parent of 2 who started running because I want to be healthy and a role model for my kids. I have run several half marathons but never a full marathon. I had a great friend who was my runspiration and coach she even run with me on my first few races but she has now moved.

      I would love to come to Chicago and do this milestone race on my birthday (the race is on my birthday).

      Ciao,
      Nebiat

    18. Hi, I would love to do this. I am a first time marathoner I am 36 years young.. .. I have completed 4 half marathons to date. I started running last year. I live in Canada. It will be an amazing opportunity to run the Chicago marathon. Hope I get picked.. Thank you for the opportunity.

    19. Wow, such a cool thing.
      Am writing this because a friend encouraged me to do so and even though I never get picked in a lottery or drawing style I would still try because this is such a great opportunity.
      I am Nigerian by birth and blood, a friend introduced me to a weight loss group on Facebook and that’s where I met you my running mentor. Her name is Tee Morgan, not only is one of the FIRST Nigerian to run a marathon on all seven continents she just recently completed the 7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days and then then the Northpole Marathon. She encouraged me to run my first official 5k in prior to the 2014 Boston marathon and the rest is history. I just completed my 6th Half marathon, how I got there I don’t know but I have a HUGE support group online that is always encouraging me and they have now been telling me to try for a Full. I have gotten so much support, some one is even willing to pay and run it with me but I have been so nervous. I believe this will be the push I need to actually do the full Monty of 26.2 miles. I Used To think runners on the street were crazy but now when I don’t run am crazy……go figure. If I so get this opportunity, I think the sky would be the limit on my running life.
      KEEPING MY FINGER CROSSED

    20. Hi I hope I’m not too late (and I’m commenting in the correct location)!

      I’m female :) and a first-time marathoner. I’ve completed 2 half marathons, a few 5ks, and a 10k all in the past year or so.
      I’m a resident of the US (from FL actually) and I’m OK with all the other requirements.
      I currently run 3 days a week for a total for 20-22 miles per week. I run 5-6 miles on Sunday, 7-8 on Wednesday, and 9-10 on Saturdays.
      I would love the opportunity to participate in this; I’ve been looking for a marathon for some time now and was hoping to run my first one by the end of the year! I also like the idea of having someone to train with (even if it’s virtually). None of my friends are runners so I usually have to go at it alone!

      Thanks again! :)

    21. WOW! What an absolutely amazing opportunity! While I would love to be picked to be your cadet, I should warn you I’m terrified! I have run a handful of half marathons and pretty easily trained for them. It’s probably my favorite race distance (aside from the 200+ mile long relays – they’re so fun!). But a marathon?! Now that’s just crazy… There are a million reasons I can think of NOT to do it – I’m an incredibly busy professional in the finance world, I am also a full time mom to a wonderful one year old boy, I’m overly involved in the community here in Chicago, I’m social (i.e. the training takes up so much time!), the last (and only) marathon I trained for I stress fractured my hip the month before the race…The list of excuses could go on and on… in a nutshell it’s overwhelming and scary and the voice inside my head says, “you can’t do it”. All that being said… I WANT to prove myself wrong. I WANT to cross that finish line… I want to be able to “do it all” – it’s always been my dream to run a marathon and maybe this is the year I stop telling myself no. Maybe this year I realize if I put my mind to it I CAN do it. I would love nothing more than to run by your side with your support and encouragement and be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong program! Whatever woman gets to run alongside you is a lucky one and maybe even if it’s not me, I’ll feel empowered enough to do it on my own – we’ll see 😉

    22. This sounds like an amazing and super fun opportunity. I’m new to the world of running (ran my first 1/2 in January and I’ve ran 2 others since then.)

      I am praying I get into the Chicago Marathon, It’s on my bucket list!! If not this year I’ll try again next. I do plan to participate in the NYC TCS Marathon on November 1st. I’m scared, excited, in awe of my progress and just UBER happy to be over 40 and finally doing something I love and that keeps me fit. I’m running for my life. A HEALTHY, more FIT and pushing myself to PR every race I run. Its ME AGAINST MYSELF!!!

      Again, I’d love the opportunity to train with you and RUN THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!! #Sauconywannabe #marathonmom #trainwithyou

      Your SOLE SISTER,
      Toni

    23. This sounds like an amazing and super fun opportunity. I’m new to the world of running (ran my first 1/2 in January and I’ve ran 2 others since then.)

      I on praying I get into the Chicago Marathon, this on my bucket list!! If not this year I’ll try again next. I do plan to participate in the NYC TCS Marathon on November 1st. I’m scared, excited, in awe of my progress and just UBER happy to be over 40 and finally doing something I love and that keeps me fit. I’m running for my life. A HEALTHY, more FIT and pushing myself to PR every race I run. Its ME AGAINST MYSELF!!!

      Again, I’d love the opportunity to train with you and RUN THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!! #Sauconywannabe #marathonmom #trainwithyou

      Your SOLE SISTER,
      Toni

    24. Hi I am Colony Wilson. I say it must be fate that I have found this with 16 minutes to type up and enter my comment. So here goes it. I am a full time working mom of two boys 1 and 12 and an avid runner and soon to be duathlon (May 2015) and triathlon (June 2015) athlete. I have run 4 half marathons my time has been consistently 2:42-ish. I am very driven to complete my first marathon. I had hoped to complete the RNR in Savannah but have not registered. Because my schedule with my boys is hectic I train solo a lot so it would be great to have a running partner at the event. I live in Atlanta, Ga and would be disciplined enough to complete my virtual training program with out fail. I have never been to Chicago so this would be a super opportunity to not only get awesome running gear but to indulge in some authentic Chicagoan Pizza. I do believe that all things happen for a reason so if I am chosen it is because I am meant to be apart of this adventure. And if I am not it is because some other super woman is suppose to be. Either way. GOOD LUCK and Thank you!

    25. I was SUPER pumped when I read this post on a friend’s page!!!! What an amazing opportunity and right up my alley :) My name is Theresa and I’m 36 year old from the Hershey, PA area. I’m fairly new to running. I didn’t catch the bug until 2 years ago when I started dating my now husband and he encouraged me to train for my first 5K. It was exciting and nerve racking but crossing the finish line was so thrilling! Before this, I never understood why people ran. It just seemed so painful. I just thought “those people are CRAZY”!!! Two months later we ran another 5K and a few months after that we ran the ARMY 10 miler. I’ll never forget the day I finished my 7 mile training run and called him immediately and yelled ” Babe, today I just realized I’m meant to be a distance runner!” We both just laughed and at that point I knew running would be a passion of mine for life :) My husband is presently stationed in Germany and last year I completed my first half marathon in Munich. I am signed up for another half later this summer and have been tinkering with the idea of running a full but haven’t been able to commit. I would love to have the opportunity to train with you and go through this amazing and crazy experience together!!! :) :) :)

    26. I would love to be considered for this opportunity. My name is Karen and I’m a wife and mother of two boys age 18 months and 3. I have ran 3 half marathons and thought this year will be the year I will do my first full marathon. I would love to do the Chicago Marathon because I actually was born in the Midwest (Indiana) and have visited Chicago and lived in Chicago for 1 year. Please pick me!

    27. I would LOVE to be your cadet!!! I’m a 36 year old criminal attorney turned stay-at-home mom of 2 in Lexington, Kentucky. I started running seriously about 18 months ago to get in shape and lose weight. It has become so much more than just exercise for me. I discovered an AMAZING running community in Lexington and have connected with so many people I would never have met if not for running. Last month I ran the challenging but beautiful Run the Bluegrass half marathon and this weekend I’m running my fourth half marathon in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend and I’m so excited! There are too many great races to pick from in this area and I just could not say no to any, so I’ve got 2 more half marathons scheduled this spring and summer, the Horse Capital Half Marathon here in Lexington and the Bourbon Derby Half in Paris, Kentucky. I would love to take my running to the next level and train for a full marathon.

      I love training for a race. There’s nothing better than checking the days off my training calendar and I complete each run. I love talking and reading about all things running: gear, races, clothes, new running routes, new workouts, tips and tricks. I have been wanting to start a blog about running for quite some time so I can talk about running even more. Training for my first marathon would be an such a great adventure to document. There’s nothing better than a long run through the beautiful horse farms surrounding Lexington with an awesome crew of running buddies and I would love to share that experience with everyone!

    28. Hello! My name is Meitra Perry, and I am an admissions representative at the University of West Georgia (a double alum as well!) I have been working here for about a year and a half now but before I had a job which was very emotionally draining, required a great deal of travel and gave me an excuse to gain 18 pounds in one year. I was mortified when I realized how much weight I had gained. Long story short, there is nothing like wedding photos where you look like a whale to make you train and begin running. I ran my first half marathon three weeks ago and have already been looking up marathons to participate in for 2015. I would love to have this opportunity to show myself one more time that I can do anything I put my mind to and would love to have this experience with you!

    29. Shortened Version:

      After placing in my first 5k race in March 2014, I felt a sense that I could accomplish anything I set my mind towards. This has been my general outlook on life. I LOVE A GOOD CHALLENGE whether it be personal, career, and when involving health, wellness, and fitness. I often feel that I live life when I set goals and expectations that I aspire to achieve. I took on the awesome challenge of participating in a 6-woman ultra-relay team to run 200 plus miles of the Blue Ridge Relay. Imagine my sense of self-accomplishment that I experienced when I ran my first half-marathon in February of 2015 when I placed 2nd in my age group with a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. I JUST WANTED TO FINISH! I do not know what will happen when I complete my first marathon. My goal is to complete one before the end of 2015. My original expectation was to complete one before I turned 27th on October 9th (get it; 26.2 at 26)! I have been consulting marathon veterans about a great race to commemorate my first 26.2. To be honest. I want it to be a MEMORABLE and a day I will never forget. I always wanted a close friend or family member to share the experience; however, not too many people (or most people in my circle) are not fans of 26.2. I would be honored to be a part of the 26 Strong Campaign.

    30. Hello! My name is Leonora and I would love the opportunity to train and run with you for the Chicago Marathon! I am 31 years old from the Washington, DC area and the mother to a 9-month old baby boy named Carter! For the last three years I’ve placed on my vision boards pictures of running shoes as my goals each new year was to complete a half-marathon & full marathon. For the last three years, I’ve completely failed at this goal….until this year. After I had my son, I made it my mission to get back in shape and fulfill my goals….running being one of them. This past March I completed the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA. When my friend told me about this opportunity for the Chicago Marathon, I knew I had to try for it. It would be such an honor to work with you so you could help me complete my running goals!! Thanks so much for this!! :-)

    31. Hello All!!!

      My name is Jessica Barnes and I fell in love with endurance running as a high school student. Unfortunately, soccer season often conflicted with track and field and as a result, I was forced by my parents to choose one sport for participation. As a result, I did not turn back to running until almost a decade later. In March of 2014, I ran my first 5k since my senior year of high school (I did experience one season of cross country to help with training off-season from soccer). After placing in my first race in March 2014, I felt a sense that I definitely could accomplish anything I set my mind towards. This has been my general outlook on life….I LOVE A GOOD CHALLENGE whether it be personal, career, and definitely when involving health, wellness, and fitness. I can not stand complacency. While this is fine for some people, I often feel that I live life when I set goals and expectations that I aspire to achieve. I took on the awesome challenge of participating in a 6-woman ultra relay team to run 200 plus miles of the Blue Ridge Relay. I was honored with the challenge of running the infamous “Mountain Goat” (look it up…it is as treacherous as it sounds). Imagine my sense of self-accomplishment that I experienced when I ran my first half-marathon in February of 2015 when I placed 2nd in my age group with a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. I JUST WANTED TO FINISH…BAHAHAHA! However, at just under one year of returning to running, I was overcome with a humble sense of achievement after experiencing such a feat; and just happy to be able to have the physical and mental capacity to accomplish this goal. I recently completed my second-half and two relay races (among smaller races at smaller distances) since I decided to take up running in March of 2014. I feel as if I have a more balanced work/life balance. It is also awesome to see the looks on my student leader’s faces (I work in the residence halls at a university) when they see me post my long-distance feats on Facebook. I also try to encourage my students and friends and family to get involved in running and road races. I tell everyone it is not about winning; but about accomplishing your own personal and fitness goals in each event as compared to other team sports. Whether you run a marathon in two and a half hours or 7 hours….running a marathon is symbolic of mind over matter and achieving goals that you may have not thought you would have done so otherwise.

      I do not know what will happen when I complete my first marathon. My goal is to complete one before the end of 2015. My original expectation was to complete one before I turned 27th on October 9th (get it…26.2 at 26…BAHAHAHAHAHA)! I have been consulting marathon veterans about a great race to commemorate my first 26.2. To be honest…I want it to be a MEMORABLE and a day I will never forget. I always wanted a close friend or family member to share the experience; however, not too many people (or most people in my circle) are not fans of any distance outside of the 5k. NC Running Mama…I did not even know that Saucony sponsored such an awesome opportunity. This just popped up on my Facebook page and I thought I would give it a shot because I know it can be difficult to find the support necessary in training for such a feat. I would be honored if you could mentor me in the 26 Strong Campaign. While I will be 27 on October 11th…it would be an awesome birthday present for me to receive this experience of running my first 26.2 (2 DAYS AFTER I TURN OVER 26 ON OCTOBER 9TH…..GET IT…BAHAHAHAHA…I LITERALLY CRACK MYSELF UP)!!!!

      You are inspirational…keep up the great work!

      • So….I got excited about writing this and had to type in such a short turn around….I am sure it is over 250 words…sorry…please read the first 250 and please don’t disqualify me! BAHAHAHA! I WILL REPOST IN UNDER 250

    32. I ran my first 5K, 10K, and 15K in 2013. I then set my sights on my first half in 2014 which I ran in Madrid, Spain with Team Challenge. I went on to run 4 other half marathons, and a few other races in 2014. So what’s left for 2015 you ask? In addition to running the Ragnar Relay, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring for my very first Chicago Marathon! I’m nervous, excited, out of my mind, and actually looking forward to it! I’d be honored to rep Saucony in the 26Strong campaign and to have you as a training partner!

    33. My name is Leonora and I would love the opportunity to run this marathon with you! I’m 31 years old, live in the Washington, DC area and the mother of a 9-month old baby boy named Carter. For the last three years I’ve placed on my vision boards pictures of running shoes, as my goal was to run a half-marathon & full marathon….and for the last three years I’ve failed…until this year! After I had my son, I made it my mission to get back in shape and fulfill my goals…running being one of them. I completed my first half-marathon in March 2015 in Virginia Beach, VA and now I would really love to complete my goal and run a full one. It would be such an honor to train and run with you during the Chicago marathon!!!

    34. I would absolutely love this! I am a first time mom, and just ran a half marathon to celebrate my son being 1 years old. I was not naturally a runner. Even in high school I never enjoyed long distance running, I always preferred sprints. A few years into marriage I decided to up my running (just for exercise), and began running longer miles. Once I got over the hump of “having to” run, I began to love it. I loved the time to myself, the freedom I felt while I was out on the road, and the accomplishment I felt after running a long run! I planned to run a half in 2013, and got pregnant. I decided not to push myself to train while pregnant since I had previously had a miscarriage. After having my son in April 2014, I took some time to let my body heal, doing yoga a lot (I am a yoga instructor), and then began training in January 2015, and completed the Dallas, TX. Big D Half Marathon on April 12th, almost exactly a year after giving birth! i would love the opportunity to partner with you, be encouraged by you, and taught how to train in such long miles from you. I know if I train for a full, I would definitely have to learn a lot about proper running nutrition, and have motivation to get the long miles in because of the time it takes. I live in Abilene, TX. and LOVE CHICAGO!!
      Brittany Suell recently posted..How to be more EARTHY….My Profile

    35. You know I said I was never ever going to run a full marathon. Looking back, I think I said the same thing about a half…now I’m on my 7th half and not looking back. I planned on running my first full when I turn 40 next year but when I saw this blog, I’m like why not run one sooner rather than later. I’ve been running for the last 3 years and really love it. I like promoting a healthy lifestyle and showing others that it can be accomplished by being an example. I have always wanted to run in Chicago (it’s on my running bucket list). I’m very dedicated when it comes to training and would love to share my first full marathon with you and Saucony!!! Thanks for the opportunity.

    36. Hi there! My name is Quiana and I’m a wannabe marathoner. I’m going to be 40 this year and want to complete a marathon for my 40th year, I just haven’t gotten the guts to sign up for one. I have run 4 half-marathons. I used to be a consistent runner, with a decent pace but I have let life get in the way. I have been increasing my mileage and trying to get back into things, I am signed up for Rock n Roll VA Beach 2015. I’m active duty Navy and would love to represent the U.S. Navy, female Navy Chiefs and Saucony in the Chicago Marathon.

    37. I’m not a strong runner, but I’ve been “running” since I decided to take a jogging course at UNC-CH during my last year of Pharmacy School. . .you’d think by now I’d either have given up or at least be able to run a 10 minute mile. I just completed my 3rd lifetime half-marathon, improved my time. . .but I’m still not fast. But all in all I KNOW I’ll finish. By mile 4 I always feel like. . .dummy why did you sign up. . .by mile 11. . . usually hit a wall. . . but after 13.1. . . Still smiling. Oh by the way. . . I said I have no desire to complete a full marathon. . .yet I took the time to comment here.

    38. I am 36 years old, soon 37..YICKES and such a wannabe Marathoner. Preparing to run my first full marathon at the Soaring Wings Marathon this October in Conway, AR. Have done a few half- marathons before and always wanted the challenge to do a full one.
      Looking forward to logging in those miles and suffer through everyone of them!

    39. I used to hate running! After baby #2 I was overweight and started running and exercise videos. I now LOVE running and have lost 70 pounds. I’m shocked to see what my body can do and love seeing how I can push it. I’m capable of more than I ever expected- like saying “Only 8k left, no problem”. I run to show my kids how much I love it and encourage them to grow up active and healthy – I want them to see their Mom accomplish dreams and love what her body can do. I run to keep my unhealthy family history at bay. I run to inspire others, to raise money for charity, and to be a role model.

      I have run three halfs in the last 6 months (one on sheer ice!), PB of 1:59:56. I am a stay at home Mom from Nova Scotia, Canada -a huge run like Chicago would be amazing and something I couldn’t afford to do on my own. To do it with 26 Strong, a coach, and in Saucony would be the chance of a lifetime!

      I don’t have a heartbreaking tale to tell you about myself -I am the one who steps up and helps friends and family in crisis, and I love being that person! I love helping others and if I was to inspire people near and far through Saucony 26 Strong it would be an honour and a privilege that I would not take for granted!

    40. Thank you for sharing your love of running and the opportunity to give first timers a chance to challenge themselves with a marathon… and in the breathtaking city of Chicago!
      Like most women, I’m a busy wife and mother to three beautiful & active children, working full time. Family medical history (known and unknown) prompted me to return to running last year to improve my health, lose weight, and make better food choices. Running has become an integral part of my life.
      There’s no shortage of motivation. I keep hitting the “complete” button on race registrations, but have refrained from the elusive “marathon”. While I’ve completed two half marathons since October 2014, I’m completely intimidated by the prospect of training for and completing the marathon. Why? I’m scared. It’s my unicorn. Something I’ve never seen myself achieve.
      The energy and excitement of Boston is contagious. I have always felt THE marathon is for the best runners. With several friends running Boston this year, I’m motivated to take the leap. I don’t need to be Shalane, just finish. (Although, she does ROCK!). So, while watching Boston, I find myself perusing upcoming Great Lakes area marathons. CHICAGO was penciled onto my calendar. I panic. So now what?
      Me: ::Reading your blog:: A personal mentor to coach me through? That’s crazy talk!
      You: No, it could happen!
      Me: Really?!
      Thanks for the consideration and best wishes to whomever the Lucky Saucony Girl is!
      Otherwise, I’ll start to make room for my unicorn…

    41. Hi Michele, my name is Ruth Fizzarotti, I am a mother of 2 great sons and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I am turning 59 in a week from this coming Sat. I have been running for a little over 2 years and will be running my 1st half marathon this coming Sunday. My goal is to run a marathon, with my dream being to run the NYC Marathon someday. I would not only be thrilled if I was chosen for this amazing opportunity, but also honored to take this journey with you. I have learned so much from reading your blog over the last couple years and you continue to inspire me in so many ways. Some people may think I have done things backwards in my life. When I was 12, I began playing golf, I was the first girl to play on my high school’s team, played on my college team, and also played in other events. Sons came along with all their activities and one of the things that was such a big part of my life was put on the back burner. No, I have not started playing again, but, I found something else that now has become an important part of my life that I truly love. Grandmas may start playing golf, this grandma started running!! And she wants to run a marathon!!

    42. This is such an amazing opportunity! So first a big thank you to Saucony. I have enjoyed reading all the comments  people have left here. You certainly have a difficult  choice ahead, there are so many deserving women here! I would like to toss my running shoes into the ring as well. But I’ll be honest,  while i meet all of the technical requirements, i may not be the kind of runner you are looking for. I’m not just “curvy” I’m a fat girl (and I’m ok with that. Still about 300lbs. But working on it.) I’m not just “slow” I’m the one that checks the cutoff  time before I register for a race. I have had to balance eating to  lose weight vs. eating to fuel 3-4  hour “runs” so I  know that there are more challenges  to mentoring someone like me than there would be to mentoring someone that has always been a runner.

      I completed  my first half marathon in january (lost 50lbs in the process) and I’m currently training for my first half ironman. Dedication, determination, tenacity, and drive,  are not in short supply. Quitting is not an option once i set my sights on a particular race/goal.

       I would love to be considered for this amazing opportunity, but I also understand that taking on a student my size/skill level could be very overwhelming, especially  if you have no experience  with training someone this big. 

      Just as a side note,  let me say that I LOVE Saucony  shoes!  Every time I need shoes I try on EVERYTHING and always land in Saucony! They’re the best!  And reading about this program just makes me love  them more!

    43. I would love to learn to run a marathon. Running is something I believe is dedication and respect because in order to run one must train with a purpose. That purpose for me right now is three reasons, my health, my children, and my determination to do better. Running shows me that one can change their destination if there is dedication. When I first started running I started at 13 min miles and my first half marathon was done in 2 hrs, 40 mins. I was so proud of what I accomplished for someone who never ran. My last half I ran in 2 hrs, 5 mins and I learned that training works! You can’t cheat to get better you have to give it 100 percent if you want to keep getting better. I now run a 9.5 min mile. My days begin with a run when I can. It’s my way to start my day with focus and inspiration. I now run about 20-30 miles a week and love every minute of it. I live in Chicago and would run in Saucony’s. I will be 40 this year and want to show my children that one is never to old to learn something new and to keep on dreaming. My daughter is now part of the running club at school and it’s great to see how I inspired her to do that. I want to keep inspiring not only my children, but my friends and family to keep moving towards a healthier lifestyle, that is why I want to be chosen.

    44. Oh my goodness this is amazing! My name is Alicia and I live in Illinois just across the river from St. Louis. I am 25 years old and married (to a non-runner) with an adorable stepson. I started reading your blog over the summer when I was training for my first half marathon. I had never read any blogs before, but I’m the only one in my family and immediate friends who runs. I was nervous about the distance having only raced in 5ks before and I had all sorts of questions. Reading your blog and a handful of others made me feel better and more confident about the whole experience. After the huge sense of accomplishment from completing the race I knew that my dream of some day running a marathon could actually become reality.
      I went to college in Chicago and the Chicago marathon is the only marathon I’ve ever seen firsthand. I remember the city humming with excitement on race day. I would walk around downtown and see people of all different nationalities walking around in tin foil (I had no idea what those blankets were). I always thought that if I were to ever do a marathon that would be the one. I would love to have the opportunity to train for my first ever marathon with someone. Being trained by you to conquer a distance that terrifies and excites me would be an absolute dream.

    45. This is such an amazing opportunity! So first a big thank you to Saucony. I have enjoyed reading all the comments  people have left here. You certainly have a difficult  choice ahead, there are so many deserving women here! I would like to toss my running shoes into the ring as well. But I’ll be honest,  while i meet all of the technical requirements, i may not be the kind of runner you are looking for. I’m not just “curvy” I’m a fat girl (and I’m ok with that. Still about 300lbs. But working on it.) I’m not just “slow” I’m the one that checks the cutoff  time before I register for a race. I have had to balance eating to  lose weight vs. eating to fuel 3-4  hour “runs” so I  know that there are more challenges  to mentoring someone like me than there would be to mentoring someone that has always been a runner.

      I completed  my first half marathon in january (lost 50lbs in the process) and I’m currently training for my first half ironman. Dedication, determination, tenacity, and drive,  are not in short supply. Quitting is not an option once i set my sights on a particular race/goal.

       I would love to be considered for this amazing opportunity, but I also understand that taking on a student my size/experience level could be very overwhelming, especially  if you have no experience  with training someone this big.  But having a fat girl like me finish a full marathon has got to be good publicity right 😉

      Just as a side note,  let me say that I LOVE Saucony  shoes!  Every time I need shoes I try on EVERYTHING and always land in Saucony! They’re the best!  And reading about this program just makes me love  them more!

    46. Oh my goodness this is amazing! My name is Alicia and I live in Illinois just across the river from St. Louis. I am 25 years old and married (to a non-runner) with an adorable stepson. I started reading your blog over the summer when I was training for my first half marathon. I had never read any blogs before, but I’m the only one in my family and immediate friends who runs. I was nervous about the distance having only raced in 5ks before and I had all sorts of questions. Reading your blog and a handful of others made me feel better and more confident about the whole experience. After the huge sense of accomplishment from completing the race I knew that my dream of some day running a marathon could actually become reality.

      I went to college in Chicago and the Chicago marathon is the only marathon I’ve ever seen firsthand. I remember the city humming with excitement on race day. I would walk around downtown and see people of all different nationalities walking around in tin foil (I had no idea what those blankets were). I always thought that if I were to ever do a marathon that would be the one. I would love to have the opportunity to train for my first ever marathon with someone. Being trained by you to conquer a distance that terrifies and excites me would be an absolute dream.

    47. Good morning! I am an ATL running mama, and running has always been a part of my life, career,and mamahood. I have completed a handful of half marathons, but never a full. My 4 year old daughter enjoys running with me, and I teach PE to amazing middle school kiddos! As a multi-sport coach, I would LOVE the chance to be coached by an incredible mentor! Although I am a teacher, I am an even better student! This opportunity would give me a chance to inspire my students, staff, and family and friends, which is priceless!

      I am not gonna lie…I want this for other reasons too. During a routine exam in November, I was diagnosed with Adeno Carcinoma in Situ (Cervical). I had a hysterectomy, as a curative treatment, March 10, 2015, and was cleared to resume normal activities yesterday. I was asking the doctor many questions about exercise, and she responded, “You can run a marathon tomorrow!”. A few short hours later, I saw this post. IT IS A SIGN! It’s meant to be! No disease, or surgery is going to stop me from achieving a goal and crossing that finish line (and a marathon off of my bucket list)!

      Chicago is also on the top of my list of cities to see, and what better way to experience the Windy City, for the 1st time, than through a 26 mile adventure?? Aaaaand, I am already a Saucony lovin’ and wearing gal. I promise that with me you will get someone who is “all in” and ready to crush it with an amazing coach by my side. Let’s do this! :)

    48. I came across this post the same day as I started looking at potential fall marathons. I grew up HATING to run. All my friends ran, and I wanted to run, but I had no endurance and could not coach myself to keep going when it started to feel hard. I kept on trying to like it; I did a walking half marathon with my mom, and I ran-walked one with some friends. Then, I joined a women’s training group. GAME. CHANGER. I’ve finally started to love running, after years of trying. My next half marathon is next Saturday, and I’m hoping for mostly running with a little walking if need be, and a time of under 3 hours. I’ve done a race every month of 2015 so far, and I’m hooked. I may not be fast, but I love the sense of accomplishment, something I didn’t use to feel. The one-on-one training support for my first marathon would be absolutely amazing, because I really want to prove to myself that I CAN do this.

    49. Hi! I would love to be considered for this opportunity. My name is Julie and I live in an Atlanta suburb. This is would so crazy cool, I had already decided that this is the year to do a full marathon in the fall. I have run a half marathon and done a 70.3 triathlon and about to complete a second 70.3. I would love to document the journey. I have started running about 4 years ago and then got involved in tris and cycling events. It is a journey of weight challenges for me and I am still not there yet. I don’t really look like a runner. My biggest challenge would be to gain some speed, but with dedicated running and some mentor feedback, I would be forever grateful and I am sure I could compete the race! I can come to the program with dedication to get the training in and a wide open ear for all the help and advice you could give! I could really use some help! Thanks for putting this opportunity out there! — Julie

    50. What a great opportunity!

      My name is Jessica and would love to have the opportunity to work with you to train for a full marathon and run by your side for 26.2!

      I started running 3 years ago using the Couch to 5k plan. I fell in love with running and have never looked back. I always ran shorter distances but decided last spring that I wanted to run a half. I ran my first half marathon in October. When I finished I couldn’t wait to sign up for another. But I live in Minnesota so winter isn’t exactly racing season here. :) I am happy to say that I am running my 2nd half marathon this Saturday in Minneapolis. Can’t wait!

      I have toyed with the idea of running a full marathon but it has always terrified me a little bit. It’s definitely a dream of mine though. Having somebody like yourself to help me through training and the race itself is just what I need to make the leap!

    51. Love all the diversity among the stories here. #whoruntheworld

      I’m Jenny, 28 years old, originally from Georgia but have lived in NYC for 5 years.

      I started running as a tool to combat everyday anxiety and stress that so many of us experience in this city. Coupled with a nasty breakup, I went from the Couch to 5K program to a 10K in a couple of months, and was hooked. My first half marathon was Staten Island in 2012. I finished in 2:10 and wept at the end! I’ll be completing my seventh half this May in Brooklyn, hoping to achieve my first sub-2. I’ve found that no matter what changes in my life — jobs, apartments, relationships — I can always come back to running as a way to find stability, peace and confidence.

      I’ve always been terrified of the full distance, yet eager to see what I’m made of and try it, so I entered the Chicago lottery a few weeks ago. This sounds like an incredible opportunity to have much-needed support along the journey to 26.2! I would be beyond thrilled — and ready to do some work! — if chosen!

      Jenny Paxton

    52. AHH! Just reading about being able to be considered for this amazing opportunity has me super excited! I plan on racing my first marathon this fall! My blog is healthy living based and I’m also a Registered Dietitian working in Sports Nutrition so I like to share meals, training, and race recaps. I believe I would be a perfect fit… I’m very coachable and love the idea of a veteran helping train a rookie and having a teammate for a solo sport. I followed several of the bloggers journey to their first marathon last year and it was so inspiring that I decided this was my year for the marathon after doing 4 half marathons in the last 1.5 years. I communicate frequently on social media and have loved sharing my journey to my first Olympic Triathlon last summer and received such a humbling response from followers I would love to do it again with a marathon :) Also- I’m not exactly local but I am located in Philly so we could easily do a training race or two together!! (insert thumbs up emoji here)!
      Dietitian Jess recently posted..How to Improve your Cooking SkillsMy Profile

    53. My name is Jaquelyn, and I am about to turn 40 – where has the time gone?!?!

      First of all – thank-you for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing campaign – Go Saucony!!!

      Running has been a lifeline through many of the ups, downs, and curve balls life has thrown my way. My (now not so little) son started as well when he was 3, driving his little 4×4 battery ‘car’ beside me as I would head down the road, he eventually graduated to using his bike, and then started running… what a kid! We ran our first half marathon together last year (after I was told I would not be able to run again after breaking my ankle and severing a ligament… don’t run in ice storms lol), I have remained injury free, and we have our second half marathon this May in Ottawa!
      This would be an amazing opportunity both for my family and myself. I want to set the best example that I possibly can for my son and for him to know that anything is possible, you just have to work for it and give it your all!
      I also want to see that look on my husband’s face – full of love and pride when I cross the finish line.
      But most of all I want to complete a marathon for myself, to prove that I can do it, to prove to myself that you never give up and that 40 is just a number, a number that starts a new and wonderful chapter in my life.

    54. I would really love this opportunity. I am eagerly awaiting the lottery results for the Chicago Marathon. I already selected it as my first at the suggestion of a friend. I started running just over two years ago. My husband runs an autism social and support group and they had a run as a fundraiser. There was no way I could solicit friends and family to join in the event without partaking myself. I ended up placing second in my age group and it was a huge confidence booster. Thus, my son’s autism led me to find my passion. My son now competes in short races with me. Since then I’ve run approximately 40 races of varying distances. I have completed three halfs, including one while pregnant. I’m currently making a promising come back to racing after having another child! I would be honored if you selected me as your mentee!

    55. Hi my name is Shannon i live in Lompoc Ca I have tried to run a marathon before I ended up not training very well due to my Dad’s passing away and i ended up pulling myself at mile 6 I have run several half marathons 2 disneyland halts 3 in Fresno and 3 in Ventura my very first race was a half marathon i walked then i went to 5K’s I’m not fast my mile time is 18 minutes right now and i run walk i am 90 pounds over weight and will be 41 in july i thought it didnt hurt to try but i think i might be too slow for the cut off time

    56. Good morning! My name is Jennifer and I am a 37 year old working mother of three girls. I spend my days assisting special needs children in school, when I can not driving my girls to their activities I am training for my June half marathon (my 8th) or an Olympic triathlon.my love for running started in 2011 and has only grown. I currently have plans to run my first full marathon in twin cities Minnesota on October 4 but would love the run Chicago with you and saucony should the opportunity be given to me!!!

      • Hi Michele we met last year,(I am a local Staten Islander) and I just completed my first ever half marathon in NYC last month and it was absolutely exhilarating. I have always wanted to train for a half, but in the middle of having three kids and some unforeseen medical issues, I could not commit to the training schedule- until this year!! I spent the entire winter training, completing long runs outside in the freezing weather and I have to say it was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It would be an absolute honor to train with you, as I follow your blog, totally admire you, and love early morning runs! I have instilled running habits in my kids, my son just joined track and love that running is now a “family thing”. I would be thrilled to be considered for this opportunity.

    57. Talk about an awesome opportunity! I don’t have any inspiring stories or personal struggles that drive me. I’m just a wife, mom, full time employee and a runner. I grew up in a family of runners. My dad ran two marathons. My mom was a streak runner and ran every day for almost 11 years. My brother is now a streak runner and is over 3 years into his streak. I resisted running growing up partially because I had to be the odd one and rebel against anything everyone else liked. When I was 27 and my first born was 2 years old and I still hadn’t lost all of the baby weight I knew I had to do something, but what had kept me fit in the past (dancing- ballet) was not really an option for 27 year old moms. Plus, I live in the Charleston, SC area which is a great running community. I started a Couch to 5k program in 2008 and I’ve been an off and on runner ever since. I’ve only recently truly felt like a runner. 1 January 2014 I began my running streak and have run at least one mile every day since. I completed two half marathons within the last year. Knowing my kids (I have two now) would be at the finish line cheering me on was such an awesome motivation to get me through. I’m 34 now and feel ready for my first marathon. I have no running partners/buddies and I think I need that extra push to get me going the extra distance and to keep me going. I need a cheerleader. I need you! 😉

    58. I am a 38 year old full time working mom of three (1, 3 and 5 years old) originally from NYC but living in Washington, DC. I have run a few half marathons, including the Rock n Roll DC last year and this year (in the pouring rain!) I want to run my first marathon in the fall and was planning on the MCM but would love to do Chicago (I went to undergrad there!). I currently run about 20 miles a week.

      I had run a little in my life – 3 miles a few times a week – but nothing more than that. After my second child was born, I decided I wanted to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler (2013). I never thought I could run 10 miles, and literally planned on running half the Cherry Blossom race and then pulling out. I was also three months pregnant with my third child at the time. And yet, when race day came, I finished! I was hooked and have been running ever since. I went from hoping to finish races to trying to complete them in a certain amount of time.

      I have no idea how to train for a marathon but I am determined to do it. Running to me is everything now that I am a mother. Its time away from the kids. Its doing something for myself. Its my happy place. Its how I think out problems at work and home. Its where I come up with great ideas. Its something I can achieve that is just for me.

    59. I would LOVE to be able to do this! I started running 5 years ago. I did 2 5k’s and then went on to do a half marathon. I’ve never had a desire to do a full marathon. My goal is to complete a half in under 2 hours. I am a leader of a run club we have at work. Running with this group has made me realize that yes, I would like to be able to say I’ve run a full marathon. I’m a single mom of a 15 yr old son who enjoys running/working out as much as I do. I’m currently studying to become a personal trainer. I post my runs on Facebook and everybody tells me how much I inspire them. I truly would love this opportunity to be able to run with saucony and run the Chicago marathon. What an incredible experience that would be!!! Thank you!!!

    60. Oh my. My stomach just did a flip flop as I started typing this comment. I have read many of the comments here and am excited for any of the women who get chosen. Part of me is the kid in the classroom slinking down in her seat hoping not to be picked. But the other part of me is screaming “This is your chance! Stop making excuses! Seize the day!”
      Hi, my name is Tiffany. I am a mom of three young daughters(7, 6, 3). I am a wife. I am a 2nd grade teacher. I am a runner. I am passionate about all of these parts of my life. Finding balance is a HUGE struggle and is what scares me the most about training for a marathon. But I know I want this.
      I have ran several local 5ks, a few 10ks, 4 15ks, and 3 half marathons. But I always find an excuse not to register for a full… whether it be needy kiddos, busy husband, beginning full-time work after a lengthy leave of absence, or moving into our forever home soon. But, this opportunity seems to be nagging me (or maybe it’s my very motivating running buddies :).
      Thank you for considering me for this exciting opportunity!!! So, here it goes… clicking on “post comment”…now. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

    61. First off kudos to Saucony for coming up with this amazing program and to you for being a part of it. My name’s Christina and I am a 34 year old stay at home Mom to a 2 and 1/2 year old and a 6 month old and currently live in VA. Running has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played sports growing up, I’ve run 5 half marathons, tons of shorter distance races, completed an half ironman, numerous sprint triathlons, mountain races(Mount Marathon), but never a marathon. It’s on my list because I would ultimately like to do a full ironman. I would love the opportunity to be part of this program

      • Ugh hit submit before I was finished. I also was an Army officer and Iraqi veteran but now a military spouse and while I enjoy supporting the military the hardest part is moving and leaving behind good friends. While I always look forward to a new adventure and new people this last move was a little harder because I left behind a great group of friends and running buddies that I have yet to be able to find here because of having kids. I wouldn’t change a thing and love running with my kiddos and my two year old cheering me on by singing shake it off and the happy song at the top of her lungs I would love some motivation and support for my first marathon.

    62. I’m a relatively new runner from sunny California. I started running about 2 years ago when I signed up to do TNT for the San Francisco Nike Half Marathon. This was on my list of things to do before I turned 40, so at 39 I was cutting it close. I started training and was hooked from the very beginning. Honestly as a busy working mom of 2 it was the only thing I did for myself and after I started doing it I just didn’t want to stop. I now have 5 half marathon’s under my belt! Go Me.
      I run now pretty consistently because I try to do 3 half marathons a year and a minimum of a 5k or 10k a month. Many of the 5k’s I run with my 12 year old daughter. I love that she does this healthy activity with me. My goal is to run a full marathon but I haven’t felt ready yet plus none of my running buddies are up for the challenge! Needless to say I will run a full marathon in 2016 as I have one in my sights but I sure would love this opportunity to train and complete this run with you! Saucony 26 strong sounds like a wonderful program and I would be blessed to become part of it.

    63. My sister tagged me in a post about this opportunity early this morning and I have been on cloud 9 ever since. I don’t know quite what to write to you and I am not an experienced writer or blogger but I just feel like this was meant to be so I hope I can convey my feelings but keep it short (although I always say I can’t keep anything short except my height!).

      I actually signed up for the Chicago Marathon lottery a couple weeks ago because I just KNOW that THIS year is the year I will fulfill my goal of running a full marathon and what an awesome one would it be to be my first!?! I have run 2 half marathons and a few shorter distances and plan on doing another more soon.

      I started running with my mom when I was a young child and it was one of the first things I found a true passion for. I gave it up, and so did my mom, when we moved from beautiful San Diego to Tucson, AZ (it was so much hotter here and we got busy with other things) but I remembered that love I had for running and started up again a couple years ago. My mom lives in KY now and about 2 years ago she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She made a full recovery and has been cancer free for a year and has gotten right back to running!!! It’s funny to hear her tell me I am her inspiration when she is MINE! <3 I mention that because I have learned so many life lessons both from my mom and through running.

      I consider myself a new runner with a lot to learn but I have the love and passion for it and when I set a goal for myself I go all in! 😀 I currently run around 4-6 miles twice a week and one long run around 10 miles. I also do cross training a few days a week to stay injury free and well balanced.

      I am in a good place as far as my lifestyle goes because my kids are older (16 and 19, I can hardly believe it) and I feel like this is my time to really be ME. I know the training is tough but I am up for it and I cannot imagine a better way to experience my first marathon but than with a mentor like you by my side.

      Thank you for your time, I hope to connect with you more soon!
      Rose

    64. Aww Michele ~ Thanks so much for being willing to participate in the 26Strong Program once again! I would absolutely love to be considered for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My name is Natalie, and I am a 26 year old soon-to-be veterinarian (I graduate from veterinary school this May). I always say that my little family is a family of “racers”: My husband’s hobby is racing stock cars; our dog is a speedy ex-racer greyhound we adopted from the racetrack; and I have become admittedly addicted to running races. :) Running has been so important to me throughout my past four years of veterinary school. While being extremely fulfilling and rewarding, veterinary school is also mentally and emotionally challenging, making a good 6-10 mile run at the end of each day (often with my dog!) very therapeutic. My biggest running achievement thus far is completing my first half marathon last summer, with another coming up this summer. After I graduate this May, I will be living and working in Minnesota, so I have been stocking up on lots of cold weather running gear! Seeing the pure elation and overwhelming sense of accomplishment in the faces of marathon finishers gets me every time – I teared up with happiness seeing your Boston finish line photos, as well as you and your sister’s Honolulu marathon photos…that is something I so admire and so want to experience! I would be ecstatic and so grateful to be able to train hard for my first marathon as a veterinarian with you as my “vet.” :) Thank you for the opportunity! And huge huge congrats to you on your incredible race at Boston!

    65. At 17 years old, I decided to train for a half marathon, and to say it changed my life is the understatement of the century. I was grappling with a feeling of worthlessness after being abandoned by my father, while simultaneously dealing with the challenges of being a teenager in high school! There was so much going on in my life that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, and I was sick of it. So after spending about six months reading running blogs and starting my own, I trained for the 2014 Calgary Half Marathon (I’m from Edmonton). Crossing that finish line made me into a new person. It gave me the courage to move to Vancouver by myself for university, but more importantly to embrace who I truly am: a running/health nerd, bookworm, and coffee connoisseur. This year I have ran regularly, up to 30 miles per week, and maintained my own running blog of two years! It is for these exact reasons I think I would be perfect to participate in 26Strong! I have a passion for running and social media, and the guts and tenacity to give marathon training everything I have. Qualifying for Boston is my #1 goal, and after watching the race from afar for the third time, I am ready to take the first step in getting there! You inspire me in the way that I hope to inspire other young runners, and this opportunity makes me literally shiver with excitement.
      Emma @ Life’s A Runner recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday: A Glimpse into the Future.My Profile

    66. hey, you’re a champ just for reading each of these comments! I’m Amelia, now officially a Portland, Oregon resident. I moved to Portland the day before Hood To Coast (My first relay on this running journey) last year. Some of my teammates were incredible runners and so encouraging and first planted that 26.2 seed. I’m doing my 3rd half-marathon Mother’s day in Eugene, OR (it’ll be my cousins first full marathon and I so wanted to sign up to do the full with her but didn’t have a plan to get ready.) I’m currently averaging about 20 miles a week. I really want to do my first full marathon this fall anyway so having a partner and cheerleader would be incredible. This is a really cool thing that happens in the world. My pre-race tradition in life has been a pedicure with my pals doing a race with me so I’d have to ask you to get a pedicure with me if you picked me.

    67. What an incredible opportunity!
      My name is Ashley Cardenas and I’m about to be 24 years old and currently live in Dallas, TX. I’m not a mother, don’t have any children, but I do work and go to school and strongly believe in fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle. I admire you all so much. I ran my first 1/2 marathon in March this year and am super motivated towards training for a full now. I know I’m a complete newbie, but I have so much faith that anything is possible with enough passion and perseverance. I started posting my runs on facebook and it helped so much to get positive feedback from my friends, though still no one volunteers to run with me. I absolutely love running, and I feel having a personal trainer by my side would be exactly the extra push I need. I’ve been doing long runs by myself, trying different music, settings and trails but some days I lack motivation. Honestly what helps me the most is being on the treadmills at the gym alongside people that are actually running. My Sunday ritual is composed of going for a long run, getting a Jamba Juice smoothie, looking through running/fitness blogs and reading through competitor magazine. I do this all the time and yet I lack the courage to sign up for a full marathon! I would love to be able to call someone regularly who would not only hold me accountable, but inspire me to push harder! To be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong program would be more than a dream, it would change my life and build my confidence. Select me, and I will push harder than ever before and kickstart my lifelong running journey. Thank you for posting this, I know there are so many beautiful, strong women out there and I hope everyone accomplishes their running goals!

    68. What an amazing opportunity to run as a part of Saucony 26 Strong…talk about crossing off items on a bucket list with glee :) Running and I have had a love affair for more than 1/2 my life. I began running when I was in middle school and competed both in high school and college. Early on in my life running became an escape from several forms of abuse that I endured as a child (physical, verbal, emotional and sexual). This past February I competed in my first half marathon in the Gaspirilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL (2:17:39). It was with such delight that I was able to share my journey with my 1st grade students. Today I run as a conquerer and with the passion of a unbroken spirit forever grateful for every teacher and coach that believed in me…every mile they went for me changed my life.

    69. 4 years ago, I never thought I would be trying to run a mile, let alone 26! I turn 30 this year and just started running 3 1/2 years ago as a way to stay occupied while my husband was deployed. I was in a new city (Savannah) and it was a way for me to meet people. I am now in ANOTHER new city (Chicago!) and I am about to run my 2nd Half Marathon on May 2! My brother and sister in law will be running in the Chicago Full Marathon and I think that would be a special thing to share with them! There is just one thing…I am not on their level. HA! I need help! I love to challenge myself and I think this will be just the thing to show 30 and well…EVERYONE what I am made of!

    70. Chicago is my favorite place on earth! I was born and raised there , but I live in Florida now and miss it terribly! I have run 5 half marathons (one in Chicago) but I have never done a Full and would love to run it in my home town. I have 3 kids ages 14, 8 and 6 and am an RN on a maternity unit. My love for running started with mud runs years ago and gradually led me to the road. I still have family in Chicago so running there would make me sooooo happy! I am healthy and run 5 to 15 miles a week depending on my schedule. Being my coach, cheerleader and mentor would be a great gift that I would appreciate. I also run in Saucony Guide 7 and LOVE them so the gear would go to a true fan!!! Thanks for the opportunity and happy running!

    71. My name is Kristen and I’m a 30-year-old wife and mom of two kids, a 4-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl. I also am a part time entrepreneur. Running for me has always been a way to beat the stress of the day, enjoy some me time or motivate me to be stronger and work harder. It’s my kick in the butt to get moving and show myself what I can do when I put my mind to it. I’ve been running on and off since high school and I’ve run several half s, 5 and 10k’s, I currently log about 25-30 miles a week and am training for another half in June. My family and I recently relocated from Upstate NY to Volo, IL (about an hour north of downtown Chicago)! While, I’ve talked about running a marathon for a long time it would be awesome to run my first in my new hometown! Ironically, my husband has told me for several weeks now to find someone to run one with and go for it! Running my first marathon would be incredible and a great goal! But I think that being a part of a team and having the support in preparing for my first marathon with a seasoned veteran, such as you Michele, makes me even more excited at the prospect! Good luck to everyone!

    72. I’ve come full-circle with running, and would love to become a part of the Saucony 26 Strong family :o) I began running in junior high school, ran varsity through high school and managed a freshman year of D1 XC before becoming injured and thoroughly disillusioned with competitive running. I’ve returned to running and racing as a way to support my son, who collapsed during freshman final exams, and subsequently was diagnosed with medication-resistant Epilepsy. Now a high school senior and varsity runner, he needs medical assistance while at XC meets and on the track. I run point-to-point during meets and carry meds at all times in case of seizure. My son is twice as fast as I am, so I have to plot my course locations strategically ;o) ! Epilepsy has been a long three year “adjustment” involving school administration, hired advocates, and (finally) ADA compliance. With my son graduating this June, I now have time to step up from Half to Full status and would love the chance to train with my very own coach/cheerleader/sherpa/photographer…and most importantly, friend.

    73. This would be a dream come true! I am a 32-year-old mother of a 5 year-old boy and twin 3 year-old girls. Between being a mom, wife, climbing the corporate ladder, and running-I feel like I run a marathon most days, but have never trained for one. I got into running just before I found out I was pregnant with my son 5 years ago and took a hiatus from racing (but not running and cycling and working out) until last November. Since November I have done 3 halfs (1:42 at RnR savannah, 1:38 st. Augustine diva run, and 1:36 this past Feburary in Gainesville, Florida (where I live)). I have big dreams to not only run my first full, but to BQ. I have been so inspired by following you on your journey and it would be such an honor and a privelage to have the opportunity to share this experience with you. I can commit to working hard and giving back more than I receive. I hope to have the opportunity to find my strong in Chicago with you by my side!

    74. Hi! My name is Monette. I would like to be considered as a potential cadet and be part of the 26 Strong. I want to continue being a leader and role model for my children, my troops, and many women through inspiration and empowerment.

      I am 37 years old, a widowed – single mother of four, and a Soldier of almost 19 years. I am currently from Mount Holly, NJ and originally from Chicago. I am five feet tall and have controlled cardio-induced asthma. I have a “never quit” attitude that regardless of the situation I am in, I will do my best to push through, embrace the suck, and prevail in the end. Once I found the right medication to control my asthma, running became a love of mine and my therapy. With every running step of increased distance and longer run sessions, I no longer feared that I would not be able to breath. I am free to run like Forrest! I spread my love for running with my children and have completed several events together. Watching them run to accomplish the same goal with me are priceless mommy moments to cherish forever. I love hearing that I have motivated a few of my friends to live an active healthy lifestyle through running. I would like to continue to take steps to make a positive impact on others.

      My running experience includes two half marathons, three ten-milers, many 5ks within the past two years, and, of course, the super fun Army formation runs.

      Thank you for taking the time to consider me as a potential cadet.

      Very respectfully,
      Monette Madayag

    75. Hi hon! I’m Steph from Baltimore, Maryland – a 7 (soon to be 8) time half marathoner planning to run my first full this fall. The original plan was to run my first full in 2014, but a stress fracture in 2013 derailed all of my plans. I am finally healthy enough and strong enough to make this a reality! I have been training up for 2 HMs this spring, using that to springboard into marathon training this summer.

      In 2014 I ended my marriage, a relationship of over ten years, and running became my savior; running helped me become stronger in so many ways. Last fall I coached/cheered a training partner through her first half and absolutely LOVED the experience – it really brought my first half experience to life in a whole new light and felt so amazing to be able to help someone through her first. I would love to have a chance to experience my first full marathon in this manner (much different than my first half!), and hopefully pay it forward for someone else’s first full marathon next year.

      In middle school I used to forge my mom’s signature to get out of running the mile, so I never thought I’d be someone people would turn to for running advice. But I have found so many amazing friendships through my blog, runchat, RunJunkEes, and my training groups – I’d love to share my first marathon experience with Saucony’s and Competitor’s fans, as well as you and yours!
      Stephanie recently posted..What a Difference a Week Makes!My Profile

    76. Ok. I admit it. My name is Jessica and I’m a closet wannabe Marathoner. I’ve never admitted that out loud or in print! I’m a busy 40-year old Physician who runs a full-time Medical Dermatology practice (and all while being a full-time Mom and Wife) and I have been running for almost 2 years now, 3-4x/week, 10-18 miles/week (despite being Canadian, I think in miles!) after establishing my practice, I realized I had no ‘me’ time and needed to get back to the gym (and lose a few pounds…) and I began running. I have always said you need to take care of yourself first, if you need to take care of others. I spend my days giving advice to my patients, and now, I would love it if the tables were turned. I would love it if you Michele, could give me the advice and guidance to help me become a full Marathoner at the iconic Chicago Marathon with Saucony 26 Strong! I’m a dedicated, kind, hardworking, fun-loving Canadian gal who lives outside of Toronto and is a student of running. I’ve completed 3 Disney half-marathons (2:15 PR) and have my 4th half in a week and a half in Toronto (my first in Canada!) I meet all your criteria and already love my Saucony Triumphs I bought to celebrate my 2nd half. I’m still on a runners high from my 10k 57:15 PR on Sunday :) I will exceed your expectations, I promise! Please run with me!

    77. Hello Ms. Michelle,
      My name is Claire LaCross and I’m 4 years old. Well, I’m not really 4 yet but I will be in a month so I’m saying 4 now. I really, really, really think my mommy, Megan, would be perfect for your 26Strong team! She has only been running in races for a few years but she’s ran three half marathons so far. The first one was in October 2011 – only a few months after I was born! I don’t remember it but my brother told me. He’s really old – like almost 8. I know she’s getting pretty good at it because of what people say to her. She just ran the Columbus, OH half marathon last October (I was there with a sign!) and she ran way, super fast. I know this because my daddy was acting so silly and was telling everyone about it on his Face’s Book. I just heard my mommy tell my daddy the other day in the car that she’s ready to run a full marathon. The main reason I think you should pick my mommy is she’s my hero and my best friend and I would love to run 26.2 miles with her but I’m not fast enough yet. So I thought you could do it for me! If you want to know more about my mommy look at her blog at http://www.enspirebalance.com. You can also see some pictures of me there! Bye Ms. Michelle. Thank you for reading my letter.
      Claire (for Megan) LaCross recently posted..Set A Goal, Take Small Steps Toward It, Succeed!My Profile

    78. Oh gosh, this would be absolutely incredible to do! I’m actually a relatively new runner. As in I ran my first 5K last August! Since then I’ve gone on to a 10k, 10 mile, and will run my first half marathon on May 3rd! I’m from Minnesota, so running my first marathon here in the Midwest would be incredible! I would be a great candidate because I’m what I like to call an “every-man/woman” runner. I’m not fast. At all. But I’m dedicated. I set goals and don’t stop until I reach them. I’m someone who likes to encourage others by saying, “hey, if I can do it, so can you!” I’d love to be able to run a marathon for all those people out there like me who think they aren’t good enough. I want to show them, and me, we are!!
      Nicci @ Running Short recently posted..Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon Training: Week 9My Profile

    79. What an amazing and life changing opportunity. It would be such an honor to be considered for this. I’ve been a fan of your blog. I also live on the Island. I work full time and have a toddler. I ran a 5k in Chicago a few years back and instantly fell in love with the city. I would like to say I’m an avid runner. I’ve done about 15 halves total, 3 already this year, average about 25-30 miles a week. To be honest I have a love/ hate relationship with distance… A full has always scared me, it’s so challenging mentally and physically, I would love to accept the commitment.

    80. Hi! What an amazing opportunity you have been given and how great you get to share it with someone else! I started running seven years ago after my daughter was born but in 2012 found out I had a bone disease and in 2013 had my left hip replaced. Since my surgery I have run 3 half marathons and numerous other races and I have my eyes set on a full. I want to set a good example for my daughter and for others and that anything is possible if you work hard and keep your mind focused towards your goal. Good luck in your decision making and thanks for the opportunity to run with you in October.

    81. Michele you continue to AMAZE me — thank you for having this blog which I read for motivation daily! I would love to have the opportunity to train with you for a marathon. I am a 30 year old mother of two that works full time as a childcare director in Minnesota. I have been running seriously for about 9 years now. I love how running makes me feel more confident and keeps me in shape. I have told myself that I was going to run a marathon for the past two years and then always “given up” because I feel I didn’t know how to properly train. I run a few 1/2 marathons a year, compete in duathlons and throw in some 5K’s, 10K’s and 10 milers in there as well. My ultimate goal is the marathon, so I feel this would be an awesome opportunity for me! I just recently PR’d at a 10 mile race at 1:13.
      Thank you for considering my story! Heather

    82. Your post was passed on to me from a friend who knows I have a passion for running and running the best I can. While I don’t have a tragic story, I am simply a women, wife and mother who loves to run. I like many others, juggle running with dinner making, sports practices and music lessons. I live in Huntsville Ontario and couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to live, train and raise a family. I have an amazing husband who works hard to provide for his family, an awesome 13 year old son and amazing 9 year old twin girls. I have run a couple half marathons and just completed my first 30k at Around The Bay with a time of 2:31 :) I am dedicated in all things I do, I work hard and be the best I can. My next running goal for this year is to complete my VERY FIRST full marathon with hopes of reaching a qualifying time for Boston :). I have attached a link with a little article that I had the pleasure of being a part of http://runningmagazine.ca/new-balance-canadian-runner-of-the-week-sharon-bennett/

    83. What a great idea and awesome opportunity for someone. I am a 46 year old mom of 4. Been running for around 6 years, but could never say I loved it until this past year. I’ve ran 5k’s, a 10k, 15k and 2 halfs. I only have 1 more quest. After my last race a couple weeks ago, I told myself that 26.2 was my last puzzle piece. Why pick me? All I can say is that you won’t meet a more regimented trainee. I don’t deviate from my plan and when I commit.. I commit. My ultimate goal in life is to teach my kids about health and fitness and that they can do anything if they put forth the efforts! I didn’t used to believe I could do a half, let alone a full. Now I know that’s not the truth. Oh and I’m a huge Cubs fan! Chicago would be awesome. Thanks!! :)

    84. So the timing of this is pretty spooky because after years of telling people that no, I don’t have an intention of ever running 26.2, I’ve been secretly thinking about running a full marathon. And then I saw your post. Maybe it’s fate? ;> I don’t have a sad or dramatic story to share. I’m just a mom of two in the Boston area who works full-time (9-5), runs a blog and, well, runs! I often write about the work-life-mom-running balance, which I know is challenging — and even more so, if you factor in possible marathon training — but I’d love to show other moms out there like me (average, middle-of-the-pack runners) that it IS possible. I’ve run five half marathons to date (and came within 27 seconds of a sub-2:00) and countless 5Ks, 10Ks, 10-milers,you name it. But 26.2 has scared the living daylights out of me…until now. I really am starting to believe I can do it. And having a coach and mentor by my side as I take on such a scary and immense challenge is what I think I need to get me over that finish line … physically and emotionally. (P.S. Thanks so much for the opportunity!!)

    85. Hi Michelle –
      I’d love to be considered for this amazing opportunity! My name is Nora, I’m a 33 year old Mom of 4 year old triplet boys and I live in Westfield, NJ. I’ve been a casual runner my entire life but ever since I’ve had the boys I’ve developed a new love and appreciation for running! Over the past eight years I’ve competed in seven olympic distance triathlons and I’m currently training for my 5th half marathon, which I will race in this Sunday in Long Branch, NJ. My personal best time is 1:54, which I achieved when I ran the Super Hero half last May. I’m hoping to come in around 1:50 this Sunday…fingers crossed :)

      It wasn’t until this past year that I started thinking a marathon might actually be a possibility in my future. The more I run the more I appreciate the peace of mind it gives me and I love being able to set and achieve personal goals. I think I would be a great choice as your running partner, I am hard working and commited and have a good sense of humor and I would be incredibly grateful for your support along the way. It would be an honor if chosen – I am already getting excited at the thought of it! Thank you so much for your consideration!

    86. What an amazing opportunity, you are giving some wonderful women! I have been running since September 2014 I started out as a heavy 209 pound runner. I have completed several 5ks since then, and dropped over 50ps. I have found a love for running, and healthy eating and life. I have completed a couple 4milers and 10ks. I just completed a 15k. Next Saturday I will completing my first half marathon. I also have a lot of training and other race to do, to get for my second 1/2 the weekend after this amazing race in Chicago. I never thought a half was possible for me, but I keep pushing, keep improving my time.
      Thanks for gicing me and other women the courage and chance to complete an amazing experience, and for some push past their comfort zone. I believe “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”

    87. Hi my name is Mary Ann Ward, wife, mother of 2. I have a 22 year old daughter and a 14 yr old son..I have been running a year and a half..I have completed 2 half marathons. I am a slower runner but I would love to this opportunity to train with u and to complete a full marathon..my mom recently passed away so to complete a marathon would be a tribute to her..ty for this opportunity..I already run in Sauconys they are my favorite shoe.

    88. What a truly amazing opportunity! I am a 29 year old PT from Ohio who has been running since elementary school (I helped found the ‘walking and jogging club’ in my elementary school!!!). However, I only really started competing in races around 4 years ago. I have completed 5 half marathons, and will complete my 6th in 2 weekends. I average around a 1:50, but am working on getting faster. I would love for my first marathon to be a BQ, but I think that may be too lofty, which is why I have been holding out. I would love a great training program with an even greater more seasoned runner to help me attain this goal! I also am very active on social media (I’m the social media director for my company) and would love to chronicle this journey with you and Saucony :)

    89. I would love to part of the 26strong program! I have completed 13 half marathons (and counting) but for some reason I have been too afraid to try to complete a full marathon. I am not the fastest or smallest runner and the thought of training for a full marathon has scared me. Every year after watching the Boston marathon I say this is going to be the year I do it but the fear sets in before I can convince myself to sign up. I think with your help and encouragement I can do it and I can overcome this fear. I can be a roll model for my family and friends and to all the slower runners who think they can’t complete a full marathon. If you would have ask me 10 years ago if I could run a half marathon I would have thought you were crazy, but I have proven to myself and others that I can do it. I think with your help I can help everyone see (myself included) that it doesn’t matter how fast you are, you can be a marathoner if you have the heart and courage to try.

    90. I am a 39 year old working mother of four. I have been running for the past 3 years and have previously run two half marathons. Last year I trained for the NYC marathon but was unable to go. I was running on behalf of the epilepsy foundation to raise awareness. I have an 8 year old son who has intractable epilepsy. He had surgery 1 month prior to the race and his recovery lasted longer than we anticipated. I would love to train with you for Chicago.

    91. Running is a HUGE part of my life. I have been a runner since high-school and am known in my town (Atlantic Highlands, NJ) as that crazy runner chick. I run Sunday-Friday, 12 months out of the year in all kinds of weather (or on the treadmill if the weather is really not behaving). I’ve run through pulled muscles, blisters the size of eggs, a bruised tailbone (oy, no fun at all), and 16 days after I gave birth to my son, with my doctor’s permission if not his understanding. I met my best friend while running. I’ve run across the country and in other countries (Venice was the most challenging!) Running is my joy, my magic, and peace, and my clarity. There is no such thing as skipping a run. I have done countless smaller races and somewhere between 15-20 half-marathons, but no full marathon. Why? I’ve always felt the half marathon is enough of a challenge, plus I am able to run the next day without much discomfort. However, coaching my son’s grade school (K-8th) track team (although we have no track, which is actually kind of an advantage…but that’s another story entirely!), I’ve realized that while I ask each child to stretch themselves and grow as runners and try new distances, I have not. I’ve become set in my running ways, running the same mileage each week. I haven’t even raced in at least 2 years. I think its high time I took on a challenge, and running the Chicago 2015 marathon with you would be the perfect opportunity to do so. I’m ready to be called off the bench, coach!

    92. I am currently training for my first marathon right now but have not decided which one. I have done the Mississauga 1/2 marathon at 2:38 and recently PR’ed my 5k at 28:38, I am also working on a sub 60 10k. I would love my first Marathon to be Chicago! I am currently running three times a week and cross training three times a week. I have a Sprint Tri in June 2015.
      I live in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada so virtual training will be my venue. I have participated as a personal motivator (running coach/buddy) for the SportsMed BC Vancouver Sun Run 10k and the Tempe Skirt Chaser Kick Start program 5k for beginners. This would be a wonderful opportunity, I hope you pick me but thank you for providing this for all beginner Marathoners! What an honor to pay it forward and help someone cross that finish line! Awesome stuff!

    93. Hey there! I think I’d be perfect for this. I’m a mom of 3 that started running last year after seeing my husband complete his first half. It inspired me to get moving and I started “attempting” to run May of 2014. I did my walk/jog intervals most of the summer but really started to train after signing up for my first 5k in October of 2014. After my first race I was hooked. I kept pushing myself further and decided that I wanted to try the same half marathon my husband did and I will be running that May 2nd. I’ve been running with my local running group since January and I’ve ran 13+ miles at least 5-6 times to date. I currently run in Saucony Ride 7’s as well so training and running in Saucony gear would not be a problem! I would love the challenge of running my first marathon!
      Amanda Earles recently posted..Reflecting…My Profile

    94. I would love to do this! I am 45 and have run 4 halfs (two within the last month, PR is 2’05”). I have been running for years and have never tried to run a marathon. But I’m ready to do it! I run 3-5 times a week, mostly in Central Park and on the Hudson River bike trail (I live in Westchester, work in Manhattan). I’m injury free and ready to go.

    95. Hi Michelle! I think am the perfect candidate for this challenge. I am a local Staten Islander who is seriously considering running her first marathon. I have run several halves in the last year and a half and am frightened but intrigued by the thought of running a full. I am about to turn 38 years old and have two children, a five year old daughter and seven year old son. My husband is a very nice person and supports all my endeavors. I am an assistant principal in a PreK -12 school in Staten Island and find my peace in running. I run a few times a week and commit to a long run most weekends. I have a special group of friends (My BRFS) who keep me motivated and accountable. We share our darkest secrets, many miles, and celebratory beverages on a regular basis! I am blessed. This would be a golden opportunity to hone in on this challenge with the support of an amazing coach. I am very social and have a great network of people who would love to follow me on this journey. CHOOSE ME!!

    96. Hi Michelle,

      I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now and find you such an inspiration! Particularly since I also seem to have problems with nutrition and race day nerves. The longest race I’ve ever done is a half marathon (1:44 PR two years ago) and I definitely feel that if I could work on those I would improve. I’ve always been interested in running a marathon but have been too nervous to commit to one. I’m a 28 yr old Australian who is actually moving to Princeton NJ for work this may! As I’ll be leaving my family and friends (and husband) back home I was planning on filling my time with marathon training so would love to be considered for the 28 strong program! I currently run 4 or 5 times a week at distances of around 8-10km since I’m not currently training for anything. I’ve also completed a two week Barre class and have found that it definitely helps with my running!

      Anyway, good luck choosing a candidate and well done PRing in Boston!

    97. Hello! My name is Elizabeth and I live in Baltimore, Maryland. I am a Kindergarten teacher and I absolutely love my job! I moved to Maryland from Ohio three years ago and went through a period of serious depression. I missed home, my family and my friends. I found running as a way to get away from all that I had left behind in Ohio. Since then, I have run two half marathons and several shorter distance races. A marathon sounds daunting, but it would be one of my greatest accomplishments if I were to complete it! I would love to be chosen to run with you! Thanks!

    98. I would love to run the Chicago Marathon in my beautiful city of Chicago. My name is Sherri Seaborn. I’m a 49 year old wife and mother of two teenagers. I work full time and in my spare time I am a group leader for a national women running club. I am a six time half marathon runner and stair climber. I have ran six half marathons to date with an avg finish time of 2:37. I live in the Chicago area and running the Chicago Marathon is dream of mine. This race will be my first Marathon. I entered the lottery and hopefully I receive good news on 4/28. Until then, it would be an awesome opportunity to be chosen to train with you and represent Saucony in front of my town, family and friends.

    99. Hey! I recently started reading your blog and would LOVE to train with you for Chicago 2015! I’m a 34 year old College Adviser and love to run. The furthest I’ve tackled is a half marathon. I just did the Livermore Half run last month (it’s wine themed so much fun!) and have a 15K this weekend in SF. I live in Oakland right across the Bay and work at UC Berkeley. I just ran my last half in my Saucony fastwitches which were great before that I was pretty much an Asics girl. Ummm what else, oh my half PR is 2:04 from the Brooklyn Half and one of my besties is getting married in Waikiki in May so I’m signed up for the Hibiscus Half. This sounds like a really cool opportunity and would love to be considered. Thanks so much! Abrazos from the Bay.

    100. Love this idea! I’m a 31-year-old mother of two boys (ages 5 and 7) in northeast Florida. I’m a recent running convert. I DESPISED running until last summer when I injured my thumb and couldn’t do the cardio/strength DVD workouts I like and found a pair of running shoes in my size at a discount store and for the first time I thought, “You know? I could run.” So I bought the shoes, and I ran. I still didn’t enjoy it, so I stopped in October when my thumb was well enough to go back to the other workouts. But then in December I realized I actually MISSED RUNNING. So bizarre! So, I started running again! I even ran in the cold (well, Florida cold: low 30s :) ), and I HATE COLD. That’s when I realized: I am really a runner! My family doesn’t recognize me, and my runner friends laugh smugly because I used to be so negative about running. 😉

      My longest race distance so far is 15K but I’m running a half in Tennessee on May 18th. I know that may disqualify me but I had to try. :)

      Thank you!
      Bethany B.

    101. Hi, Michele! I would LOVE the chance to train for 26.2 with you! I’m 35 and a married mom of 3 (ages 4, 5, and 7) from Minneapolis. I’ve been a runner forever, but only got serious–and pushed past 3 miles–a couple of years ago. My kids are finally at ages where I can sleep reliably and follow MY OWN routine, and I’ve been pretty dedicated to my 3 or 4 weekly runs. I’ve done two 10 mile races, one half, and I’m currently training for the Grandma’s half marathon in June. I’m running 20+ miles a week and I can comfortably complete 10-11 miles right now. Running 26.2 is one of my secret “I do not say it out loud” goals. The opportunity to have HELP training for a full marathon is both exhilarating and terrifying. I’m not especially fast, but I’m really stubborn and I do not quit. So if you choose me, it’s happening. I’d love to prove to myself (and my kids!) that anything is possible… Thanks for the opportunity, and CONGRATULATIONS on your new PR!!

    102. O my gosh! I meet all the requirements!
      My name is Sarah Nithiyanandarajah, I’m 28 years old, have an awesome husband named Charles, have a wonderful 20 month old son named Victor, and a fluffy dog named Shadow. I ran the Columbus Half marathon last October, and I want to run a marathon this year. Running a marathon is one of my life goals, and I would be honored to be trained under you! I live in Columbus, Ohio, and am perfectly comfortable with guided solo training.
      I love running so much. I started running last year, and hope I never give it up. It makes me happy! :)

    103. OMG, I would love to do this with you! I live in central Ohio and I’ve only been running for about two years. I’ve never done a marathon and have been tossing the idea around to do one this fall. The 26Strong program would be an amazing way to one and the kick in the pants I need to actually sign up and do this! I am currently training for a half marathon on 5/2 and have another that I’m running with my son on 8/23. I still consider myself a newbie runner but can see so much improvement during the current training I’m doing for my half. Even when not training, I try to run 3 times a week. I love running and love my Saucony running shoes! Please consider me for this – I would make a great running partner for you and we would rock Chicago!

    104. Michelle,
      Indeed, this would be my very first marathon! I’m a 40 year old mom of two living in Lutz, FL. Wife to a very supportive husband, who also loves to run. I started running a little over two years ago. Running always seemed so difficult, but once I ran my first mile without stopping, I was hooked. I ran my first 5K on the 4th of July of 2013, and it felt awesome! I wanted more! I ran the Women’s 5K in November and was inspired by the half marathoners that day to sign up for a half. My husband helped me train in two months for the 2014 Gasparilla Distance Classic. He thinks you’re a rock star! My time was 2:08. I run for all the wonderful health and mental benefits it provides, but most importantly because I love to eat! I love food and so does my family. I typically run 4 days a week early in the morning. It energizes me for my workday as an online foreign language teacher. I do yoga once a week and strength training at least 2 days. I run in Saucony Kinvaras. I was hoping to do the Gasparilla Distance classic again this year and trained all through last summer and fall, which included a 10K. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle in January skiing. It was a clean break. I’m recovered and started running again. It would be a dream to have you as a coach for my first marathon!

    105. My husband and I ran our first half marathon in 2010. During the summer of 2012 I participated in the Warrior Dash and broke my ankle sliding down a pole. Since then I have returned to running and have completed 5 Half Marathons since then. I am not fast by any means and do a run/walk interval for the races, but I do finish them. My husband and I have a goal to do a race in every state, the fulls for him and the halfs for me. We have yet to complete a race in Illinois. Since I started running, running a full has never appealed to me until the last year or so. If I do one I will need a lot of support and motivation and I think this would be a great opportunity for me. Thank you!
      Crystal Ellis recently posted..2014 GoalsMy Profile

    106. Hello! I am very interested and would love to be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong Program and have you as my mentor through my first marathon. I am 34 years old and started running about a year ago after complications from a double mastectomy surgery and have fallen in love with it. I have done one half marathon so far, last weekend in Asbury Park, NJ and am doing another one at the end of May.

    107. I don’t think I qualify because I have run two marathons but I would love the opportunity. I feel like I still am a newbie and struggle with training and fully understanding what my body is capable of. I am an all over the place sort of runner and can pull off 7:30 miles some days and 10:00 is the fastest I can go on other days. I am from MA but would be happy to travel for training runs and would love to train alongside someone who is so inspirational to me. I have been following your blog for some time and really connected with the posts you wrote recently about the mental aspects of running. I think this is an area in particular that I would love to improve and I believe it is the next barrier I need to cross before I can truly feel confident in my running abilities. I would love this opportunity to train and work with you!

    108. I am 33 yrs old and a mother of 2 kids. My daughter is 8 and my son is 5. I would love to have an opportunity to be your protoge. I started running in 2013. 2014 my goal was a race a month (typically 5k’s), I ended 2014 with 25 races (even with tearing my acl in September and having surgery in October). I have ran the Rock n Roll St. Louis half marathon and would love a challenge of a full in honor or my mother. She started running in her 40’s, ran marathons, and even qualified for Boston….but was unable to run due a diagnosis of Scleroderma and injury. My dream is to eventually run a full marathon for her.

    109. omgosh I would love to be picked!!! I started running March 2014 using the C25k program. I never ever thought I would be a runner…ever! I just wanted to lose weight. I have PCOS and it causes weight gain which can cause a whole lot of problems. However I got hooked! I’ve lost 72lbs but what’s better I’ve became a runner! I’ve since ran 3 half marathons and have my 4th, 5th and 6th already signed up for! I love training for races and especially love running with others (I’m a talker, it helps pass the time!). I ran the disney princess half marathon and found a girl online to run with and we still talk almost daily! I love how running can bring such great friendships! I want so badly to run a marathon, but am so scared to sign up and know for that distance I will need someone to be with me to talk to and remind me I can do it! This would be perfect for me! I really hope you consider me to be your running buddy!

    110. Hi – I live in southern NH, am married to a barefoot runner, and have three crazy children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. Six years ago I realized that I couldn’t catch my autistic son when he ran away from me. At the time he had no danger awareness and would run out in parking lots and busy streets. I started running to catch him. He doesn’t run away anymore but I’m still running. I’m slow and I have to push myself to get out there. I’ve run two half marathons and I’ve run 5 Reach the Beach Relays. I’m currently helping a group of ladies accomplish the C25K program with our goal race in June. I spent last summer doing long runs on my own on the weekends with my husband being my support vehicle along the way. Running a marathon would be a stretch for me but it would also be one of my greatest accomplishments! Looking forward to a great chance to overcome my fears, have fun, and spread the word that people of all shapes and sizes run!

    111. I am also a running mama! Can I just say your crushing of goals at Boston was so inspiring?! My name is Briana I am about to turn 25 and I live near Orange County, in southern California. I spend 2-3 of my runs during the week pushing my son (15months) in his stroller. I am inspired to run by my dad, he is 57 years old and has ran 55 marathons, I am very proud of him.
      Before I got pregnant he signed us up for the Rock n Roll half marathon, and we finished it, although quite slowly, me being 7 months preggo. Since having my son, we have been doing weekly long runs together; however training took a backseat this fall, when my grandpa (his father) was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 cancer. To make things more complicated my mom’s mom passed away in December. The lesson I learned through it all was to embrace running during tough times rather than turning your back to something that can serve as such an outlet for stress relief.
      There is nothing quite like bonding over aching muscles or water breaks and now we are back on the grind, running the OC half marathon on May 3.
      My goal was to complete my first FULL marathon this fall, so Chicago would be a dream come true! I am in shape, running 30-40 miles a week, injury free BUT have never ran more than 13 miles. I have a great facebook and instagram following and would love to boast my progress with you and Saucony during the #roadtochicago ☺

    112. I am a tiny bit nervous as I write this, because what if you pick me. And I’m a lot excited as I write this because WHAT IF YOU PICK ME!

      I turned 50 this year, and I strapped my running shoes on again, after a 5 year hiatus. I stopped running because of injuries and this year, I found myself missing it. Missing the freedom of movement, missing the flow of footsteps and sweat and that unbelievable feel of magic that happens when you hit a slight decline and feel like you can run forever. “This, this, this” chants in my head as the magic unfolds. So, I am running again.

      I have never done a marathon. I am absolutely committed to training with you. I live in the San Diego area.

      I have a few 1/2s under my belt, including the Carlsbad, the La Jolla and the San Diego Rock n Roll. I’m signed up for the Temecula Diva 1/2 in Feb 2016. I run 3 days a week, averaging 13ish miles–since I could barely run 30 seconds without stopping in early Feb, and am back up to 6 mile runs, 2 1/2 months later, I am confident the miles are doable. The thought of running a marathon is both scary and cool, and I would absolutely share with social media. I am in a network of women who are crazy excited about me running–they are inspired and uplifted and some have even started walking with the intent to begin running–I love that they are willing to care for themselves this way, and am devoted to shining a light for their running journey.

      I love Saucony gear, and I have a request. I am a curvy runner–can my gear include compression shorts so that my thighs don’t burst into flame?
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    113. I am a tiny bit nervous as I write this, because what if you pick me. And I’m a lot excited as I write this because WHAT IF YOU PICK ME!

      I turned 50 this year, and I strapped my running shoes on again, after a 5 year hiatus. I stopped running because of injuries and this year, I found myself missing it. Missing the freedom of movement, missing the flow of footsteps and sweat and that unbelievable feel of magic that happens when you hit a slight decline and feel like you can run forever. “This, this, this” chants in my head as the magic unfolds. So, I am running again.

      I have never done a marathon. I am absolutely committed to training with you.

      I have a few 1/2s under my belt, including the Carlsbad, the La Jolla and a Rock n Roll. I’m signed up for the Temecula Diva 1/2 in Feb 2016. I run 3 days a week, averaging 13ish miles–since I could barely run 30 seconds without stopping in early Feb, and am back up to 5 mile runs, 2 1/2 months later, I am confident the miles are doable. The thought of running a marathon is both scary and cool, and I would absolutely share with social media. I am in a network of women who are crazy excited about me running–they are inspired and uplifted and some have even started walking with the intent to begin running–I love that they are willing to care for themselves this way, and am devoted to shining a light on their running journey.

      I love Saucony gear, and I have a request. I am a curvy runner–can my gear include compression shorts so that my thighs don’t burst into flame?

    114. Do you still qualify if you’ve run a marathon before but it was a long time ago? I ran a marathon in 2011 but am looking to get back into running and run one again.

    115. I would love to be considered for the 26Strong program. This is my first year as an assistant principal. This year my running has taken a back seat due to my schedule/work load changing. Over 10 years ago I trained to run a full marathon with Team in Training but due to injuries I was forced to back down to a half-marathon. The injuries also took my love for running. Fast forward to three years ago. My sister mentioned training for a local 5k. After that first run/walk with her I remembered my love for running. Since then, I have ran several half marathons. Each spring (I usually do the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg, TN) after my first half of the year I dream of doing a full. This week I really got that bug with all of the blogging about the wonderful experiences that other runners had at the Boston Marathon. I feel that having a mentor and a concrete goal of running the Chicago Marathon would be the push to make running a full a reality for me. I know whoever is picked will be excited and do well with your encouragement and dedication. But I really hope that person gets to be me. I want to prove once and for all that I can do it.

    116. Hello, my name is Donna Ross, I’m 49 years old (turning 50 in December). I’m a wife, mother of 2 boys who are both in college, and I’m a registerd nurse. I have been running for almost 20 years and have done 5 half marathons with the last one being the Louisiana half marathon in February. I have been contemplating a full marathon for a few years but was too scared! I feel this would be an amazing opportunity and would be honored to have you as a coach/mentor. I follow you on Twitter. I have a very supportive husband and family and work life so training and travel would not be of issue. Saucony has been my shoe of choice sine I started running. I would greatly appreciate this chance of a lifetime. I am from Houma Louisiana which is about an hour out of New Orleans! Pick me please so I can run my first marathon…thanking you and saucony in advance! Love and Blessings Donna Ross

    117. Hi Michele! Congrats at Boston! You are an inspiration!

      My name is Nina and I live in Cleveland, OH. I’m the mom of an almost 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter. I just recently ran my 4th half marathon on April 12th and achieved a 9 min 43 second PR! I have always struggled with the mental aspect of distance running. However, because of your Instagram recommendation, I read “Mind Gym” prior to my race and practiced some other “mental toughness” techniques. It was the first race where I felt strong and paced myself well throughout the entire 13.1. I felt confident in my training, but if it wasn’t for you, I would have completely neglected training my brain too. Now I feel unstoppable! So thank you!

      I have dedicated 2015 as the year that I’m pushing past my comfort zone and setting new PRs. I took a short break from racing after my son was born. After I had my daughter, I realized just how much I missed the thrill of racing. Running is my sanity. I am the fastest and strongest runner I’ve ever been, and it feels fantastic! I’ve always been hesitant to sign up for a full marathon. I never thought my body was capable. Now I understand that it’s more of a mental challenge than anything else. I would be honored to have you as my coach and run by your side so I can dominate my first ever full marathon!

    118. I want this. Running is a thing for me. I run when I’m stressed, homesick, mad, happy, and everything in between. I have been surrounded by successful people my entire life and I have always thought life would fall into place for me like it has for everyone else around me. Truth is, it hasn’t. I have an amazing husband and a really cute dog, but I am not where I want to be in life. My plans are screwed up. My schooling isn’t right, my job outlooks aren’t great, and meeting door after closed door weighs on me daily. When I run and I get to the end of my race a feeling comes over me that I am successful. I can overlook everything going wrong in my life and feel joy and pride in my small success and rejoice in the excitement that I only feel when I run. It’s like opening a door every time, and letting the sun in. Running with you would be an amazing journey for me. I only imagine the things this will encourage me to do. I my name is Kourtney Roe, I’m almost 23 years old, and I want to be a marathoner. I never in my life thought I could do this, but I want to succeed. I need you to help me succeed.

    119. Oh my gosh! What an amazing opportunity! My Name is Rachel and I live in Arlington, VA. I would absolutely love to be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong program and to be coached by you for my first marathon. I started running 3 years ago when my husband said I could not. So I signed up for the Army 10 miler and off I went. I am a 42 year old mother (13 year old boy and 9 year old girl) and I own an HR consulting business. I ran my first 1/2 last May and then did the Rock N Roll in Vegas this past November. I have such fun running and have made so many new running friends! I have actually been able to encourage (err. peer pressure) my friends into running 10 milers and halfs with me – it such a wonderful girlfriend activity. I also coach my daughter’s Girls On The Run team – all 38 3rd – 5th graderes are a joy to work with, and I love that I get to teach them about running. I have been toying with running a full . . not sure I have 26 miles in me – but 3 years ago I was not sure I had 10 miles in me – so this may be just what I need. I am thrilled at the possibility of working and running with you. Thank you so much for considering me.

    120. Hi Michelle, This sounds like just what I need to give me the kick I need to get me through a marathon. I have been fighting with that little voice that says I’m too old and that it’s too hard to run so far and I think this wonderful program could silence that little voice.

      I have done four half marathons and each one gets a little easier, making me think that a marathon would not be totally impossible. I have done three half marathons and several sprint triathlons with my daughter and I love the experience of reaching our goals together.

      I did not start running until I lost a lot of weight in 2011-2012 and I am 59 years old, so you would certainly have your work cut out for you. I started with C25K in the summer of 2012 and did my first half marathon in April 2013. I already wear Saucony running shoes and would be very proud to represent them in the process of getting to a marathon. I live in central CT.

      I will be following along and rooting for whoever you choose!

    121. Hi Michele, I loved following the runners last year and think this would be an amazing experience to be a part of. I am a 38 year old runner, wife and mother of two, who is striving to run my first marathon. I have run countless 5K & 10K’s and two ½ marathons. Last year, I dedicated my time to running a sub 45:00 at the famed Cow Harbor 10K in Northport. I strictly followed my training plan and finished in under 43 minutes. I then PR’ed at a ½ marathon two weeks later in unfavorably, rainy conditions. I know that marathon training requires determination and dedication. After following your journey to Boston (Congrats, BTW), I know that you would be an amazing trainer and coach to get me prepared for my first marathon. I live on Long Island, and if picked, I look forward to meeting you in person and training together as much as possible.

    122. I ran 7 trail half marathons last year with my husband. He now cant run long distances due to knee pain. My goal was to run a marathon this year. Now without a running partner it seems harder than usual. I am.not fast nor do I “look” like a runner but I never give up. It would be nice to have a goal and a running partner again even if virtual! Please consider me. Thank you.

    123. I ran 7 trail halfs last year with the wonderful company of my husband. His knees arent cut for long distance running anymore so I have lost my running partner. My goal is to run a marathon this year..I am not fast, I dont “look” like a runner but am constantly pushing myself to do more. Hard without a partner. I would LOVE a partner..even if virtual :)

    124. What an incredible opportunity! I feel like I have so much to say about this, but I’ll include the most important parts here. I’ve been a runner my whole life. I ran in middle school, high school, then walked onto my college team when the coach saw me running on the road one day. It was fate and it changed my whole life. I was top 2 on my team helped lead us to nationals twice. I thought my running future was set. After college I’d train harder for half marathons (I ran 5) then I’d set my sights on marathons. Then, gradually my running abilities declined. I couldn’t run far anymore. Doctors couldn’t figure it out after tests and tests and more tests. Then I saw a neurologist and was diagnosed with Dystonia. It’s a rare and incurable disease that’s caused me to slowly lose control of my legs when I run. And although it’s not painful or harmful for me to run, it’s emotional. Every step is a struggle. I went from setting records to walking every 200 feet. I have to walk during every run <– something I never thought I'd say. But that has never ever kept me from believing I can cross a marathon finish line. I can't imagine a better feeling. If there's one thing years of running and collegiate cross country has taught me it's to never stop, never give up, never let yourself down. I would be honored and completely and absolutely thrilled to run my first marathon with you and your guidance.

    125. HI, I would love to be considered for the 26Strong program. I have run multiple 1/2 marathons, my last one being in March in Lexington KY.

      I am a single mom with 2 children, 10 and 5 years old. I began running after my divorce for exercise but only on a treadmill. Since then I have joined a local Moms running group and now I run outside with other moms, but I still run most of my runs on the treadmill.

    126. I was eleven when I began running, but for all the wrong reasons. My sole focus was weight loss due to my poor body image and thus my nutrition or lack thereof, was atrocious. It wasn’t until my middle school gym teacher took me under their wings until I found out what being a runner was really about. I began to complete in races and found success. With that, my entire self-image changed. I began to see myself in a positive light, I nourished my body better, and I ran better, faster, and stronger than I ever had before. My life may have been hectic, but running became my outlet. I competed in cross country in track throughout high school, running races in the off season. At the age of 18, I ran my first half marathon. It was at that point I knew I had to run a full. It was over a year ago at this point that I had registered for my first full, but when the day came to begin training I found out I had mono. I had to withdrawal from the race and put me into a funk. Not being allowed to run made me appreciate how much I am blessed to be able to run. After that set back, I’ve gotten back to it, increased my mileage, and will be running a half marathon May 16th! I am so excited for that race and so excited for the races to come.

    127. Wow…what an incredible opportunity! My name is Hannah and I am a 29-year-old stay-at-home mom to a 2.5 year old girl and 6 month old boy. In college I was an RA and all the RAs in our building decided to run a half marathon together as a bonding experience; that’s how I discovered my love of running. I’ve never been “good” at sports, but I sure could run; not super fast, but super long, and it made me feel alive and oh so proud! I have completed 3 half marathons, the last one being 5 years ago.

      I had rough pregnancies with a lot of health problems, and after having my son last October decided to take control of my health and get back to running. That’s actually how I found your blog; I was looking for information about postpartum running, and particularly running as a nursing mama, and your posts gave me the courage to believe I could do it! I’ve been following your blog ever since. :)

      I started training at the beginning of this year and will complete a half marathon on May 2nd! I am very proud of myself and more in love with running than ever! Running a full marathon is something I have dreamed of doing since my first half. There is not a doubt in my mind I WILL do it someday soon. I’d love for it to be under your coaching and encouragement, with you alongside me. You truly gave me the inspiration to believe I could start training for a half marathon with a 2-month-old baby, even after a long absence from running, and I would be so excited to have you coach me through my first full marathon just a couple weeks before his first birthday! Thank you for considering me and congrats on an amazing run in Boston! P.S. I live in Fort Wayne, IN, so close to Chicago for the race, but not to you for training.

    128. Where to start!? I am a 41 year old mother of 3 (oldest 9 and youngest 3) and I started running in 2011 after I had my 3rd! I had gained a lot of weight, and had always wanted to run the Race For Hope Philadelphia 5k so I thought I would try and “kill two birds with one stone!”. It was near and dear to my heart, since my oldest was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 15 months old. I started lacing up 6 weeks post partum, and after running the 5k I was hooked! I have since run two 10 milers (Broad Street Run) and two half marathons! I have had a bit of a break, as last year I lost my mom suddenly (my BIGGEST supporter) and then had double mastectomies and reconstruction (preventatively)!!! It was a long road to recovery but I am 100% now and getting fit again. I know I have the determination to do this, and it would be amazing to run along side of you and have that support!! I would give it 110%!!!

    129. Hi! I’m Meg! The Mrs., Momma, (Wannabe) Marathoner, and more! I’ve been training on-and-off for the past 8 years in hopes of completing my first marathon before age 30. I completed in Myrtle Beach Mini-marathon (13.1) in October of 2010. I got started training during my husband’s first deployment to Afghanistan just as something to pass the time. Now I’m hooked! He has since retired and now that we aren’t moving or facing deployment constantly, I can focus on my training! I would love the opportunity to train with a seasoned marathoner and really be able to discover my strength in distance. Thank you for considering me for this opportunity!

    130. I am a 34 year old working mother runner. I was never athletic growing up and least of all a runner. My roommate encouraged me to at least try it and well I fell in love with running a few years after graduating college. After running my first half marathon, I was hooked! I may not be fast but I am out there to have fun. Having ran 26 half marathons, I just cannot get the courage up to do a full. I would love to overcome the hurdle and finish my first marathon!

    131. This is great! I would love to do my first 26.2 in Chicago with a veteran who could help me! I’m a mom of 2 boys here on Long Island, and I started up a year ago after a 5 year baby having hiatus. I ran in my twenties for fun, only having done one 5K, but I never had the chance to do any more until last year when I did a few 5 and 10ks. It has always been my dream to run a full. This is my year! I clawed my way to the finish line of the NYC Half in March despite difficulties, and it was one of the best days of my life. I would love to feel the accomplishment of a full! Especially in Chicago, I hear they are one of the best cities for food, and it’s a great course. I work hard, I hit the gym and streets already as part of my daily routine, and I love discovering new outdoor places to switch up the scenery. I don’t mind traveling, and I’m really adaptable. Throw what you got at me! Thank you so much for the consideration!

    132. I found running about a year and a half ago, and the changes it has caused in me both physically and mentally are STUNNING. Even though I will never NOT be tired, I feel so much better after running, it sounds like it would be exhausting, but I know what it is to be exhausted, and that’s not it. I feel exhilarated! I was discharged medically from the Air Force in 2012 because I was diagnosed with narcolepsy with cataplexy; a neurological disorder that isn’t as funny as tv and movies make it out to be. I also have been divorced before. My ex-husband was abusive in every sense of the word and it still causes me pain to look in a mirror, but I’m getting better thanks to running. I have gained self-confidence, pride, self-respect, and bonus, lost weight! I have to admit I have never run a half marathon – ONLY because of the funds needed. However, I run long distances at least once a week, sometimes twice. The longest distance I have ever run straight is 9.5 miles. I am confident that running a marathon by October is completely realistic. I believe this opportunity is once in a life time and I would love if you choose me, because honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to prove to myself that I can do it, and I’m not just a statistic or diagnosis. I want to show my daughter that you never have to settle.

    133. Wow, I’d LOVE the opportunity to train and run with you! I am a 38 and 11/12ths year-old, working, mother of two. I starting running 4 years ago to get a little “me” time. I got fresh air, a bit of time when I didn’t have to answer a single question, and I got to listen to my music…not something that had more ridiculous sound effects than actual instruments!

      With me, big things always start simply. A friend sent me an email with a race link, saying “you can do this”, I ran my first half shortly after that in 2011. It was the first time that I had even considered running a half-marathon. I have since run 7 more, including a trail half, and two within 7 days (I signed up Tuesday for the second race that was held on Sunday. PR’ed on the second one! Is that really a training strategy?!). I will be running another half this weekend, on a whim, and a second in 3 more weeks.

      I have given myself a goal of a “Full by 40” and well, I have 13 months to do so! I had said that my first marathon would be Chicago, and have submitted for the lottery with a running buddy who ran it last year. I am originally from Illinois, and my dad ran it when I was a kid, so it has always been a special race to me. That man had quads and calves of steel, and running shorts in the 80’s sure gave him the venue to show them off! Thank goodness I got his musculature, and not his sense of style.

      Running has brought more to me than I could have ever imagined, it has opened up a world of experience that I only faintly knew existed. I have conquered more than I thought possible, running in sub-zero temperatures and record heat, recovering from an injury, suffered miles alone and with others, and built on successes. I have made some very dear life-long friends, and shown my children an example of determination and taking an active role in your health. I’d love to have the opportunity to train with you, and feel that sometimes life gives you a little nudge. This just might be it.

    134. What an amazing opportunity! I am a 31yo mother of 3 children under the age of six, and I fell back in love with running after the birth of my second child. My goal was to run my first half marathon before we had more children-every mom needs a goal-and I completed it in 2:04 (and was promptly pregnant the next month!). Itching to run again, I signed up for my second half marathon to take place 7 months after giving birth. It was not my most glamorous run, but I did it. I was eager to get back to my old running form, so I signed up for half marathon #3 and #4-having something to train and strive for is the best motivation for me. I ran through this MISERABLE New England winter, opting to run inside for only two of our four blizzards. Half #3 was just over a week ago-sadly I came down with a miserable head cold and had to run through the discomfort, but after training all winter, I was determined to finish. Half #4 in in 3 weeks and I’m hoping to PR at 2:00. Crazy me signed up for half #5 in July. I’m totally hooked and oddly enough, a full marathon now seems achievable to me! Whether or not I fall in love with it as I have the half, I know it’s something I’m eager to push myself to achieve and this sounds like an amazing opportunity to achieve that goal!

    135. I would love to do this! I started training last June for my first marathon (Rt 66 in Tulsa). I caught the flu the week before and couldn’t run. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t run. I’m hoping to do a marathon this year.

    136. I want to start out by saying how much I love that you are doing this. My name is Pamela and I am running my seventh half marathon on Saturday. I am hoping to make the transition to marathoner this year. October 11 would be an amazing day to run because that is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 64. I lost her when I was 25 to a car accident. I am a registered nurse but am currently a stay at home mom of one. I can commit to training and I love Saucony! I live in Cookeville, TN. I adore racing because of all the wonderful people I get to meet. I hope I get to meet you!

    137. Hi Michele! Thanks so much for sharing this opportunity with us all! I am a 27 year old mother and wife in New Hampshire. I have run 5 half marathons and am hoping to complete my 6th half on May 9th. I enjoy the routine and the schedule that goes with training for a race. I am passionate about running and the feeling that it gives me, but also the inspiration that it provides to so many people in my family and in other aspects of my life. My mom just had surgery on her knee so that she could start training to complete a half marathon by her 50th birthday, next Spring! Knowing that my own perseverance and drive has provided the motivation for her to want to cross that finish line, means the world to me (I’m a total people-pleaser). I am a full-time working mother, who has overcome a lot of self-doubt. I know that I can run a half marathon, but I want to prove to myself that I can (and should) feel that sense of gratification (and a lot of pain!) when I finish the marathon. I have heard so many women say “Oh, I could never…” or “I just don’t have time.”. I’ve found it so motivating for myself to show other women and other moms that it IS possible, and if you are dedicated, you CAN do it. Lets run!

    138. Please consider me for the Saucony 26 Strong program! I love this idea! Running is often seen as an individual sport, but the running community really works a team – it encourages, uplifts, and inspires fellow runners to achieve accomplishments they never thought possible. I’d welcome the opportunity to be apart of a program that embodies that spirit. I’m a 33 year old lawyer that lives in Oklahoma City, OK. And I have fallen in love with running as a happy mistake. My boyfriend convinced me to join a running group, and did so begrudgingly. (I more or less consented to be supportive of his running goals.) But running has brought me immense joy, boosted my confidence, and affected my outlook on life in ways I didn’t expect. It’s truly become “my thing” now. I remember smiling like a doofus at the end of my 10 mile training run because I just felt so LUCKY to be out there, really living, getting healthy with new friends, and accomplishing something few people undertake. I want more of that in my life. And I can’t wait to tackle this new challenge. I hope you’ll let me tag along with you.

    139. I’m Jen from Upstate NY. I’ve run 3 half marathons and am almost done with the training for the Buffalo Half which will be my first post baby. A marathon is definitely on my bucket lost and a dream of mine. I almost put in for chicago but wasn’t sure I could do the training without some extra support. I think this program would be perfect for me- having someone to guide me through the training as well as every step of an entire marathon would be amazing!
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    140. I would love to be considered for the Saucony 26 Strong Campaign! I am mid-westerner born and raised who has dug her roots here in NYC. I am a full-time working mom to 2 boys, 5 years old & 21 months old and am living in Queens. I have been running for as long as I can remember but since having kids that struggle to get out the door is real! I have found group running to be a big motivator and am a co-founder of a Facebook group called Mamas Run Queens which is an active moms running group, currently of about 40 Mamas! I love to help other moms motivate to get out the door and run. As for me, my race experience is limited and recent. My first race was the NYRR Queens 10K in June of 2014 and my most recent was the NYCRUNS Queens Half Marathon on April 12th. I can say now, I’m an addict. I never thought I’d even be interested in running a full marathon and I know I’ve even said those words out loud!. But I love the challenge and an opportunity like this is just what I need!

    141. Oh wow! What an experience!! I would love for you to pick me.I am a new runner, training for my first half on 5/10/15 and am doing a training program with the local YMCA. I am dedicated (ask my training partners) and am determined to do this! We are training right now in upwards of 8 + miles on our long runs on the weekend. My daughter and son (ages 2 and 3) would be so proud of me! I am sure there are others so deserving of this opportunity, but I say, let’s keep my training going for Chicago. Please! 😉

      • I am one of Kim’s running partner and I LOVE that she wants to pursue a full marathon in the great city of Chicago. She is quite dedicated and determined. Repeatedly she will continue to run even after our route has ended because her “watch says we have .18 miles still to go” – regardless of my incessant whining. Kim goes the distance…. literally and figuratively.

    142. Hi! I’m Amie. I started running in January 2012. I have completed 6 half marathons in that time. I have battled thyroid issues and female issues for over 10 years. I was training to do a full marathon on my 40th birthday but it did not work out so I ended up just doing the half. I would love to complete my first full in Chicago. I would love to complete my first before my 41st birthday in November. My very first pair of “real” running shoes were Sauconey. I strive to show my daughter (and 4 sons) that it is never too late to go after a goal and complete it. I would love the opportunity to train with you and have your company while completing the Chicago Marathon. It would be a blessing to have the guidance of a veteran marathon runner.

    143. This would be for my daughter. This would be for girl power. This would be to show her that strength and perseverance prevail. This would be to show her that it is possible. My name is Melissa Berrios and I’ve been running consistently for about 3 years now with a variety of races under my belt including 2 half marathons within the last 6 months. I started running/training when I lost everything and was pretty much homeless rebuilding my life just as a way to get to work (using training as a commuting method 20 plus miles daily 5 days a week) and have been running/competing alone ever since. I would love this opportunity to show my daughter there are other woman in the world who have the same passion and what real role models look like. Running a marathon side by side with a strong runner such as yourself to push me to the finish is my DREAM. Running for a company as passionate for running as I am would be an honor. A woman can dream but given this opportunity would show her she can DREAM BIG. Bigger and stronger than ever before.

      Good luck to all the other ladies and thank you and Saucony for giving us the opportunity and the chance to make this dream and 26strong possible!

    144. Hi my name is Jennifer and I caught the running bug after my sister talked me into it a few years ago. It has been a big stress reliever while going through a divorce and the challenges of being a single Mom. I have run a total of 4 half marathons in the last 3 years, 3 of them in 2015. The last one earlier this month was a virtual half marathon so I could run it with my sister, even though we live in different states. A full Marathon is on my bucket list and this would be a wonderful opportunity to have an amazing coach. What a way to stay motivated. Look forward to meeting you in Chicago!

    145. Hey there! I’m Liza and I am 26 years old and live in Savannah, GA. I ran my first half marathon in February at Tybee Island. Prior to beginning my half training in December, I had never run more than a 10k. Now my crazy running friends have convinced me to try a marathon and I would absolutely love to train for Chicago with you! My husband is the Army and is currently overseas so running has become my favorite way to pass the time and meet new friends! I think that training for my first marathon with you would be a great opportunity to do something for “me” while he is away!

    146. This would be a dream of a life time! I am a busy mom of 5 boys whose dream is to complete a marathon. I have done 3 half marathons and have run up to 18 miles but not sure what is holding me back! My third son has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and has had 8 open heart surgeries. He is only 10 and may have to have a heart transplant. His greatest wish is to be able to run and since he doesn’t have the stamina right now, I run for HIM! And it relieves the stress! You are a huge inspiration to me and I would be MOST grateful for this opportunity. I never give up and when I commit to something I give 100 percent!

    147. I am an 8 time half marathoner and a full marathon is a bucket list item. I am nervous about completing one by myself, but think I could do it with someone by my side. I turn 40 this weekend and am a single mom to two beautiful girls, ages 8 and 13. My 13 year old runs track and my 8 year old loves mud runs! Love your blog!

    148. I’d love to do this! I’m 32 and just got into running about 3 years ago. I fell head over heels in love with the sport really quickly. I have numerous 5ks under my belt, a 10k, and a half. I loved the half the best! I had a great friend who helped teach me some things and train with me. Then she ran with me on the day of my half and, despite some struggles, I finished! But now, my friend is moving onto ultras and triathlons. So I’d love some guidance and help in moving up into the world of a marathon! It’s my goal to complete at least one marathon and I’d love to do Chicago’s!! I’m dedicated, I’m determined, and I’m ready to commit to a full!

    149. Good Morning! I would love, love, LOVE to be a part of this program! I’m currently gearing up (or tapering down?) for my 5th half marathon in Oklahoma City this Sunday. After that, I have one more half marathon on the books so I can qualify for the Half Fanatics. I’ve been really interested in running a full marathon… right now I have my eye on OKC next year, but I would love to run one this year. I currently work for our state’s Department of Veterans Affairs and I would love to bring attention to Veteran’s needs and services available to them. I’m hoping that this would provide an excellent platform for a reason to run and a reason to help out. I think you would be an awesome mentor and great coach to help me reach my marathon goals! Thanks!

    150. Hi! This is INCREDIBLE! I want so badly to be a Marathoner. Being a Bostonian, I watch that Marathon every year in awe and jealously and I dont want to just sit around and be envious anymore, I want to live it! I ran my first half in November, after only becoming a “runner” in April. When I started I could barely run 30 seconds. It became such a big part of my life so quickly, and getting the honor to learn from a veteran and partake in such an incredible marathon would be the ultimate check on my bucket list. (Although-you might have to listen to me apologize for holding back your pace the whole time ;). I signed up to run for part of Project Purple (to cure Pancreatic Cancer) and I am determined to fundraise my butt off if I get to run a marathon, so this could be the best example of 2 birds with 1 stone I ever have! Thanks for giving this opportunity (to whoever you choose) because this rocks! Happy Running! (And happy seeing pavement and not anymore snow!! Outside runs never felt so good!)

    151. I am a student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I’ve completed six half-marathons up until now and have toyed with the idea of a full but need that extra push. I’m studying Public Health and Nutrition and want to work in urban nutrition when I graduate, helping to improve access to fresh and healthy food in urban environments. I fell in love with running late in high school. I was never a serious athlete, but after struggling with an eating disorder, running was my therapy. It was my time to run away from anything going on and prove to myself that I was strong, that I could set goals and crush them. Being a college student and juggling clubs, my job, and relationships, running remains as my me time. I would love the opportunity to push myself further, to prove just how much stronger I can be, and to have you by my side. I’ve loved watching your journey (including Boston updates on my laptop when in class whoops 😉 ) and it would be an honor to train and run with you for such a life accomplishment.

    152. hi! My name is Bridget. I’m a 31 year old stay-at-home mom to 3 boys (4, 2, and 7 months). I live in Saratoga Springs, NY.
      Running is my “me time” during the insanity that is a life full of busy boys. I have run a bunch of 5k’s, a rock n roll half when I was 5 weeks pregnant with baby #3, 2 Ragnar relays (adk and cape cod), I have a half marathon relay this Sunday, and am training for my first sprint tri in the beginning of June.
      I never thought I would be able to do a full marathon (and still wonder if I could) but I’m willing to give it my best shot.

    153. Hello,

      I would love the opportunity to train for a full marathon with you! I am a 34 year old mother of 5 year old twins. I work full time but continue to make exercise a priority. Before kids I ran a couple of half marathons (2:01 & 2:02.) and countless 5ks and 10ks. Since having children, I have continued to run but struggle to get my pace back as well as finding time to run the 5/6 days a week that I used to do. My two halfs since kids were 2:08 and 2:30(GI issues) but my pace at all distances has slowed. I’ve always wanted to run a full and now seems like a perfect time to reach that goal as well as motivation to strive for better health and fitness.

    154. My name is Aimee, I’m 47. I’m an RN and I have 4 daughters ages 17,15,10 and 4. I started running about 4 years ago when my husband was relocated to WA state for work. I live in upstate NY in the Hudson Valley between Poughkeepsie and Albany. I’ve run several 5ks, and I ran my first 1/2 last year. I’ve recently had to take a break from running because my oldest daughter was hospitalized for a suicide attempt, and is being treated for depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD. It has been very stressful. I need to get back out there, but have lost my motivation. I did sign up for a 5k at the end of May, and have a few other races in mind to sign up for. I have been considering a marathon for awhile. I had hoped to get in to NYC, but wasn’t chosen. This would be an amazing opportunity for me if chosen. It would help motivate me to get back out there, with some accountability and support. I would love to have my daughters see me cross the finish line of a marathon and inspire them that anything is possible with determination and support. My oldest daughter used to be a runner. I would love to inspire her to get back into running as I know it is so good for physical and mental health.

    155. HI! What an amazing opportunity! I am a wannabe marathon runner (I actually just entered the Chicago marathon lottery last week in the hopes I get in!). I am 31 (almost 32 — Monday!) and I live in Boston. I just had my first baby in August and I kept running throughout my pregnancy, including running a half marathon! I always said I hated running but decided 2 years ago that I wanted to give a half marathon a try. I ran my first half on my 30th birthday in Nashville 2 years ago, just 12 days after the Boston marathon bombing. I was at the finish line and it took a lot of love from my fellow runners to get me out on the course less than 2 weeks later. Since then, I’ve kept running and grown to love the running community even more than I did before! I would love this opportunity!

    156. This would be amazing! I have always wanted to run Chicago. I am a blogger obsessed with running and Chicago! I have run a marathon a number of years ago. I have been training for a bunch of half’s but would love to throw in Chicago as well. Thanks!
      kristen recently posted..Squat ChallengeMy Profile

    157. As I was scrolling through FB updates and saw your post I stopped dead in the tracks to read it. Chicago marathon is my dream. I always said if I were to run a marathon I wanted to do it in Chicago; a fantastic city! I have been a reader for a long time. I am also a mother of 2 young children (2 and 5 mths old). I work full time so running is often my outlet; it keeps me sane. I have never run a full; instead ran 4 half marathons and all of those local (BOSTON area). I live in NH and all of the races i have ran are anything from local 5K’s to half marathons have been in MA or NH. I would LOVE to run with you decked to the nines in Saucony gear! My favorite running shoe! This is like a match made in heaven. Please pick me!! :)

      • I should have also mentioned I am 34 yrs old turning 35 Oct 7th. What better way to celebrate 35 than running in Chicago!

    158. Hiya! I’m Christine and currently live in Brooklyn, NY. I am a relatively new runner who started running in January. Before running I absolutely HATED it, but wanted to love it so so badly. So at the start of the New Year I pulled the trigger and signed up for my first half-marathon with absolutely no mileage under my belt. I didn’t know many people who ran, so I started my own blog to keep my accountable.
      Not sure if I count as I’m running my first half-marathon on May 16th, but I am currently running 9-miles and will hit my first 10-mile run this weekend. I honestly think I would be a great candidate for this because I’m already ready to move on to my next challenge. Training for my half has been both rewarding and terrifying, but it’s a thrill that I want to keep chasing (literally)!
      Before today I never thought I’d be someone who would even want to run a full-marathon, but after reading this and going back and reading about your first Saucony 26 Strong Project I immediately thought “I can do that!” I couldn’t even believe that’s the thought that came into my mind, but it did and once I think it I have to do it.
      Anyway, this is seriously the coolest program that I’ve heard of and I wish the best of luck to you and whoever is chosen! Anyone is lucky to have you as their coach :)
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    159. Hi Michele,

      What an amazing opportunity to run and train along side a woman I admire so much. I was recommended to your blog by a mutual friend (Jen Correa) and have enjoyed reading your postings ever since. So much of what you write resonates with me as a working mother, and I love that you express how it is to have both good days and bad and that you capture the challenges that so many of us face in maintaining a healthy balance of life, work, family and training.

      I started running two years ago as a coping mechanism for a few curve balls that life was throwing in my direction and discovered my passion. On March 30th 2013 I ran my first 5K, in 2014 I completed my first half marathon and this year I set myself the goal of running a half in every state in the US before I turn 50 (I have 10 years so approx 5 States per year).

      I live on Staten Island, have two children (ages 5 and 6) and would love to participate in this program to encourage and empower other women to reach for the skies and follow their dreams.

      I would be honored to be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong program and to inspire other women to achieve their potential. Thank you for taking the time to read my application.

    160. I am a 41 year old Kansas mother of four, ages 20,16,14, & 11. I am a teacher and going through a divorce. I have been using running as a form of therapy. Lol!
      It brings me joy and pain. It allows me to run off the stress, enjoy the stars, sunset, or the wind, unless I’m going against it, head down and bear through it, right?
      I will run my first half marathon in Wichita, Ks next weekend. I plan to sign up for some more this summer. I’d love the challenge and the opportunity to invest more in myself. I’ve always been the mother, wife, & teacher.
      I’m ready to be more now that I’m going through some life challenges.
      Thanks for being so inspiring, as you make me want to grab my shoes and run!

    161. Hey there speedy NYC Running Mama! First off I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS on an awesome race at the Boston Marathon! I follow you regularly on Facebook and was so excited to see you reach and surpass your goals; GPS free! How awesome and freeing :]. My name is Kristin Langston, 25yrs old, and the wife of a Marine Corps Naval Aviator. Having moved already 5 times in the last 3 years of marriage, holding down a steady job hasn’t been something that has come easy for me. Just a few years ago, I picked up the sport of triathlon. It was during my first race, I found my passion for the sport. With that said, I have continued to eat, sleep, and breathe triathlon(literally)! Going back to not holding down a steady job, triathlon has been something that I can do for sense of accomplishment and also a great way to get involved with the local community and meet people who have similar interests. I would be a first-time marathoner, granted I was chosen for this campaign, and deep down have been wanting to train for one, so this would be an incredible opportunity. Having been following you, you are a runner I look up to and would be delighted to train and race by your side!! I am known to be a motivator in sport wherever I go, and love to inspire people and get them involved in a healthy lifestyle too no matter what their background; this would help me reach so many people in that way! Hope to hear from you soon!!

    162. I’m Ashleigh, 31 year old mommy of two, I ran until 2 days before I had my daughter in January. I started back to training 8 weeks post baby and have my eyes on running a full in 2015. I’ve already run one half in March and I have another half this weekend. I push my kids in local races and try to set a healthy example for them. My dream is to become a marathoner. I’d love to run side by side with you in Chicago as it’s on my bucket list for a marathon I’d like to run. #runlikeamother

    163. I have gotten into running this past year, after always being at the end of the pack. Straight out of high school, I joined the Marines Corps. I was never a good runner, and until the past year, I hated having to do it. I completed my first half marathon last year, and have 2 more scheduled for the spring. I am (finally) about to finish college in the spring, and I am the mother of 2 beautiful little ones. I started running seriously to prove to someone else that I can do it, having always come in at the back of the pack on fitness tests. I have kept running to prove to myself, and to show my daughter especially that even though I am small (5’1″) and a girl, I can still be strong. I am looking for a new challenge, and to be pushed out of my comfort zone because I need to know what I am capable of. There have been too many people in my life that have looked at my size and my gender and immediately thought that they could decide what I can and can’t accomplish.

    164. yes!! I’m a very scared wannabe marathoner. I’ve completed 3 halves (another coming up in May.) I would love to complete a marathon before trying to conceive baby #2. I’ve got the time (off in the summers) and could even meet you for runs (if we found a good meeting spot.) I would be honored to run a marathon with you – it would be so nice to have you by my side.

      Good luck to you and everyone else running Chicago!

    165. I just ran my 2nd Half Marathon this weekend! Last year – my goal was to complete a half before I turned 40! My 40th birthday is in July and would love to complete a full marathon for my 40th Birthday! Im a mom of 2 beautiful kids in Staten Island NY – My son was just diagnosed with Autism and I have found running to be my therapy. What started out as a Couch to 5K attempt in the summer of 2013, has turned into a constant set of challenges I set for myself. Whether a 1st Half Marathon, a Challenge/Obstacle Race (High Rock Challenge this weekend!), a Color Run, or a race to honor a 9/11 hero, I seem to get pumped for them all!! Your posts have inspired me and I would love the opportunity to run by your side! I am not fast by any stroke of the imagination…but I am determined. I went from literally not running at all – to running a half! (I did have to walk a little too) but the experience was amazing. I hope to one day fun a full marathon – and I think this is a fantastic way to challenge myself yet again! Thanks for this opportunity!

    166. This kinda awesome!! Me: I’m a stay-at-home mom of 2 beautiful girls from Columbus, Ohio! I’ve ran my fair share of 5k’s, 4 milers, and one 1/2! My second one is in 2 weeks!! If I’m honest, I hate running… but there is no better feeling than that runners high! I want to be the best example for the kiddos and being active and healthy is an amazing start!! I also run for me. It’s the only time I can get away and do me. I would love this opportunity because it’s on my bucket list! I’m a member of a running club that is great and the Columbus chapter MRTT! I love the support and friendship each group has given me…. Because really…non runners don’t understand. They are the muggles to the running world!!

    167. I have always wanted to do a full! I have done 3 halfs. Last one at 01:56! I started running at 30 years old and will be 34 this May. I started running as a way to escape a emotionally abusive marriage. Through running I “Found My Strong” and got the courage to stand up for myself and leave this man. Now I’m in a relationship that is healthy, loving, encouraging and strong. After a break from racing since 2013 ( still averaging 10-15 miles a week) I am so reading to race again. Divorced for over a year and now with new reasons to run, im so excited to train for a marathon! Im healthy and a mother of two girls 11 and 13. I would love for them to see just how strong I can be and encourage them to find their own confidence and strength!! Please consider me!!

    168. Hi Michelle! Congrats to both you and your sister, what an accomplishment! I have absolutely loved keeping up with your blog, and I feel like seeing this post today is so incredibly fitting. As I watched the live stream of the Boston Marathon from my desk on Monday I spent most of the morning dreaming of what it would be like to run that distance. My name is Marguerite and I am a young professional living in Michigan who has totally drunk the running Kool-Aid! I ran my first half-marathon last year and completed my third this past Sunday (with a new PR…had to brag!). I am a Girls on the Run Coach, and have so much fun sharing my passion with young women while teaching them to be happy, healthy, and confident. It has been this experience serving as a role model and mentor for these girls that has led me to think about my own “coaches.” I am fortunate to have a strong support system of some incredible people (specifically women!) here at home, and would love to use this opportunity to give back both to them and my community. I am prepared to work hard and show you and myself I have what it takes to complete 26.2. I would be so incredibly honored to be your “cadet” and participate in the program!

    169. Amazing opportunity! I’m Jenn from Vancouver BC, 38 years old, mother of 2 and I would LOVE to run the Chicago Marathon with you.

      I was forced to take a lot of years off from running due to a mystery injury no one could fix. Last spring an amazing physio came along that corrected a mechanical issue with my foot (which was the only part of me that never felt injured!) and since then I’ve been injury-free. I’m currently running 4-6 days per week, averaging around 25 miles. I’ve run 2 half-marathons in the last 6 months (PR 1:50:48) and am registered for a couple more in the coming months. My goal for this year was going to be dropping my PR to 1:45, but…. on Monday I started poking around online for marathon training programs. Especially after watching the coverage of Boston this week, I’ve been bitten by the bug. Your smiling picture was especially inspiring!

      The real reason I’d love to do this alongside you is so that I can run Chicago and finish strong, with a smile on my face just like you had in Boston this week. And who doesn’t love company for 26.2?! Go Saucony!!! ☺
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    170. I would love, love, love to run with you!!! I have ran 4 half marathons but never a full. I ran the halves after my 30th birthday and I just turned 31. I live in Birmingham , AL and my goal before I turn 32 is a full marathon! I have 2 boys that are very active in sports! I wake up at 5am daily to get my run in. :) I work in wellness and advocacy for health care. I would love to run my first marathon in Chicago with you!!!!

    171. Hi Michelle,
      I would love the opportunity to train for and run the Chicago Marathon with you! I’m a 45 yo mother, wife and ER physician from Wheeling, WV. I complete my first half marathon last year and my third is in a couple weeks. I am also training right now for my first triathlon that is in June. My goal after that was to tackle a marathon, I have just not picked out which one. This would be an awesome opportunity for me. My husband and son run with me but neither has any desire to train for a marathon- I have tried to convince them both, numerous times! I would be dedicated to training and love to share my progress with other marathon newbies! I hope you pick me, but I’m sure whoever you pick will the run of a lifetime!

    172. My name is Kelly. I’m a RN from Atlanta, ga and I’m 31 years old! I just finished my 20th half marathon and would love to do my first full in Chicago, with you and saucony! I have been wanting to do a full but have been putting it off. Im intimidated by the distance but know it would be worth it! Love your blog and congrats on Boston!

    173. What an amazing opportunity for the lucky person that will be picked! I wish I could try, but I’m technically not a “1st Timer” as I finished the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2014. Good luck to everyone!

    174. My name is Kim, I live in buffalo. I have come to find that I love running. I’ve run an official 5k in May 2014 and I’m running my first half marathon on Sunday (yikes!!) with my sister. I run a lot by myself either at the gym or outside weather permitting (got to love these buffalo winters lately). In September 2013 my husband and I found out we were expecting our first. I was nervous about working out so I google search running while pregnant. I stumbled upon your blog and have been following- mostly on facebook- ever since. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would be honored to participate!

    175. I love this program! I can’t enter because I have run three marathons, but I really love the idea behind it! I’d love to see something similar for experienced marathoners that are trying to reach a new goal too. Good luck to everyone! <3
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    176. My name is Kelsey Brown, I am 21 years old and I am married to a United States Marine. I started running in 8th grade thanks to my mentor in order to find a passion that would always keep me motivated. After running for less than a year with her she talked me into training for my first half marathon in Phoenix and we ran it together. Since the. I have been hooked on running. When I entered college I started to have a long distance relationship with my husband. He was in Colorado preparing for the marine corp and I was in New York State studying business. (I graduate in May!). Since my first 1/2 marathon I have ran two more ( one was in order to help my best friend finish her first). I am running one this upcoming weekend as well! Currently my husband is away on his second deployment. Having the ability to run my first marathon is the perfect way to keep my running going while is away protecting myself and our country. :)

    177. Hi Michele, when I heard about the opportunity to be coached to accomplish my first full marathon, I got so excited about really having the support and training necessary to finally do it! I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but the big 2-6 has always been really intimidating, and always “something on my bucket list” that I would eventually build up to… eventually. I’m here in NYC, and running along the Hudson every morning has been an incredible source of stress-relief and happiness, and I’ve more and more been falling in love with running. I’m a race novice – I ran my first half this year with my dad (who turns 60 next month) this year in Princeton, and jumping into his arms at the finish line was a defining moment in my running career. He said it was the best day of his life, and I can’t say I disagree. I was so excited about the race that I immediately entered the lottery for the United NYC half, which I (so luckily) was accepted into and ran. I am so excited about running the Brooklyn half in May with my sister (which I see you’re also running!) and am hoping to go on to run many more. Despite my love of halfs, the marathon itself is a beast I haven’t mustered up the confidence to beat, so the thought of this opportunity alone is incredibly exciting. I hope to be considered – thank you so much!

    178. Wow! What an amazing opportunity!

      I’m 28 years old, and I started running last January. My main motivation for running was my cousin. He suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, so I began to run to raise money for the MDA in his honor. He passed away the day after I signed up for my first half-marathon.

      This running journey has taken me places I never knew I’d go. I was never an athlete as an adult! 5 years of architecture school can kill your physical abilities. But since I started running I have met amazing and inspiring people, I have run a half marathon, two tough mudders and two spartan races. I am now in the middle of training for my second half, and the Spartan beast.

      This whole time I have been following online plans and just kind of “winging it”. It would be incredible to see where I can go by actually doing it right!

    179. Just reading this blog post sends shivers down my spine! I want this opportunity to run with you! I am a 36 yr old mother of two. I teach kindergarten all day and find time to run before school and on weekends. I have lost just over 100 lbs since 2011 and become a half marathoner in the process. Sunday 4/26 will be my #3 half and I have 3 more this year I’d like to run. I shaved off 18min from my first to my 2nd through hard work and determination. I habe learned that I am strong and I do not give up! It is my dream to accomplish the beloved 26.2, can I do it with you? :)

    180. I am so excited to be able to enter this! When I first found out about 26Strong, I knew I wanted to participate! I got into running after my sister, Maggie, passed away from a tragic car accident in 2012. I have ran 2 half marathons (training for my 3rd now!), countless 5k’s, 10k’s and have always dreamed of doing a marathon! Chicago has been a dream of mine, as I live in Illinois! I started Running for Maggie as a way to help me cope with my sister’s death and to raise money for her foundation. In 2013 I trained for my first half marathon and lost over 50 pounds! Running is in my blood. I have followed Hal Higdon’s plans and enjoyed them! I have always looked for someone who could mentor me and this is the opportunity I have been looking for! I am a wife and mother; I work full time; I play coed slow pitch softball two nights a week; I love to work in my yard; I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan! I already share my journey via social media and would love the opportunity to spend my summer training with you for my first marathon! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!!

    181. My name is Julie, and I’m a 30 year old mother of two little boys age 2 and 6. I am a Registered Nurse and very passionate about my job. I have loved running since high school, where I was the only girl on the high school cross-country team. I would love to be considered to mentor under you through the 26Strong program and run my first ever marathon. I have 2 half marathons under my belt, and am training for my 3rd in June, the Gary Bjkorlund half marathon in Duluth, MN. Running makes me feel so good, and helps me be a better mom, wife and co-worker. Completing the Chicago marathon would be a dream come true, and an accomplishment of a lifetime for me. I’ve been told that I could never finish a full marathon, I can prove them wrong with your help!! :-)

      • I forgot to mention that I am from a small town in Wisconsin (Fall Creek) I also love to run in Saucony shoes and gear :-) Please, please, please consider me for this amazing once in a life time opportunity!!

    182. Hello Michele! Wow, what a fun opportunity that I would love to take part in. My name is Kim, and I am a SAHM to 7 young children, ages 10 years old to 5 months old. I have loved reading your blog over the last several years – I was especially inspired when you were able to complete your ironman while still nursing your younger son! I have completed several half-marathons in the past; I predominantly ran with my dad, who died unexpectedly two years ago after a very short battle with kidney cancer. Running without him has not been the same, and I have just recently been ready to start training for my first half-marathon without him. I have been interested in trying a full marathon for a while but haven’t taken the leap yet. I would love to go through this journey with your expertise and, even more so, your positive attitude and your huge smile. And, if you choose someone else, I look forward to reading about that woman’s journey with you!

    183. One of my goals for this year is to complete my first marathon. I have done 11+ half marathons and there is just no stopping me now! Running is my escape as well as my way of accomplishing goals that I never thought I could after overcoming cervical cancer. This would be a dream race for me and such an honor to run with you whom I look up to and admire! Saucony is the only shoe I really wear that keeps my foot pain away. I would love the opportunity to prove to myself that I can overcome my fear of training and running such a long distance. Thank you so much for this opportunity!!!!
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    184. What an amazing opportunity for you to offer to somebody! I’m 23 and am in graduate school to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I started running in high school, stopped, and started again a little over a year ago. I’ll be completing my fourth half marathon on Sunday and I am so stinking excited! I cut off 9 minutes between my 2nd and 3rd ones, and hope to do even better this week. Throughout the year, I’ve been bitten by the marathon bug but just haven’t taken the leap to register just yet – I respect that it’s a huge feat to take on! I’ve already set a goal in my head of running all the world marathon majors some day and want to do a marathon before I’m 25!
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    185. Good Morning Michelle!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this post today. It would be an honor to have you as my coach and to run 26.2 besides you. My name is Lavanya and I am 30 something year old wife and mom to two great boys. My boys are pretty close in age as yours and I can relate to a lot of what you are going through. I am originally from India and settled in the US for the last 14 years. I stay in NJ and work full time. I contacted you a couple of months ago regarding coaching me for my 1st full marathon. I was recovering from some injuries and you wanted me to be consistently running before using a coach. I am back on track now and ran the Washington DC half few weeks ago. I have ran around 8 half’s so far but I am prone to becoming injured because of my lack of knowledge surrounding the techniques, strength and core work. I definitely am lacking in these areas and would love some guidance from mentors like you. I don’t have a big running community around where i stay and I am always on the hunt for people to run with. Being from India, my friends and family are not too supportive of what i do. Me and my husband are from different religions and our parents in India refused to get us married for almost 7 years. It was a teary 8 years and running got me through every single day. The day we got married, me and my husband ran the NJ 1/2 to commemorate our union. Running kept us sane and it is more than exercise now. It is therapeutic and a spiritual experience. I have also applied for Chicago marathon via lottery. I really hope I can join hands with an amazing coach like you to fulfill my dream of running a full marathon.

    186. I am a 34-year-old wife & mother of 3! I was born & raised in Canada to American parents. I was always skinny, but not necessarily healthy. In 2008, I made the decision to get my act together after having 2 beautiful girls! I had worked up to running six miles when in 2009, my dad very shockingly committed suicide. Instead of using exercise to help cope, I just quit entirely and have slowly gained weight since then! I spent the next two years running off & on until 2011 when my husband, kids and I moved to the tiny island of Malta in the Mediterranean! It was there that I started running again and completed two half marathons (2012 & 2013). In May 2013, my amazing mother in law was diagnosed with cancer so we made a sudden decision to return to Canada to spend time with her. We made in back to spend ten days with her before she passed away. Two months later I found out I was pregnant (surprise!!) again! Our adorable baby boy turned one in March. A few months ago I started running after two years off and am doing a half May 3 as well as a Nike Women’s race (15k) in June. Running a full marathon is on my bucket list, but my biggest struggle with running has always been my mind. Having a mentor who (I feel like from reading your blog!) understands the mental struggle would truly be an honor!

    187. Michele! I feel like this post came at such a weird time. Last night, I checked out “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” from the library because watching Boston and reading the recaps made me realize how badly I want a marathon finish line for myself. I am 30 years old and am currently on an unexpectedly lengthier maternity leave from my teaching job due to my seven month old having some very scary breathing issues (surgery, hospitalizations, no fun). He’s on the mend now (I also have a very sassy 2 year old daughter) and I am hoping to run my second half-marathon next month (first time was 2:20). On a good day, I run anywhere from a 9:30-10:30 mile, but NEED help maintaining that pace and pushing through the distance. I want to run a marathon so badly, but I can’t do it by myself- I know that. I wanted to hire a coach through a local program here in Rochester (NY), but we’re a bit strapped for money from our son’s medical needs and I can’t bring myself to spend the money just yet. I’ve dreamed about running a marathon, but am very scared to make the leap without a professional like you that has the knowledge of the training AND could help me through the days of self-doubt. I want this SO bad and will work so hard under your leadership, I promise! (Teachers DO make good students, I swear!) If nothing else, I can promise you that running next to me will at least be fun and you’ll laugh a few times 😉 And hey, I already wear Saucony (what’s up Omni’s, size 10!) so that wouldn’t be an adjustment. I’m sorry if this sounds desperate and is over 250 words, but that’s because I AM desperate and would be honored, ecstatic and ready to totally kick butt as your trainee. I’m ready to check off “marathon” off my bucket list, help meeeee!

    188. While I cannot enter this contest as I just had my first child a week and a half ago, I shared this post as I think it’s a perfect opportunity for two friends of mine and your posts in pregnancy helped me run until I was part way through my 8th month then keep walking until the day before labor. I hope this contest is run again next year!

    189. When I read your blog post this morning, my heart literally jumped into my throat—this opportunity would be a dream come true for me and a literal Godsend right now in my life. My name is Whitney, and I am a 28-year old Industrial Engineer in Atlanta, GA. I work for a global healthcare architecture firm designing and building hospitals, and I absolutely love my job. I am a past collegiate fastpitch softball player at Georgia Tech, and I still hold Georgia Tech and ACC single season and career records for home runs, RBIs, total bases, and putouts—and I am a proud Ramblin Wreck! This race would be an amazing opportunity for me because I am going through a rough time in my life right now—my world has been rocked, and I am getting a divorce that is finalized in May. Running has been my release and my saving grace through this painful time, and it is the one thing I can count on to ease my emotions and free my mind. I have run three half marathons and a handful of 10ks in the past. Currently, I run 3-4 times a week, and it is the ME time in the day that helps me maintain my optimism. To run the Chicago marathon would be amazing, and I truly hope that you pick me. I would love to run by your side, and you would give me the chance to prove to myself that, despite the hardships, I am still and will always be a champion.

    190. First off…kudos to you and YOUR sister. Rock stars! I would love to be a part of this challenge! I’m a 30 something yr old stay at home mom in CT of an almost 4yr old very active boy. I’ve been running for about 6 years now, only 3 of those more seriously. Originally started running to lose weight for my wedding. Signed up for my 1st 1/2 marathon in 2010 and was bit by the running bug. Fast forwarded to today and several 1/2’s later running has become my “me” time. I’ve had my ups and downs being a mom but running is something that remains constant. I think I would be a great candidate for this program because I’m a hard worker but a lot of fun! It’s all about the journey and The experience and I know we’d have a great time. I also think there are a lot of other women who could relate to my story and I’d love sharing it! Thanks!

    191. Goodmorning! I would absolutely love to be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong program and to be mentored through my first marathon by you! I love the idea of the program and have read everything I could about it after seeing it on your blog a while back. I ran my first (technically my second, but the first I trained for) half marathon about a month ago and loved everything about it! It was such a positive experience and I’ve been just waiting for the right time to sign up for a marathon – bring it on, I can do it! I’m from the middle of nowhere PA, graduated from Lehigh University last year, work at a dairy, and love to run, walk, spin, barre. I also enjoy reading, wine, and time with friends. I would love to run my first marathon with you, and the support of this program would be phenomenal! Keep on running and blogging!

      • What an amazing opportunity! I would love to be considered for the 26Strong program! I’m a former Air Force officer, so I used to have to run for work, but ever since leaving active duty, I’ve fallen back in love with it. I’ve ran seven half marathons (two this year so far), but am trying to gear up for a full. I’m a VA transplant in the STL metro, still working among the military, and looking to hit the marathon milestone before I hit 40 (35 now). Thanks for offering up the chance to run with you and Saucony!