26Strong Winner

Thank you all for the tremendous response; I am overwhelmed by the number of amazing women who entered the contest for 26Strong. The stories were all inspiring and incredible!

This was NOT an easy job. I started reading the entries as they were coming in but literally could not keep up – they were coming in faster than I was able to read.

To be totally transparent, I knew some of the entrants and had mutual friends/family members/etc with another handful. Some of the ladies I knew either virtually (social media or just knowing names who comment regularly here or on other channels) or in real life. I felt that I was in a tough spot to make an unbiased decision – it would be impossible to not let my emotions and feelings go into choosing the winner. So I decided to ask for some third-party help to make it fair.

From the 200+ entrants, I made an initial list of 23 entrants. I tried to include some local runners (it would be awesome to be able to train in person with my “cadet”), some stay at home and full-time working moms, some full-time working women and a couple of former military/military spouses (near and dear to my heart).

I went through those 23 and cut it down to 17.  I then gave the list to my husband and asked him to eliminate a few. Then we were down to 10.

I sent the list to Competitor and asked for their input. Without knowing any real-life connections, history, etc – I wanted their help in deciding who exemplified Finding Your Strong.

And so we have the winner – Ruth!!


Here is her entry:

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!!

Thank you to everyone who entered – your stories were all amazing and it was so incredibly hard to make a decision.

I would love to share some of your stories here – so you may receive an email from me over the next few weeks! No worries at all if you aren’t up to sharing your story – but I think there are some great ones that would resonate with a lot of readers!

Have a great weekend!

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    15 thoughts on “26Strong Winner

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    3. Congrats Ruth!!! We’ll be cheering for you from Wisconsin! My mom is running her first marathon this fall at the age of 53. She has one beautiful granddaughter and another grandchild on the way :-) She said that I inspired her to run, but I can’t help but think she’s the inspiration. I love that our moms teach us it’s never too late in life to do something you truly love and to keep setting and crushing goals.
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    4. I don’t envy you the decision but looks like you made a good one. Congratulations, Ruth!

    5. Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate and congratulations to Ruth!

    6. I love that you chose an older runner and a grandma! I’m really looking forward to follow along and can’t wait to hear how proud her grandchildren will be when she completes her first marathon. Amazing!

    7. Oh I love that you chose an older runner. I started running at 57 and just completed the Boston Marathon as a qualifier on Monday at age 61. No one is ever too old to start running marathons! Congratulations Ruth and I look forward to following your adventure!
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