by Christine Ford

I started running in early 2011 for myself. My life had become pretty stagnant after an unconscionable series of events took place with a bad neighbor where we were living in Peralta. My husband and I were pretty much forced to move just to keep our sanity. I ended up selling my horses so that we could move back to Albuquerque, be happy again, and be closer to work. I slipped into a bit of a depression. I had always been active with my horses and my immense love for animals made it impossible to understand why our neighbor did what he did.

So, I joined a small personal training business down from our new house and started feeling better with the exercise. This led me down the path to wanting to run. I started entering some 5k races. I was amazed at the camaraderie, friendliness, and encouraging words by so many of the unknown runners. It reminded me of my days showing horses, and being around people who were passionate about what they love to do. My 5k races turned into 10k and eventually half marathons.

I started running for myself. That changed when my youngest nephew was on his first deployment to Afghanistan as a young Marine. I found myself thinking about him when I was feeling tired, wanting to stop because my legs just couldn’t turn over any more. My motivation changed, I started running for Jon. He would give me the inspiration I needed to keep going. I thought about him, fighting for our Country, not having the choice to just stop and quit. The thought of him enduring horrible conditions, life threatening events, gave me the strength to dig in and push through. He gave me STRENGTH. I wear a bracelet with that powerful word on it, to remind me when I need it most. Jon helped me stick with running, I’ve told him that, I just don’t think he realizes it. He served two tours in Afghanistan and we are lucky to have him back safe and in one piece.

I have now run for several people. I ran my first half marathon for Valerie, a high school classmate and teammate who I had the pleasure of reconnecting with, just eight short months before she died of cancer. She gave me strength by dealing with her illness with such grace, love and courage. She was amazingly strong. Now, I have another dear friend, Sally, who has always been active and on the go. She has climbed Kilimanjaro, hiked the Grand Canyon, and completed so many incredible journeys. She is now dealing with a rare form of cancer. I run for her now and support her with a special bracelet.

There will always be someone new to run for; there is plenty of room for them. I grow and learn from each person I think about. I become stronger. I do still run for myself, but my inspiration comes from many. Running brings me peace, friendship, nature and health. Strength is a powerful word and can help you achieve amazing things.