November 5, 2016 was no ordinary day for Mari Dar-Welch. It was the day she finally achieved her goal of running her first ever half marathon.
Mari crossed 13.1 off her bucket list–and on her 50th birthday to boot!
As a retired gymnasts and outdoor enthusiast, Mari has always led an active lifestyle. Running a half marathon had always been on her bucket list and she attempted take on the challenge in 2015 at Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah, but was forced to put her plans on hold because of an unexpected back surgery that came the same week as race weekend. It was then that she vowed to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah half marathon for the following year.
When the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & 1/2 Marathon rolled back around in 2016 it fell directly on Mari’s 50th birthday.
“The race fell right on my birthday. It seemed like a sign to me. I signed up again.”
With 2016 in full swing, Mari signed up and brought her beau along to participate. Although the twosome had limited running experience, they were determined to enjoy the ride and the experience.
“We designed a shirt of Tired Turtles to denote the speed we would probably complete the race. “
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah 1/2 Marathon turned out to be more than Mari could’ve ever imagined. “My racing bib name was b-day girl and we were very excited! From the starting gun on we had a blast! Everyone along the way was yelling ‘Happy Birthday,’ and at one point in the race, runners 20 yards in front and behind of me sang Happy Birthday. It was a wonderful experience for such a big milestone in my life.”
Mari’s moment didn’t end in Savannah. She and her Tired Turtle twosome went on to recently rock the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon in February 2017.
What’s next for Mari?
“Our goal is to live out loud a fun and fit life. If we improve our running time (and we did in New Orleans) that’s even better, as long as we cross the finish line holding hands.”
After crushing #NOLA, she and Steve just signed up for the half marathon at St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville. She’s also eyeing another anniversary return to Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah and considering kicking her Rock Star attitude up to an international level with Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin. She’s also still busy crossing items off her bucket list, the most recent being cliff diving! She and beau Steve are also thinking of training for a century (100 mile) bike ride, hiking through the Appalachian Trail and a separate hike through the Florida Trail from Pesacola to Key West.
Join Mari and create your moment November 4-5, 2017!
In 2017 we’re celebrating 20 Years Running as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series since it all began. Do you have a story to share as part of our celebration?