As every runner toes the start line, within them resides the story that carried them there. Those stories are made up of moments that culminate in milestones.
The history of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series is made of moments and milestones created by runners just like you. In honor of our 20th anniversary celebration, we invite runners to share their most memorable running moments with us.
This is the story of BJ from Kentucky.
One Race Will Get You Hooked for Life
On September 29, 2012, I married my beautiful wife, Rebecca. We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon. On our second to last day there, we went to the beach and my wife snapped a photo of me shirtless in the ocean. My heart sank. I had grown grossly out of shape and, while I wasn’t obese, I had lost pride in my appearance. I immediately decided I needed to make a change.
After moving into our new home, my wife, at my request, purchased a membership to our local YMCA for me as a Christmas present. One of its luxuries was an indoor track. Every morning, after my weight workout, I would run a few laps around that track to get some cardio in.
One day while running, I met two ladies who, to this day, are two of my closest friends. They would tell me every day, “You’re fast, you should do a 5K!” I thought to myself “Yeah, sure, that’ll be the day.” After running with them a few times, I caved and agreed to do a 5K and told them after the race was over, to never bring it up again. The race was in April 2013 and I finished in just over 26 minutes. That was all it took. I was hooked! As 2013 progressed, I ran more and more 5Ks, getting faster and stronger each time, and I set a goal for myself to run a marathon within a year’s time.
As 2013 drew to a close, I decided it was now or never to register. I began researching marathons in states close to Kentucky. I looked for races specifically on April 26, which is my late mother’s birthday. When I saw the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon (then known as the Country Music Marathon), I knew it was the one.
My mother was a huge country music fan, and to have the chance to run Music City on her birthday seemed like it was meant to be. I spent the next four months training and preparing, running both outdoors and indoors.
Finally, race weekend arrived. When I got to the expo I couldn’t believe the environment, and race day was nerve wracking as I stood in my corral. Finally, we were off. It was exhausting, brutal and a hot day, but it was one of the most satisfying accomplishments of my life. I finished in 4:51:02, a sub-5-hour time for my first marathon, which I was very proud of.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve completed nine marathons (with No. 10 to come in January), 19 half marathons (with No. 20 in January) and countless 5Ks and 10Ks. I’ve made it a goal to do at least one Rock ‘n’ Roll race each year, which I can say has been successfully done since Nashville.
Some day, I do plan to return to Nashville and bring this full circle. The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series is always a class act and very professional from top to bottom. I’m happy I found this race series and pray that I will be able to run them for as long as I’m physically able. Running in general has given me a sense of purpose, belonging and friendships that will last a lifetime.
Every runner has a story. Share your favorite moments or memories from running with Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.