They Call Me 'Hero'

by Hillary
(Southaven, Mississippi)

Pushing it hard, struggling against my own body, fighting the pain just to keep moving, holding back tears, ready to give up, begging myself not to. My first half-marathon hit me harder than I was able to hit back. My desperate attempt to pick my milage back up from the depths of my Thanksgiving stupor had failed miserably.

I entered into the starting corral with such butterflies that I thought I'd be too weak to run, in spite of the extreme breakfast I had eaten, which was the only thing that went according to plan.

I met a lovely girl at the start of the race. She left me in her dust a mile in when I realized I had been an idiot to ever start running in the first place. So, I was left to listen to the thousands (7000 to be exact) of runners pounding pavement around me and my panicked breathing. Unfortunately, headphones weren't allowed, and I had never run without them.

I fought the urge to walk at all cost. This meant I didn't stop to drink the power aid, I mostly sloshed it on my tongue, my hands, my face, my shirt. I didn't take that bathroom break I'd been dying for since about an hour before the race (not recommended). I didn't walk when the girl tripped over the cone next to me and made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. And I didn't stop when the hundreds of people lined up on the sides of mile 3 with posters of "Thank you for running for my son." and "This girl was our hero, now you are." shouted praises so loudly that I almost broke down in tears.

Did these people know that I was running mostly for me? Did they know I was racing just to accomplish something? Yet every leg of the race it wasn't music that kept me going it was the chant "Hero! Hero! Hero! Hero!" that grew from hill tops to valleys that set one of my feet in front of the other.

Down to three miles left and I fought the tears again. At that moment I realized I was going to do something I had rarely done: finish something difficult. I was about to set a record that would be a strong foundation for me in many years to come.

Entering the last .1 mi the crowds grew stronger, the voices longer, the thankful clapping and encouraging words were a shot of adrenaline to my heart and my legs. "Go! Go! Go! You're right here! You're going to make it! You're a hero! You've got this!"

The stadium was so crowded and loud that I wouldn't have found my family had it not been for the orange shirt I knew my dad was wearing. I collapsed across the finish line with a 2:16 time, legs of noodles, knees that are still sore, chaffing, blisters on every toe, sweat from head to toe, sticky power aid all over me, and tears in my eyes.

Handing me my medal, the lady asked "How do you feel?". Wow. Truly? How did I feel? Like I had just lived a dream. I finally reached level "superhero". Like my dreams were possible. Like my life would forever be stronger, be different, be content. "Dead," I replied with all the smile I had strength to muster.

My family was a brilliant encouragement and as I hugged my mom, I wept. Me? I did this? Yeah! I did! I've surprised them all, I've outdone what they expected. Better still, I outdid myself. And the most glorious of them all, they cheered me on. They called me "hero".

I can't wait to do it again. It's the best drug I'll ever know.

Comments for They Call Me 'Hero'

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 14, 2007
You are a hero
by: Dominique

I loved your story. Congratulations on finishing your race. A great achievement. And thank you for sharing.
Dominique (webmaster)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to YOUR Running Stories.

Like this page:

Share this page:

Like this site:

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!


  • Beginner Running Tips

    Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.

  • Running for Weight Loss

    Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.

  • Running Training

    The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.

  • 5k Running Tips

    The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.

  • 10k Running Tips

    The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!

  • Marathon Running Tips

    The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!

What's New?

  1. Guide on How to Treat Black Toenail | Best Running Tips

    Discover effective and easy ways to treat black toenail. Understand causes, symptoms, prevention methods. Visit now to learn more.

    Read more

  2. Pain in Heel When Running - Common Causes, Treatment and Prevention Strategies

    Have you got some pain in your heel when running? Check out this page to learn about common causes, what to do about your heel pain and when to visit the doctor.

    Read more

  3. Common Running Injuries: Causes and Treatments

    running tips 07
    In this section of Best Running Tips I will tell you about the most common running injuries. Learn about them so you know how to prevent them !

    Read more

  4. Foot and Ankle Strengthening Exercises

    This short article provides a list of foot and ankle strengthening exercises that can improve your foot stability and prevent heel pain when running.

    Read more

  5. First Marathon for Older Runner

    I am 68 years old. I have been a runner for 33 years doing mostly 5 and 10K race with one half marathon. I usually run a 5K in 25-27 minutes and the

    Read more