CINCINNATI – For some runners in the Flying Pig Marathon this weekend, the race isn’t about themselves, but their loved ones.
The marathon had become an annual tradition for 29-year-old Katy Young. She died as the result of a tragic fall back in January. Now her mom, Terri Young, and her brother, Cody Young, are running the marathon in her honor.
“We didn’t just want her to register and nothing happen,” Terri Young said. “We wanted to do this in her honor, in her place. So for me it’s like she’s still doing it.”
The family isn’t alone. Runners have been using #belikekaty online in Katy’s memory.
“I’m seeing now how much of an impact on everyone that she was around,” Cody said.
As the mother-son duo prepared for the race, they finished their final long run through Bellevue at Katy’s gravesite. The marathon will be a first for them, but they said they plan to channel Katy’s passion to reach the finish line.
It’s “fun for both of us to come out and run and do our best, and do it in her memory and share some of that passion with her, even though she’s gone,” Cody said.
Friends of 37-year-old Lisa Connelly have also organized a group to run in her honor. She also died unexpectedly last year while training.
“She had the most positive outlook on life, and she could encourage anyone to do anything,” friend Carolyn Gorman said.
Members of Connelly’s running group were inspired when she would speak about wanting to maintain her health for her son, Gorman said.
Now the group is using #lisasmiles – read as either Lisa smiles or Lisa’s miles – to honor their friend’s health mission. They’re also raising money for Kawasaki, a disease that doctors said was tied to Connelly’s death.
“What’s helpful to all of us in coping with the loss is trying to continue to carry Lisa’s legacy forward,” friend Sarah Simon said. “That, for some people, is remaining involved in the MS walk because that was important to her, or helping to bring meals to the family; in this case, helping to raise funds for Kawasaki feels like a way to honor her legacy.”
The group is also bringing along a new runner: Lisa’s sister.
“We will have as much fun as we can on the run, because that’s exactly what Lisa would have done,” Gorman said. “We’ll be thinking of her and we know she will be there thinking of us, too.”