|It Was More Than Just a Run|
|Written by Tracey Cohen|
|Wednesday, 11 May 2011 14:53|
He lost his wife to breast cancer.
Days later, he lost his job.
Three kids, no family, no cooking skills.
A day in the life of Terry Hitchcock, the man who in 1996, more than a decade after losing his wife, Sue, struggling to make a home for his young children, completed 75 marathons, in as many days, at 57 years of age.
Fast forward, March 31, 2011, nearly 30 members of the Ann Arbor Track Club attended a special screening of My Run, the documentary of Hitchcock’s incredible achievement in his quest to raise awareness for the unending marathon single parent families face on an every day basis.
Though many of our colleagues enjoyed the flick, finding it inspirational and of universal appeal, still more were left confused with unanswered questions.
AATC Treasurer, Terry Reilly, was unclear as to the type of viewers the movie was trying to target.
“It was not a running movie. The guy was not a runner, nor did he run 75 marathons. He walked most of it and did not run the actual marathon distance each day. My perception is that Terry Hitchcock suffered a nervous breakdown and grabbed hold of the idea of a ‘run’ as a life raft to dull the pain from his wife’s death.”
Hitchcock agreed – in part.
“I was not a runner. I would run a few miles on the weekend sometimes, but Terry Fox,” a Canadian amputee who embarked on a run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research, “was my hero.”
“I did break down when I lost my wife and my job in the same week. I went into a deep depression, but that is not why I ran – those days were behind me by then.”
“I was raised by my grandfather who told me, ‘nothing is unattainable.’ This is the fabric of who I am. With no family, I had to figure out how to make things work – and I did.”
“Years after Sue’s death, I came up with the idea to run and raise awareness for single parent families.The Olympics were coming to Atlanta and two of my three children were born there. The initial plan was to run in that direction and see how far I could get.”
“I trained for seventeen months with a trainer who promised to teach me to ‘climb the highest mountain and never give up.’ I averaged 31 miles a day. It was hard, but I made it.”
Hitchcock concurs that his run was “not about running but all the things that you go through in life.”
“My story is about getting through your own daily marathon.”
AATC member, Wally Hayes, does not recollect hearing about Terry’s adventure when it happened, which perhaps is precisely the point.
If a run over two thousand miles from Minnesota to Georgia, did not raise the eyebrows of an entire country, than perhaps, the daily, extraordinary, struggles of single parent families were in dire need of a voice, which Hitchcock personified.
Terry indicated that over the years there has been much criticism regarding his choices of charitable groups to benefit from the proceeds of his book, A Father’s Odyssey: 75 Marathons in 75 Days.
“I searched for organizations to donate the money that I raised, which really helped single parents families and gave them useful information, but back then I just couldn’t find any.
So Terry did the next best thing.
“I chose breast cancer because this is how I lost my wife.”
“I chose diabetes because this disease affects so many children.”
“And I chose Asperger’s Syndrome because I met a man during my run who insisted on giving me a blank check. I told him that the only way that I could take it would be to give him back a portion of the proceeds of the book that I would write. His son had Asperger’s Syndrome.”
Perhaps this lack of prevalent resources explains part of the confusion experienced by many viewers of the documentary.
AATC secretary, Ellen Nitz, explained, “Terry kept talking about bringing attention to single parent families, but it was unclear what he thought we should do about this situation and how we could help.”
Hitchcock articulated, “I wanted to show people that if I could do what I was doing, they could get through their own marathon.”
Over the years, Terry has touched the lives of many and raised numerous dollars for any number of organizations.
“I kept the rights to my book, so that I can change, as needed, who benefits from its proceeds.”
In March 2011, shortly before the release of My Run, through networking channels for its promotion, Hitchcock became associated with Stacie Martin, founder of Single Parent Advocate, ‘a non profit corporation committed to educating, equipping and empowering single parent families with resource information, practical assistance, emotional encouragement and social networking.’
Quick to align, Hitchcock and Martin are working together to create positive change for single parent families.
AATC President, Mitch Garner, says it best, “In accomplishing this feat, Terry Hitchcock gives inspiration to all of us ordinary people that we too can accomplish extraordinary things if we have the will, heart and perseverance. We think of heroes as extraordinary people, but in truth they are just ordinary, but driven to overcome all obstacles and accomplish the extraordinary.”
Whatever your goal, passion or drive, as Hitchcock says, “Get off your butt and do something. Be somebody’s hero.”
For more information on My Run, A Father’s Odyssey: 75 Marathons in 75 Days and Single P
|Last Updated on Saturday, 30 July 2011 16:50|