My Run Review

Yesterday, a one night showing of the documentary My Run showed in 500 theaters across the US, including Philadelphia.  I went down to the University 6 Theaters down by the UPenn campus to see what this film was all about.  I had heard of the documentary through one of the running groups I get emails from (although it’s hard for me to go running with them with due to rotations sometimes).  The first 15 minutes were hard to take in.  I can only imagine how Terry Hitchcock felt when his wife calls him home from work in order to tell him she has breastcancer.  I can’t imagine having to tell my kids all under the age of 8-10 and having to try to explain what it is.

I must say, Sue Hitchcock seemed to be a woman who knew what was going to happen.  Writing thank you notes to friends the night before passing, having her youngest son leave the living room before taking her last breaths.  Then, there’s Terry who’s trying to take over the household chores after losing his wife, then his job.  The stories the kids shared of dinners cooked and shopping for clothes and pants for the boys.

Come 1995, Terry’s son suggests he run to California when Terry is trying to figure out how to raise awareness of single parents and the struggle they go through on a regular basis.  Apparently Terry, who had high blood pressure and no prior history of real exercise thought that sounded like an awesome idea.  When Atlanta is announced as host of the Olympics, plans change and the Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Summer Olympics became the destination.  At the age of 57, Terry begins planning his route with a crew of people including his 2 sons, one of his son’s friends, his trainer and some PR people.  His trainer (who lead local running groups) had no idea what he was getting himself into and Terry’s doctors thought he was crazy.  Terry had no idea how people who run 1 marathon feel afterwards (not to mention how he’d feel after running 28-30 miles a day for 75 days straight).  He trained through April, including after being hospitalized for a heart attack and in between consults (how he had time, I have no idea).

Come May, a crew of 6 people plus Terry and his dog Charlie begin  a journey taking them 2000 miles.  The people of Minnesota were incredibly supportive, however, having a crew in an RV for 9 weeks and a car with no AC can certainly take its toll on those helping Terry.

As Terry gets out of MN, the runs begin to take an emotional toll and the support crew begins to fray.  3 weeks in, it’s only Terry, his oldest son (the middle of the 3 kids) and Terry’s trainer.  There were days where Chris (Terry’s son) didn’t know if this journeywould see another day or was getting an earful from a tired, emotional father and was calling friends saying I don’t know what to do.  There were times where local media wasn’t picking up the story as once thought and the small towns Terry was passing through surely factored into that.

At one point, Terry’s feet are in so much pain, he and Chris stop at a local hospital and find he’s got fractures in both lateral malleoli and a patella.  the next day, he develops chest pain which they doctors were unable to link to anything (allowing him to continue his 75 day mega marathon).  There were also times where he passed through East St. Louis and people were appreciative that he cared.  There was the girl (with her parents) that give him a ticket stub of a Twins ticket saying that the kids loved him and were inspired by him.

By the time he got to Atlanta, Terry had run 2000 miles.  He had a crew of people waiting for him at his finish line waiting to cheer him home.  He ran the last mile with Chris who spent 2 months of his life helping his father.  Though there wasn’t as much awareness brought to single parents’ struggles as Terry wanted (in his own words), he did complete what he set out to do.

If anything, get out of this film that life is a marathon and never easy.  There will be bumps in the road, injuries, struggles and low points in addition to the high points.  Take life by the horns and run with it.  Turn life into your own mega marathon

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