I did it for Mara: Cathy MacKinnon’s Race Report

May 16,2018

I’m struggling to find the words to recap the excitement and emotion of my #LetMeBeYourLungs race day. We had a beautiful, sunny day in Richmond, Virginia, with race-time temperatures around 72 degrees. I was nervous, excited, and slightly panicked as I approached the starting line; the panic due in no small part to the regret that I hadn’t made one last trip to the porta potty before the race.

Just before my start time, I received a text from Mara’s mom. They were standing in front of the Barnes and Noble along the route. I was also in front of the Barnes and Noble. A quick scan of the crowd, and I spotted Mara and her family. That text coming through at that exact moment and the fact that I found them among 40,000+ people is an example of divine intervention at its best. We were able to steal a brief moment for some quick hugs and a few pre-race pictures.

As I turned to step across the starting line, all my nervousness vanished. At that moment, I felt incredibly proud and humbled I had the honor of running on behalf of Mara.

The following miles were somewhat of a blur. I remember being unusually aware of the air passing in and out of my lungs as I admired the beauty of the tree-lined race route. When I approached the finish line, I once again saw Mara in the sea of people along the route, and she gave me a big high five as I passed.

My time spent with Mara and her family after the race was wonderful. Mara told me stories of her school, her teacher, and her excitement about visiting the aquarium later that day. When we said goodbye, she gave me a big hug and thanked me. But really, I’m the one who should have been thanking her. I’m so fortunate she allowed me to support her in her fight.

Cathy MacKinnon


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