BENEFITING: Girls on the Run - Chicago
ORGANIZER: Girls on the Run - Chicago
On January 23rd, 2013, the world lost an amazing person. Jenny Carter Boyce was taken from us in an unspeakable act of domestic violence just days before her divorce was to be finalized. Now, three and a half years later, I am going to complete an Ironman in her honor.
When I met Jenny, she was small and quiet, kind and unassuming. As she went through life, she found strength in herself that was beyond expectation. When she could no longer rely on her husband, she began to rely on herself. She started participating in endurance sports to push her limits, and push she did. She spent her 30th birthday, with a few thousand people who watched her crush the Ironman Wisconsin. She took something that seems impossible and unimaginable for most, and used it declare her strength and fortitude as a strong modern woman.
A year later, she was in Chicago running the marathon. I was there to cheer her along, and as she was leading yet another 100 day burpee challenge (that I failed to finish), she stopped to do a burpee with me. I wished her luck, and she said it was my turn next year. I laughed and said “sure”, but there was zero intention of actually doing that. The longest I had run was a 5k at that point, and only a couple of those. I never really liked running, but thats because I never had anything to run for.
Four months later I received the call that many of us will never forget. We were devastated; it simply didn't make sense. 2 days before her divorce was to be finalized her estranged husband came to her home in the middle of the night and ended her life. As all of her work, college, and high school friends gathered for her funeral, I think the one thing we all felt along with our deep sadness was a feeling of helplessness. Jenny was 31, with new found personal strength, and her entire life ahead of her, and now she was gone. There was nothing we could do about that.
What we could do was make sure the world new who Jenny was, and what she accomplished. Jenny proved that she could do anything, and in turn, inspired countless others to prove it to themselves. The day of her death, I started my own 100 day Burpee Challenge. I completed it, along with 2 more that year. I also ran my first Chicago marathon. It was during this year that, while running for Jenny, I learned something about myself. I learned that I was good at distance running, and I learned that I could accomplish so much more than I thought. Things that seemed impossible suddenly weren’t. With Jenny as my guide, I no longer had limits.
Before she died, she had planned on being a coach for Girls on the Run. After he death, #teamjenny was formed, and fundraising runs for Girls on the Run were formed. I happily drove up to Madison to participate, and it was there that a plan was formed. While talking with some of Jenny’s friends from endurance house, I mentioned that I was considering doing and Ironman (I did not own a bike a this point). They pointed out that the 2016 Madison Ironman was the same race Jenny completed, on the exact 5th anniversary of hers, and on what would have been her 35th birthday. Done. There was no thinking or contemplating - it was meant to be.
As I’ve trained this year, I’ve been swimming, biking, and running for Jenny, but I’ve also been doing all of these things for myself. With Jenny’s help, I’ve become a stronger and better version of myself. I want to be part of her legacy; she wanted to help others and make the world better. She succeeded with me.
Ironman Wisconsin is looming. I’ve trained, and I’m waiting to do her proud. I now ask that you help me strengthen her legacy, and donate to Girls on the Run. Every dollar donated helps to empower girls through running. Every dollar helps to give the strength Jenny found to a young girl that needs it. Every dollar makes the world a better place.