Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon: The Next Chapter

By Laura Edwards

finish line 2We’re approaching the first anniversary of the 2013 Thunder Road Half Marathon, where the story of Taylor’s courage on the race course and in her fight against Batten disease captured the attention of people across the nation. The moment I crossed the finish line of that race blindfolded, I knew the magic of that day could never be repeated.

But I can’t stop running for Taylor, and I’m on a new mission now – a mission to run a race for her in all 50 states to spread this story far and wide. I’ve run around the rim of Oregon’s Crater Lake, where she and my parents found solace during her time in a historic clinical trial in Portland; I’ve run through Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, just a stone’s throw from the village of Blowing Rock where we made a lot of happy memories together and my sister made the best “senior” flower girl ever on my wedding day; I’ve run in Taylor’s purple witch costume in a Great Pumpkin race in South Carolina to commemorate Halloween, her favorite holiday when she could still trick-or-treat. In the next 10 months, I’ll take Taylor’s story from North Dakota’s Red River Valley to Hawaii’s lush gardens.

Playing for OthersFirst, though, comes the 2014 edition of Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon, where I’ll run 13.1 miles for my little sister as she recovers from her second surgery in a difficult year. About the time I reach the four-mile mark of the half marathon, at 8:15 a.m., approximately 30 parents and teens affiliated with an organization called Playing for Others will begin the Thunder Road 5K. The parents will be blindfolded; the teens will be their guides. In completing the 5K blindfolded, they’re honoring Taylor’s story and the fight for a better future for millions of people like her.

I wish I could run my race AND be there to see Playing for Others finish the 5K. But my experience training to become a blind runner and my relationship with my blind sister have taught me that some of the most beautiful things in this world do not have to be seen to be felt.

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5 Comments On “Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon: The Next Chapter

  1. lindaphillips4866 Reply

    Laura, I wish you well with this effort. We have a good friend involved in PFO, too, so I will be thinking of both of you that day. We are doing grandkid duty at Lake Lure that weekend.

    1. Member Laura King Edwards Reply

      Thank you so much, Linda. Playing for Others is a wonderful organization. I’ve been so humbled by their efforts on behalf of Taylor’s Tale! In fact, they’ve inspired me to plan something special for my race. We’ll miss you, but you can read about it on the blog. 🙂 Have a great time at Lake Lure!

  2. Scoggin Jones Reply

    Hi Laura, How do I find the Taylor’s Tale entourage on Saturday? Thanks

    1. Member Laura King Edwards Reply

      Hi Scoggin,
      We do not have an official cheer station this year. I’d recommend going to the finish line or somewhere near the final turn of the 5K/half marathon. The Playing for Others crew should finish the 5K around 8:45-9, and I should finish the half marathon around 9:30. Just look for a sea of purple. 🙂 Thanks so much for your support!
      Laura

    2. Member Laura King Edwards Reply

      Scoggin – I just learned that Playing for Others, the teen organization that made our cheer station come alive at Thunder Road last year, will have a cheer station at mile 13 of the full marathon course (corner of Graham and Stonewall near the Panthers’ stadium). You can go there – they’d love to have you – or the finish line!

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