By Laura Edwards

Amy and Parker MarshOn Sunday, October 30, at 7 a.m., 2,500 athletes will tackle a 1.2-mile swim in the protected waters of Miami, Florida for the first leg of the Ironman 70.3 Miami. At least two of them will hail from my hometown of Charlotte: Amy and Parker Marsh. After their swim, Amy and Parker will ride their bikes 56 miles along quiet, scenic streets. Finally, they will run 13.1 miles through Miami proper.

They will do all 70.3 miles for Taylor’s Tale.

When Amy first told me about their plan months ago, I was floored. After all, I’m in awe of the athletically well-rounded folks who rock triathlon courses. I’m decent at a lot of sports and have legitimate talent for a few, but all of my sports involve the use of my own two feet on dry land. I’m a terrible swimmer (whether or not I make my 2,500-lap goal, I’m still bad!) and haven’t ridden a road bike since I borrowed a haggard one from the bed and breakfast where John and I landed during our visit to remote Ocracoke Island, North Carolina three summers ago – and that was to get to the watering holes with the best beer and fruitiest cocktails on the island’s small harbor.

Even more than my awe for the multi-sport physical challenge ahead of Amy and Parker, though, I’m eternally grateful for their decision to do it for Taylor. Though I know they look forward to the race and will enjoy it on a personal level, they’ve endured countless early-morning lake swims and 60-mile rides and nine-mile runs in the early-morning-but-still-steamy Charlotte air before work in order to get themselves ready, and that hasn’t always been easy or fun. They’ve done two-a-days three to four times a week. Their bodies hurt. But they’re dedicated to seeing this challenge through to the finish line in the city of Miami 57 days from now, and I’m both honored and humbled that they’ve chosen to chase their shared dream of finishing their first Ironman 70.3 race on behalf of children everywhere fighting Batten disease.

Of course, my good friends are also trying to raise a little bit of money for Taylor’s Tale along the way. I’ve already shown my support for Amy and Parker and hope you’ll consider doing the same. Simply visit their Miles to a Miracle page, scroll to the bottom (to the ‘Support My Cause’ section) and enter your donation amount in the space provided. In Amy’s words, anything you can give is appreciated, and no amount is too small to make a difference!

Thank you to Amy and Parker for their selfless determination and to everyone who honors their efforts with a gift to Taylor’s Tale!

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