Twelve Reasons to Believe: Ironfriends

By Laura Edwards


The following is third in a 12-post series.

Four years ago, Taylor touched countless hearts with her courageous turn as a member of the Girls on the Run program at her school. Today, that particular story continues to inspire others; last month, it went viral when Gap Inc. and Athleta featured it on their blogs.

Though her spirit remains strong, Taylor is no longer able to run; that’s why I’m more grateful than ever for all those who carry the torch for her today.

My friends, Amy and Parker Marsh, have twice finished Half Ironman races (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13.1-mile run) in my little sister’s honor. To train for the races, they endured countless early-morning lake swims, 60-mile rides and nine-mile runs before work in order to get themselves ready. They did “two-a-days” three to four times a week. And along the way, they raised money for Taylor’s Tale and our fight against Batten disease – about $1,500 in all.

The Marshes aren’t the only ones who’ve raced for Taylor. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to anyone who’s ever donned a swimsuit or running/walking shoes or climbed on a bike in my sister’s name.

You know who you are.

You give me reason to believe.

Ironman 70.3 Miami: Less than 36 Hours to Go!

By Laura Edwards
on the road to Miami

The Marshes’ view earlier today, somewhere in South Carolina

Early this morning in Charlotte, NC, Amy and Parker Marsh loaded their car, racked their bikes and set out for Miami, FL. On Sunday morning, they and 2,500 others will compete in the Ironman 70.3, a grueling test of endurance and will that begins with a 1.2-mile open water swim, followed by a 56-mile bike ride and finally ends with a 13.1-mile run through Miami proper. Though the Marshes have competed in numerous triathlons and half-marathons, this will be their first half Ironman. And they’ll be doing it for children fighting Batten disease.

During the journey to south Florida earlier today, Amy shared her pre-race thoughts with me via a text message:

We are excited that our big race day is finally here but are a bit sad that all of the training and preparation is coming to an end. We are hopeful that the race goes smoothly – no flat tires! 

We have been thinking about Taylor and will continue to think of her throughout our race. Every stroke we swim, pedal we push and step we run will be for her and other children with Batten disease.

In addition to promoting awareness of Batten disease, Amy and Parker have asked friends and family to donate to Taylor’s Tale in honor of their first-ever Ironman 70.3. They’ve already raised $860, meaning they are just $140 away from their $1,000 goal!

I think we can help the Marshes achieve their goal before the race begins on Sunday morning. Please consider giving at least $10 in support of the months and months of hard work Amy and Parker put into getting ready for their big day on behalf of children like Taylor! If just 14 people can spare $10, they’ll make their goal!

Click here to donate now. Thank you for your support, and best of luck to Amy and Parker!


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!