Two weeks from Saturday, I’ll run my favorite race, the Tar Heel 10 Miler, on the streets of Chapel Hill, NC and the gorgeous campus of the University of North Carolina.
I’ll pass mile marker one on the L-shaped road I used to take to UNC basketball games at the “Dean Dome” and soccer practice before they turned our old field into a parking lot.
Around mile marker five, I’ll run past the Forest Theatre, where I got initiated into the co-ed honor fraternity the same night a student proposed to his girlfriend with a candlelit dinner on the stone amphitheater’s grass-carpeted floor.
Near the very end of the race, I’ll climb Laurel Hill, which earned its famous rep due to the fact that it climbs more than 200 vertical feet over about a mile. It’s the most difficult part of the race – so much so that race organizers place separate timing mats at the bottom and top for the simple fact that any runner who notches a killer split on Laurel Hill earns automatic bragging rights.
Laurel Hill isn’t easy, but my playlist, my Asics and my love for my little sister will carry me to the top. And soon after I reach that pinnacle, I’ll cross the finish line.
This will be the third race I’ve run for Taylor since Thanksgiving, but this time, I’ll have additional motivation. In 2010, I ran a slow 1:39 in the Tar Heel 10 Miler. Just two days ago in Charlotte, I ran 10 miles and beat that time by almost 20 minutes. Granted, south Charlotte doesn’t have a Laurel Hill. But I’m almost a sure bet to improve on my 2010 tortoise pace this Saturday, April 9.
To honor my little sister’s valiant fight against Batten disease, I’m pledging $5 for every minute under my 2010 time. I’m also asking friends to give anything they can in support of my run. I’ll post my race result here on Sunday, April 10.
To donate, visit www.taylorstale.com/miles and click on the ‘Donate’ button in the sidebar.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support of all of our angels. Though we have many Laurel Hills ahead of us in the fight to save Taylor, we’ll never stop fighting – or running.