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The Voices of the Runners and Guests for Freedom’s Run- Thank You All

October 24, 2014
Mark Cucuzella , Shepherdstown Chronicle

For this week's column I will share a few the voices of visitors to our wonderful town 3 weeks ago for Freedom's Run. Thanks to all who supported this annual event which is growing on the national stage. For some more stories, videos, and blogs go to www.freedomsrun.org.

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I just wanted to tell you what a wonderful time we had. We drove 1900 miles through 8 states to run 13.1 miles and everybody said we were crazy but we'd do again in a second. The weather was perfect and we couldn't have asked for a better organized run. All the volunteers along the route were first rate and took great care of us. We will certainly see you again next year! Jayne Hedrick; Tallahassee, FL

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This was my first half marathon and I loved this race! I originally chose to make this my first half because I had a friend who had run the race before and he really enjoyed it. I also have family in the Shepherdstown area, so I used the race as an excuse to visit them. This was an extremely organized race! There was plenty of parking and lots of porta-potties. The course itself was a nice mixture of flat trails and hills. The historic aspect of the course and the surrounding area enhanced the running experience. Overall, I give this race an A+ and I can't wait to do this race again!

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The marathon was awesome. Running through four national parks and on an old Civil War trail in a forest, alongside a river, was truly a memorable experience. Glad I made the trip from New York. Andrea D., Seaford, New York

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I have run 64 marathons ( all over the USA) and your event was in many ways

the very best! I had almost forgotten that marathons could feel like a "family &

friends" event but Freedom's Run brought that all wonderfully back. Thank you and all your associates very, very much. Tom Henderson; Lowell, Mass

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Ran the altered course last year and had to come back to see if the real course was easier or harder ... It harder. Wonderful organization, beautiful course, great volunteers and a rocking post race party. Loved this years medal more than last years too. Jody ; Ashburn, Va.

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The pre-race volunteer support at the expo was great and the course was outstanding. The Bavarian Inn has the best post-race vista for any marathon which I have run. Remembering those who died at Antietam was inspirational when tacking the rolling hills on the 2nd-half of the course. Mike; Pittsburgh

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I had a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery in Jan 2014. Training for and completing the 5k became a goal for me. This was my first race ever as most of my athletic experience is in basketball, baseball and golf. Ohio runner

The fruit packs were FANTASTIC!!! A beautiful course, I'e ran over 166 marathons and this was the most beautiful by far! GA runner

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We drove from New Hampshire just to run this race, stayed an extra two days after to tour the area, but could have easily stayed a week to take the beauty, history, restaurants, fine shops, etc. all in! We'll just have to come back next year! Joe Snow, Concord, NH

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As I was breezing along, about mile 5 of my half-marathon, I was thinking 'This is going to be my best half yet. I'm a tiger today!' And boom. My right foot begged to differ. A tendon strain knocked me out of PB contention. But I finished the race, much more slowly than I'd hoped, and still had a terrific race. Because I went slowly I finished feeling as if I could have gone round the course again (without the foot pain that is) and got to appreciate the beauty of the course, the gorgeous weather and the encouraging volunteers. So despite the disappointment of not improving on my time, and the worry of an injury, I still had an incredible time. I love the Freedom's Run autumn races and look forward to next year. Suz Thackston, Sharpsburg

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I'm so glad I ran my first half marathon with Freedom's Run. The course was every bit beautiful and scenic as everyone claimed it would be. Thank you for making it a wonderful first experience for me. I will definitely be back next year! Somaly Pal, Frederick, MD

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i ran the half marathon in 2011 then in july of 2012 right in the middle of training i was diagnosed with prostate cancer putting an end to that year i came back this year cancer free so far now i have loftier goals will always have freedoms run on my schedule men take care of yourselves get checked by your doctor it can save your life it did mine thanks. Greg Frost, Crewe VA

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This is my 4th year participating in the Freedom Run. Just love the scenery, how well organized it is and the volunteers that are so encouraging! It's always a great experience. I'll be back again next year for sure! NY Runner

A great race for the state of West Virginia!

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At 68 I was the oldest female in the half marathon and this was a strenuous race for my first half marathon. At mile eleven I was a mental mess, but I was delighted to finish with 2:55 for my time. My daughter Anne who works in D.C. ran her first marathon with this race in 2013. I live in Memphis, TN and came in 2013 to support her. I promised my daughter that I would run with her the following year, but expected to do only a 6k at the most; however, because of some consistent training, I dared to try the half. Less than two years ago, I had colon cancer and had to have a colon resection. From that low point to half marathon is absolutely amazing, and I hope to continue running for health and enjoyment for a long time. The course was incredible. Having run it once will definitely make it easier the second time! Molly Zobell; Memphis, Tennessee

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The very first 5K of my life was the first Freedom's Run in 2009. Since then running has become my hobby/therapy and I love it. Just did the half marathon and was pleased to check that off my bucket list prior to turning 40. Thanks for having such an awesome event right in my backyard! Aaryn Kearneysville, WV

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It was great to be in Shepherdstown again!! Really enjoyed seeing my old roommates/friends!! ;-) Free beer @ the Bavarian was fun too! Will run for beer & t-shirt! Heather; Chambersburg, PA

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This was a big event for me and for my special needs son, Linus. Mark was absolutely key to our success, encouraging me set up a website to raise money for our son's mobility equipment, including the adaptive stroller we pushed during the race. It was a success in every way: fund-raising goal surpassed by 75%, friends came in from VA and DC to help, great sense of community and friendship, and the race inspired me get (back) out to the C&O canal to jog every weekend to prepare. Linus had fun, Team Linus members had fun, supporters ran in the 10K, 5K, Kids Run and the Half Marathon races. We feel motivated to get out and do more events like this thanks to the help from Mark and the Freedom's Run. -Laura Turman

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Of the 8 marathons that I have run this was by far the most difficult course, however I will run it again--the whole experience is remarkable--a class act. Butch Harmon; Magee, MS

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In the dozen or so races I run every year, this is ALWAYS the best, and it's not even close. Thanks to the organizers and volunteers for a wonderful 2014 experience. John Bonbright, Shepherdstown

Always consider the source when a runner describe hills. Rolling hills in West Virginia are not like the rolling hills by my house in Georgia. Rodney Smith; Carrollton,GA

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This race combines a course with world-class beauty and a friendly, home-town community feel. Plus, its convenient location is easy to get to from anywhere in the mid-Atlantic. I'd list this in my top three for prettiest courses I've run (along with Big Sur and the Dipsea race). I'll definitely be back! Daniel B.; CA

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The first year I did the Freedom's Run half marathon it was cold and rainy. When we entered Antietam there was a foggy mist in the air, coming up off the wet earth, swirling low at our heels. Everyone grew quiet and we ran with one another as a reverent, unified group -- feeling the presence among us of those that fought for freedom on this hallowed ground so long ago. Of all the racing I've done over the years, it is one of my favorite race memories, recognizing how lucky I am to have the opportunity to push myself and do races thanks to the men and women that served then and the ones that continue to defend our freedom today. Each year I look forward to the feeling of connectedness to our country's history that I experience when I do the Freedom's Run. Lara, Silver Spring, Maryland

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I posted a Freedom's Run post race blog report @halfcrazedrunner.blogspot.com/2014/10/freedoms-run-half-marathon.html. My name is Elizabeth Candela, and I am a 9/11 widow. I am running in a half marathon in every state to show my children that you keep moving forward, positively. My 1/2 marathons races are also a testimony that they even though they killed my husband, they will not get my children, not in NY, NJ or any of the other 48 states!

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Although this was a difficult course, it was by far my favorite. Excellent scenery, beautiful region and very friendly community. I also loved the medals, it was very thoughtful for someone to hand make. THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE! CT Runner

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I came to run a trail as I love trail running but ended up dealing with hills, puddles, gradients and so much more that I don't get to experience when I train on a flat pancake course in Palm Beach FL. Best decision I ever made to run Freedom's Run Marathon. Thanks. Manish Sheth, Boca Raton, FL

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This was only my 5th marathon. I guess it was a little like the pain of childbirth (I deliver babies) or drinking to much (I have consumed on occasion) where (particularly during the post-Antietam pain) I swore I would never do it again... but less than one week out, I'm already planning my next race and next Freedoms Run. Overall great event, great experience! -Chad, Bethesda, MD

Love volunteering the night before and love running the race on race day. One of my favorite races in my own backyard, literally. Teri Biebel Shepherdstown

This was my first half ever, and it was a perfect race for it! The race was very organized, but still felt "small." Everyone was super nice, and you could tell all the volunteers wanted to be there. The course was challenging, but what's wrong with a challenge? I had no idea what to expect since it was my first, but it was a true joy to run with everyone. It was a beautiful day for a scenic race, and I beat my goal time by 15 minutes! Thanks for a fantastic first Half Marathon! Can't wait for my next!

I selected this race because I run everywhere in Baltimore and needed a change of scenery. Running through Harpers Ferry, Antietam, the C&O Towpath was just what I needed. The weather was perfect and it was a beautiful day to enjoy everything around you including the rolling hills of Antietam! It was a great race to feel alive! Suzanne McDermott - Perry Hall, MD

Last year, my 19 year old son and I ran it together and it was his first marathon. This year, my 23 old daughter and I ran it together and it was her first marathon. Unforgettable memories and very special moments. PA runner

Gorgeous - the beauty makes up for the hills!

Not too crazy or inspiring, but my husband and I just found out that I'm pregnant with our first child (yay!). So I was at nine weeks when I ran and we had fun telling people it was "Baby's 1st Freedom's Run". The first of many, I'm sure :) The Gallaghers; Shepherdstown

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Loved the scenic course and the small size. I have run many marathons and this was by far by favorite. Extremely well organized, local, and FUN!!!!! Aubrey, Pittsburgh

Thanks for your support of the back of the packers! I loved the volunteers, especially the two young people at a right hand turn in the last couple of miles. And the guy with the long grey beard who was at the water stop when we crossed the road towards the end. And the lady whose stop was at the 2 porta potties as we left the battlefields. And the bikers! The medal is AMAZING. I forgot to mention t

he AWESOME volunteer who called my name on the microphone at the finish and let me follow him to the finish. He actually thanked me for coming from Boston to do this race for my WV marathon. Alison Black

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I loved everything about this marathon - the super helpful, encouraging volunteers (who kindly filled my slimy H20 bottle), the humbling course through Antietam, the medals, the after party..I could go on. Thank you for a great experience! Heather Frederiki

 
 
 

 

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