Why am I holding this super sized check and why am I standing in between Ralph Rubio CEO of Rubio’s Mexican Restaurant chain and one of the hosts of ‘Sports Talk’? If you know me, you know I don’t really like sports and I’ve never really played any of the big 3 sports (i.e. Basketball, Baseball, Football). Yet, here I am on Sports talk with a smile so big it feels as though my face might crack at any moment. Its a crazy story. A friend of the family entered me in the ‘Rubio’s deliver a Dream’ contest last year at this time and I won! I got a phone call to come down to the t.v. studios and there I would be awarded my check. Rubio’s holds this contest every year in conjunction with the Salt Lake Marathon to award an inspirational runner a large sum of money. I have to be honest winning the award as well as completing the marathon was a bit of a fluke. Here’s the real story of how I ended up running my first marathon.
I set a goal of running a half marathon a couple years ago. I ran the Salt Lake half marathon and later the Bryce Canyon half marathon and then the Legacy Parkway half marathon. I halfheartedly decided to run the Salt Lake Marathon last year. I wanted to run a full marathon but honestly I was not sure I could. The legacy Parkway Half Marathon left my stump a bloody mess and I literally dragged myself over the finish line. A reporter from Deseret news took a picture of me that was published with the caption “Tim Hurst grimaces as he crosses the finish line” . I looked terrible and felt worse. I literally was 100% spent when I finished that 1/2 marathon, so the thought of running a full marathon was daunting. I had agreed to run the Salt Lake Marathon and I was training for it but secretly was thinking I might just run the half again. That is until I received a call from my wife Lynette saying her co-worker and friend Jamie Bellessa had nominated me for the Salt Lake Marathon Deliver a Dream Contest. The next thing I knew, I was being interviewed as a finalist on a local television station and committed to run the full marathon in front of everyone in the entire state of Utah. The pressure was on, I had to finish. A couple of days before the race I found out I was the winner of the $5000 award and would be interviewed on sports talk that Sunday after the race. I was so scared. What if I could not finish? How embarrassing.
I had a near panic attack that Friday night before the race and yelled at anyone or anything that got near me. I watched the movie ‘Run Fat Boy Run’ that evening and it really did help to calm me down. I figured if he could do it so could I. The next morning Lynette drove me to the starting line. We then had to figure out what to do with my ‘walking prosthetic leg’ while I was running on my ‘running prosthetic leg’ (I can’t run on my walking leg and I can’t walk on my running leg, get it?) Anyway, the all black gospel choir was at the starting line singing loud enough for Jesus in Heaven to hear them. What a party atmosphere! I never saw so many porta-potties in one place before, and immediately needed to use one.
The first 13 miles miles was pretty uneventful but then at around mile 15 it happened. The thing that all runners dread, I hit the wall and I couldn’t go another step. I had picked up a companion along the way. She was a very nice young lady but for the life of me I can’t seem to recall her name. She told me that she had attempted to run 4 marathons before but quit each one before finishing. This was attempt number 5. I remember turning to her and letting her know that she would have to run the rest of the way without me because I was done.
Just at that moment I looked up and saw Lynette and my Step-Son Brady on the sidewalk a few paces ahead cheering me on. (This next part gets really corny so if you’re squeamish turn away) Instantly the feeling of dread left me! I was a new man. The smile came back to my face and I felt as fresh as I did at the beginning of the race. So, let this be a lesson to all those who don’t go and support their loved ones in marathons. They really need you there so get up off the couch and go cheer them on. There just happened to be a water station at that same point so I stopped and drank a few cups of Powerade (by the way this is my most favorite sports drink in the world so if you guys are listening PLEASE SPONSOR ME) ran into a porta-potty, drank a cup more of Powerade, turned to my running partner and said, “I’ve changed my mind. I’m running this one all the way to the end!”. The rest of the race went by fairly quick and before I knew we were both less than a mile away from the finish line. I sprinted the last leg in (no pun intended) and felt like I had really accomplished something big. My family was there to congratulate me and my anonymous running partnerthanked me for helping her complete her first marathon. It was a great day.