Running for a Cause

carrie_riddle.jpgRunning a marathon race is no easy task. The preparation alone includes months of strenuous training and discipline. But running a marathon for a great cause makes the task well worth the time and effort.

That's what Carrie Riddle, Maryland, discovered when her dad, Eric Riddle, approached her last May and asked her to participate in the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon with him.  At first, Carrie was hesitant.

"The whole idea of a marathon was very intimidating to me, and the fact that I had never run more than three miles made it all the more daunting," Carrie says. "I was just about to tell my dad that I didn't think I could do it when he told me that we could run as St. Jude Heroes."

Carrie knew this was just the inspiration she needed. Thinking about the kids of St. Jude and knowing she could contribute to helping them was exactly what pushed her to commit to the challenge. Even beyond her involvement in Tri Delta, St. Jude is especially important to her.

"My cousin is a brain cancer survivor thanks to the miracle of St. Jude, so it has always been a cause close to my family's heart," she says.

Having her Tri Delta sisters there to support her made the marathon experience all the more inspiring. Of the 56 people who donated to St. Jude in Carrie's name, 30 were Tri Deltas or their families. And when race day arrived, a dozen of her Tri Delta sisters were there to cheer her on, despite the fact that the marathon had an 8 a.m. start time and took place an hour away from campus on Oct. 31 — the morning after Halloween celebrations.

"When I first saw [my Tri Delta sisters], I was so elated that I screamed at the top of my lungs, burst into tears and stopped to hug each of them," Carrie recalls. "It was a really powerful moment and definitely played a big part in my determination to finish."

The race itself was no walk in the park. Carrie and her dad arrived at 6 a.m. As the start time approached, more than 30,000 participants lined up according to expected finish time and waited for the cue to begin. Once the gun went off, Carrie and her dad, both with an expected finish time of 4:30, had a 10 minute walk before even getting to the start line.

"My nerves were really building at this point, but once we actually started running, I was much more at ease," Carrie says.

Physically, Carrie felt great throughout the race until mile 22 when she began running out of steam and suffering from pain in her feet and legs. However, the support of the crowd and knowing that she had her family and a dozen Tri Delta sisters waiting for her at the finish line gave her the push to keep running and finish strong.

And Carrie did finish strong. In the end she raised $2,331. Her dad raised $2,055 for a combined total of $4,386 - all of which will go towards helping the children of St. Jude.
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