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One Shining Moment Can Change Your Life

April 10, 2023

Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Athletes, Boston Marathoners

Kathrine Switzer & Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham with their 2017 Boston Marathon medals in Syracuse

It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, running up Heartbreak Hill, around the 20-mile mark in the historic race.  The sun was shining, my legs were still strong, and there was Boston College, my son’s beloved university, where I visited him numerous times over a four year period, beaming at the top. At the bottom of the hill someone handed me a construction letter “F” and told me to “Get the F Up the Hill!” – a small joke to keep my mind off the long hill and 6.2 miles to go. 

Tracy, Thomas and Scott Higginbotham – Boston College 2013

As I was carrying the letter up the hill, a blind woman with her coach ran on my left and a man with running blades from his knees down and his coach on my right. That moment is a moment in the billions of moments of my lifetime that rises whenever I think of willpower and the human spirit. There I was an able-bodied woman with sight, running between them taking it all in. I thought to myself, “If they can do this, I can finish this race too.”  And with that my human spirit got stronger helping me up that hill.

The last .2 miles of the Boston Marathon brings you along Boylston Street with people yelling and cheering so loudly that if your spirit and legs were going to give out, they couldn’t because they were lifted by the community there to do just that. It is a euphoric moment hearing them. My last push was saying the Hail Mary prayer as I touched my blessed rosary beads around my wrist. The camera caught my half-leaning posture, as if I was the Tower in Pisa, just trying to get across that blue and yellow victory line.

Scott, Tracy and Adam Higginbotham

Under six hours to complete, which was my goal, someone hung the heavy medal around my neck. There it was, the moment – the moment that changed my life –because little did I know becoming a marathoner would ignite the sports spirit instilled in me by my parents who were both Physical Education teachers and coaches. A year later I crossed the pond to run in an all-woman’s marathon with three teammates from 3 different countries and in 2022 dedicated the rest of my life to trying every sport once and bring women along with me for the ride.

Who would have known my one shining moment traversing a colored line 26.2 miles from where I started my run, and meeting the one and only Kathrine Switzer and a team of amazing women, that my life would change for the better. I couldn’t run back, go back, take back running the marathon – only rejoice in the fact I did it proudly and with a team of fearless women who taught me that being undaunted in life is the best thing that can happen to you. Run on sisters, run on.

Team #261Fearless – 2017 Boston Marathon
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