I left Ohio a week ago to move to Kansas. I’m doing my thing here, looking for the lovely runners. Already I’m starting to find them, confirming my long standing theory that I’ve never met a runner I didn’t like. Here though, I want to look back on the 40 months of running I did in Ohio, but not about me – about the people I met along the way. Oh my gosh so so many amazing, wonderful runners. This is going to be one hell of an Oscars thank you speech, but here goes!

I’m going to start with two groups that pretty much shaped my Ohio running world:

  1. Lauchlin MacGregor and the (Buckeye) Cin City Run Group

I arrived in Mason on a Saturday. On the Wednesday I brazenly went along to join a local running shop’s Marathon training group that i’d found on the internet. They say the universe presents you with the people you need and oh wow, did the universe of Ohio pay up. There, on a bench, almost certainly in orange sunnies was Lauchlin. This guy, with the sweetest, kindest heart, instantly made me laugh – in a way that felt almost British and homely. This may have been American rejection but I liked it and thus pursued my intrusion. He went on to facilitate group running and introductions to runners that and who would change my running life. He escorted me to start line of the Flying Pig Half Marathon 4 weeks after I arrived, talking and laughing the whole way. I think this is the first race I started without feeling sick – he sort of made me forget to feel it. Next, I joined his Market to Market relay team and had what I think is the most fun day of running I’ve ever had. I trained for my second marathon (Columbus ’17) with him and his group. I always felt welcome, I always laughed, I always goofed for his photos and completely got away with it. Lauchlin, if you are reading this, you are one of life’s true good people and I am honoured (with a Brit u) to be able to call you my friend.

I first met you in orange, I last saw you in orange

I first met you in orange, I last saw you in orange

From this start point, I’m also thanking…

  • Kathy Slattery: The word for you is determination. When I first got to Ohio the only time I got to talk to you was when I caught up with you at lights, you were always such a little pocket rocket. Then I got to know you and your story and it makes that all the more impressive.Thank you for your friendship and the most beautiful 47th birthday lunch a girl could ever have.

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  • Michael Lin: I’ve said to many people, I am certain its possible to see¬†good vibes escaping from some people – definitely this guy AND all his family. I first met Michael on that very first Wednesday; a beast of a runner, but humble as pie; kind, encouraging. I got to cheer him many times, always made me proud to know him.
  • David Plouffe: A superb dry sense of humour which suggests to me, deep down this man is a Brit ūüėČ I’ve met him in race corrals many times, the most memorable being the 2019 Hyde Park Blast, where in a non typlcal and quite ungentlemanly way, he shamelessly overtook me, metres before the finish. Plouffe: Its not over!
Battle re-enactment

Battle re-enactment

  • Andrew Wetterer and Sara Fischbach: I think if you run in Cincy, you know these two. Andrew, special thanks for what “I think” is deliberately antagonist literal interpretations of most things I post. I think arguing/discussing (?) things with you burns more calories than running. Sara, for making me laugh with FB posts more than you probably realise and helping me to understand cats.

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  • Mark Robinson and Stacey Long: I knew I loved you two when you happily helped me stage a Breakfast Club movie poster on our first meeting. Keepers! And so happy to have been there in Savannah when you got engaged.
  • Nick Gordon, Cathy Lester, Erin Hogan Jones, Arthur Craig, Lauren Keith, Tony Rice, Helen Peyton, Tammy Riehm, Natalie and Anfernee Arazona, Brad Bowles, Angela DeWine, Mark Davis¬† and everyone I ever met or ran with on CinCity runs, it was a complete and relentless pleasure.

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2.  MRTT (Northern Cincinnati, Ohio, Moms RUN this Town)

There is a beautiful simplicity to MRTT.¬†It’s¬†just female runners communicating on a Facebook page – be it for group runs, races¬† or to ask about blisters and comfy bras. From this simplicity however, comes something pretty magical; friendships, company¬†and soul enhancing connections. Not infrequently will someone completely bare their soul on this page and consistently the runners come virtually running. Unscientifically, and without formal expertise, I will say that in my opinion, if you run, you are aware of how good it is for your soul, its massive. I wish it could be prescribed like a medicine. If that were the case, for me, MRTT was the Ohio pharmacy.

Over my 3 years I have encountered so many runners, received comments and feedback from people, some I have only ever encountered as a name on a screen. I’ve joined group runs and stood in race photos with some of the most inspirational and lovely ladies I could ever hope to come across. Can I just say right here – ALL OF YOU, any like/comment/company you’ve offered has made my Ohio running life better.

I’m thanking in mini, unofficial groups here, mainly to help me remember – oblige me:

  • THE LIBERTY CREW: Kathi, Kandas, Lotte, Alison, Sarah, Rachel, Julie, Diane (although I think you belong in all groups), The Moderates (this title doesn’t do you justice).¬† Thank you for having me out there with you. You’re all so solid, reliable… SERIOUSLY! (in joke). I can’t wait to see the great things you all go on to achieve)
  • THE LADIES of LEBANON: Lovely Hope, (is it possible to say Hope without saying Lovely Hope, Kelly, Lauren, Jamie(s), Andrea, Victoria. Your pictures are always amazing, sometimes I feel I can’t start my day (even now!) if Hope hasn’t posted this group’s photo. It’s joyful, please always do this.
  • THE EAGLE RIDGERS: There are some overlappers in this group – also I didn’t do nearly as much “Eagle Ridging” as I should’ve, but that which I did do most certainly helped get me up Eden Park in the Pig. Tiona (you are uber-human), Sheila (the baubles are staying with me for life, wherever I go.. but girl..¬†always check those¬†brakes are on ;-), Erin, (running beast, you’ve made me laugh so many times. Nicole Debord, (amazing on so many levels, hostess of the most amazing Christmas parties, amazing stamina – goal setter, goal crusher).
  • THE¬†ORIGINAL GANGSTAS:¬† I don’t know the official line up here but some of the people that if feels like made all this ultimately happen and who have always been there:¬† Sarah, Kelly, Hilary, Kirsten, Teresa, Michelle, Heather, Amy, Nicole, Mary Liz, Kirsten and Emily. Thank you for the seeds you planted, watered and grew into the amazing monster this group now is.

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  • STAND OUT MEGA MEGA THANKS to…..LEEANN MUELLER¬†Oh girl, from the day I met you on that track, for all the runs and the non runs, just your friendship. My lovely Alabama girl; for the Breakfast Club monologues (seriously everyone – she’s amazing), the impromptu songs (you can touch my sunrise), the opinions, the lessons in American culture, the cold coke zeros – everything. You brightened so many days for me

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And now finally, a subset of each of the groups above:

The Road Killers

  • Kelly Schoultz:¬†Determination, commitment, passion and the voice of an angel. One day we’ll run together in Boston, in the mean time, Schoultzy, do me a favour – let more of the world hear you sing. Your voice NEEDS to be heard.
  • Carman Johnson: Solid run companionship since my first Ohio long run. You are always such good run company. I hope you recover fully soon and get back to crushing your goals. Thank you so much for so many miles that you helped seem so much more effortless than they were.
  • Richard Ansara (TomTom): Routes, solid to the second, safety always first, music and politics, guitars, pickles and mustard. You are the one that started my crazy Boston journey with the words “what if you qualify for Boston?” – well my friend … what if I did? *we all know how that ended ūüėȬ† But thank you for helping me believe the hype you put under my wings.

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And finally, my RUNWIVES

  • Crystal Lyons: I am going to struggle to find words for you. I owe you so many wonderful memories. The way you bring people together is a gift – to all that get to benefit from it. I’ve cherished your advice, companionship, 5am hood runs, 13 miles in sideways wind, cheering you, being cheered, jumping into your arms at the end of the pig. (I have to stop because of the onions….)
  • Kate Raleigh: My girl Kate, beautiful soul, beautiful girl. I can’t tell you how honoured I felt running with you – every. single. time. My awe of you made me raise my game, your coaching and belief in me gave me wings. You are so strong, so determined. I¬†want¬†you to see yourself the way I do.
  • Quez: I do strongly believe I am in your family and you are in mine. I will never forget the day you rang me and invited me to Christmas dinner with your family and how I warned you not to because I was going to say yes. I can’t do justice to the friend you have been to me and to all my family in this little tribute paragraph AND because of the onions.¬† Ahhh… aaahhhh…ahhhh- afternoon delight!
  • Sally Perea:¬† You radiate kindness and calm. I was in awe of you from the start and you never stop impressing me. Just being by your side¬†would make me up my pace (as you know, mostly completely unnecessarily). Being your friend makes me proud, cheering you made me so happy – the Pig, VOA 5K, the OX – your amazing form and focus is awe-inspiring and I know there’s so much more to come. I’ll be watching. *Omagosh and the cobweb gif ūüôā
  • Julie Gibson:¬† I have one regret in my Ohio life and that was that I didn’t get to know you sooner. You are one of life’s complete delights; funny (PROPER funny),¬† amazingly hard working at ALL things, I know its a cliche and a film – but seriously, I don’t know how you do it – every minute of your life seems to be full and I LOVE IT. Thank you most of all for the day that should have been Boston, which is now the day of my 10K PR, I “almost” never want to beat it because a PR could never be that special again.
  • Danni Mason:¬†Our little butterfly whisperer. Your love of your family, your kids (and insects, plants and rocks etc.) – I can’t tell you how many times this has brought tears to my eyes. By the same token, seeing you laugh – same level of opposite emotion. You laugh like the “spits drink”gif – it’s the best. You have a run strength you’ve yet to believe in, but I know you are surrounded by people who will bring that out in you – let them.
  • Angie Trujillo: Remember that goodness aura I mentioned many hundreds of words ago – well you have it. You’ve slowed my runs by making me laugh (WRECKING BALL!) and sped them up on the days I asked you to. You are a runner who in theory should never be by my side, just leaving me dust to bite. I’m honoured for every mile you gave me and the happiness you brought to them.
  • Laura Palmer: Positivity personified…perfect routes, immaculate timing, no messing, stroller pushing – amazing mother, amazing runner. Thank you for letting me come in and talk to your 8th graders, for helping with my punctuation, for inspiration on what can be fitted into 24 hours and for showing that its possible to smile through it all.
  • Sarah Wheeler:¬† I’ll never forget the first day I ran with you, your kind reassuring words made me believe I could keep up. Your kindness and sweetness¬†are on a whole new level. I also thank you for some of the funniest memes: “I wasn’t expecting to get out of the car.”
  • Stacy Ortiz: Thank you for the most amazing halloween candy cookies and for taking me on that awesome trail run in Caesar’s Creek – another run regret – not doing more of that, not getting to do more miles with you.

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And so, finally, for anyone who has made it through 2000 words of gratitude, I’m summarising here around¬†6000 miles of running, a PB(R) in every race distance, 2 marathons, a BQ (though as of yet no “B”) and some of the most amazing runners a girl could be lucky enough to sweat with.

Ohio, you’ve been amazing.

Jackie Wilson has left the building (stoopid onions).

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*Photo credits on the day of my last Ohio run to Sofia Fuentes: Amazing, thank you x