SF Marathon 2012 - Looking back on 10 years - 08/21/2012

Our tenth anniversary in San Francisco started out much like other race weekends with two days at the marathon expo.  I manned the Team Parkinson booth with Edna Ball and Carol Walton, and our premier sponsor Abbott brought their Wall of Hope and was represented by Katie Derkits,   Shelly Byrum, Michael Jones and Michael Schaffer.  A big part of the Team Parkinson family, John Ball, was absent as he was on the mend at home but we felt his spirit and people that had spoken to us in past years came up to ask about him.  Many people came by the booth to get more information and tell us their stories, and the Wall of Hope was full of signatures by the end of the weekend as well!   It was wonderful seeing all of our team members as they stopped by-- everyone full of excitement for their races the next day!

Saturday evening we hosted 100 of our team members, their families and friends at the team dinner at Castagnola’s.  This has always been one of my favorite parts of race weekend—I love that we can bring people together to meet each other that share common goals, stories and challenges.  Our Abbott sponsors were in attendance and addressed the crowd, and our guest speaker was Dr. Jeremy Nichols from the Parkinson’s Institute, filling in for Dr. Langston who had a family conflict come up and could not attend.  Dr. Nichols spoke about how the researchers at the Institute feel a personal connection to those with PD and their families that inspires them to work late and put in long hours on their research projects.

We honored Gregg Riehl with the award for the top individual fundraiser as of race weekend.  Gregg ran his first full marathon last year, and was prepared to repeat this feat until a knee injury forced him off the turf--- and into the pool!  Gregg swam 1 mile for 26 days to complete his marathon this year!  I must also acknowledge Dan Driscoll and his wonderful family for their incredible efforts as always, and all of the families and individuals who ran, walked, fundraised and cheered for Team Parkinson this year—THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I was honored with a beautiful award from Carol, Edna and John for my ten years with Team Parkinson.  We announced that I am stepping down as the Chair of the San Francisco team—this was a hard decision for me but one that I know is right for both me and the Team.  When I started the SF team ten years ago, it was just myself and a few friends and we took part in the US Half Marathon that first year, and year two as well.  It was so wonderful to have my good friend Dawn Wineinger and her family with us at the Team Dinner this year as she was on that inaugural team with me and has been so supportive throughout the years!  We switched to the SF Marathon in year three—it offered more flexibility with the 5k and full marathon lengths in addition to a half, and a lot more participants and exposure!  Since then, the SF team continues to grow each year as more people discover us.

Obligations at work have really reduced my bandwidth, and Team Parkinson SF really needs someone that can bring it to the next level now—there are so many people in the Bay Area to reach out to and there is huge potential to grow the Team P SF family.   Rest assured it will live on, and continue to grow and prosper!

In honor of the tenth anniversary, I thought it would be a good idea to run the half marathon again, something I had not done for about six years or so!  I chose the second half, and my boyfriend Lee did as well.  We lined up at Spreckels lake in Golden Gate Park in the fog  (perfect running weather- it would remain overcast for my whole race!)  and took off with wave 5.  Shortly after the start I ran into Erin and Tyrone Wells (running in honor of Marty Miller) -- and ran with them a short bit but I am very slow so dropped back after that.  I thought I was ahead of Lee as he didn’t know how much he was going to run, but he must have passed me at some point because he ran past me at a loop section and was off in a flash!  After that I did not see him until he yelled to me and took my photo when I crossed the finish line!   It was great to see Edna and David Ball, Elizabeth Dekle and Diana Shatswell cheering me on from the Team P cheering section in front of Red’s Java house--- gives you that extra burst of energy to sprint through the finish line!  I forgot how painful those last few miles can be, but though I didn’t train as hard as I should have still managed to run most of the 13.1, albeit slowly!

I heard that the 5k went well, and everyone looked like they were having a blast from the incredible photos that David took—thanks so much to David Ball for being our official photographer this year!

I also heard that Carol Walton, Susan Saxonberg and Michael Jones completed their first half marathon race and had a fun time out on the course and the Golden Gate Bridge!

Congratulations to Elizabeth Dekle for completing her first 5k progressive marathon, and for sharing her inspiring journey with us through her blog posts.

There are so many people to thank, not just for this year, but for the past 10, that I can’t possibly name them all, but I must thank Carol, John and Edna for all of your support and inspiration, and my mother Maggie and brother Pete, and of course my father George—for giving me the inspiration to find Team Parkinson in the first place, and for passing on to me your spirit and your planning skills—dad would have loved Team Parkinson and to meet all of you.  

Thanks also to those friends who took a chance with me that very first year in 2003 and agreed to give their time, sweat and spirit to start this all off in SF—Dawn, Heather, Susan, Olivia, Rosemary, Ben and Mary, and Laura—you were the first and we trained together, ached together, laughed together and you inspired me to keep it going!

To longtime team members Kurt Fielder, Frank Markowitz and Kathy Mohr who found us that first year and have been with us from the start in 2003 —we can’t thank you enough for your commitment!

Thanks again to you all, and please save the date—June 16, 2013 for next year’s SF Marathon!

Jen Bugnatto


View photos from SF 2012!