Posted: November 16, 2012 11:20 AM
By Liz Janszky
Innocence Network Associate
After an eight-hour bus ride and five hours of sleep, I was less than enthusiastic about running the Richmond Marathon. I woke up exhausted, still fighting a serious cold, and wondering why I had traveled all this way to run 26.2 miles. It was when I started dressing for the race and put on my “Innocence Project” jersey that I clearly remembered my motivation.
I had been scheduled to run the New York City Marathon for the Innocence Project team on November 4th, but due to Hurricane Sandy, it was canceled. My friends and family urged me to run another marathon in the coming weeks because I had “trained so hard” and “put in a lot of time,” but those were not, ultimately, the reasons I decided to run.
I’m an amateur runner and this was my first marathon, so I really had no idea what to expect. The first fifteen miles were enjoyable, but I hit the infamous runner’s wall at mile sixteen. Honestly, I think I might have quit had I not been representing the Innocence Project, an organization I strongly admire and a cause I am passionate about. I kept focusing on the tremendous support I received from my co-workers and from all those who donated to our inaugural Innocence Project team.
When I became especially fatigued, I would look down at my hand where I had written two words that I knew would motivate me: George Allen. George spent almost 30 years in prison for murder and rape, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence. Every time I considered stopping, I thought about George and was humbled by his incredible determination. My marathon was a mere 26.2 miles; George’s was 30 years of fighting for his life.
Many people have asked me whether it was ultimately a letdown running my first marathon in Richmond after having physically and mentally prepared for the NYC Marathon. But my first marathon was not about where I ran, or who was watching me, or what my time was – I will always remember my first marathon as the marathon that I ran for the Innocence Project, and I could not ask for a better memory.
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