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The Most Important Mile of my Life: Emily Gesner

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The picture of mother runner strength and friendship.

Mother runner Emily Gesner, who lives in the Boston area, shares a momentous climb in the latest installment of The Most Important Mile of my Life.

Picture a race where you start off with a blast of a cannon someone telling you, "It's all uphill from here!" The Mount Washington Road Race boasts that there is "Only One Hill," but the joke is on you since the whole race is one giant uphill.

When I signed up for the lottery, I conned my BRF to come with me. As a newly-incarnated mother runner and a woman turning 30, I thought running up a mountain was a pretty good way to celebrate these milestones. I also saw the mountain in a symbolic way. I am a nurse who burnt out by the time I was 28 years old and I have a husband at home who was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at 24 years old. Life has not been easy for me and I knew that this mountain represented the last six years of my life.

The race: I trained for an uphill race by going on the treadmill at a 15 percent incline. I had the whole plan out in my head. I was ready to go. After the first mile, my BRF was suffering, but I was not going to leave her behind. After all, it was because of me that she was here. So I stayed with her, making jokes and walking on and off up the mountain.

The last mile: The finish has a 22 percent incline! As we neared the finish, we ran/walked but the last 500 feet we jogged in to that incline. We held hands and I pushed ahead, almost physically dragging her across the finish line. As I crossed, the last six years of my life washed over me. My husband in the ICU, the patients I had cared for and lost. My son being born. My husband getting better. How I have been left to carry my family just as I had carried my friend across the finish line. I burst in to tears because I realized that I had not only conquered the tallest mountain in the northeast, I had also began to heal from six years of hard times. Even now, almost two years later, that feeling of crossing that line, carrying my friend, is symbolic of why I get up every day and go for more. In my mind, it also solidified my status as a BAMR.

What was (or will be) the most important mile of your life? We want to know.

We’re going to make this an ongoing feature on the website (and potentially include some important miles in our yet-to-be-named third book, out in spring of 2015). Best way to submit is to email us your story with a picture: runmother {at} gmail {dot} com with “Most Important Mile” in the subject line. Please try to keep your mile stories under 300 words. Thank you!

8 responses to “The Most Important Mile of my Life: Emily Gesner

  1. Another inspiring story. So amazing to hear over and over again how running has healed so many lives. This is my favorite set of posts on AMR right now. Thank you for sharing.

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