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The Most Important Mile of My Life: Mandy Mitroff

Mandy and her daughters.
Mandy and her daughters.

I started running 15 years ago, when a co-worker was training for a marathon with Team-In-Training. As I listened to her tales of lost toenails and achy calves, the all-too-familiar “well, if she can do it” sentiment spoke to my brain. And so I started running and haven’t stopped since.

It started with 5Ks and then 10Ks. It quickly moved up to half-marathons. And then to full marathons.

I have since run 13 marathons in places like Pocatello, Idaho with its 5-pound bag of potatoes goodie bag. And the Black Hills of South Dakota, where I was among 99 other ladies slowly making our way down a winding highway. And even the beautiful Windy City with its party atmosphere and popular landmarks.

But my most important mile was one I watched.

This past Independence Day holiday, my entire family took part in the Clawson, Mich. Freedom Run activities. A 5K for myself and my husband, and a one-mile fun run for my daughters, ages 10 and 7. We trained for the races as a family, running one- and two-mile courses around our neighborhood. Talk of winning the race was common.

Race evening was humid, but after race numbers were pinned on and water sipped, both girls took their place right up front, toes on the start line, poised to go. And the gun went off.

They raced on a wood-chipped path around the exterior of the city park and as my husband and I headed to the finish line, I kept checking over my shoulder to see if I could find them. The sun peeking through the tree-lined course caught my 10-year-old’s moving silhouette and my heart filled with pride.

My most important mile was watching my 10-year-old daughter run hers, to be the first girl to cross the finish line, without ever a thought that she couldn’t.

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

This is an ongoing feature on the website. 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!

One response to “The Most Important Mile of My Life: Mandy Mitroff

  1. This is beautifully written and quite moving. You’ve shown us how personal athletic achievement can inspire so much more than just the individual. Thanks Mandy!

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