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Most Important Mile: Maggie Vinciguerra

Maggie's Dad,  8 years ago in Runner magazine. The pic was taken at the USATF championships, right before the guy in back (without the hat) took off and beat my dad in the 200m.
Maggie's Dad, 8 years ago in Runner magazine. The pic was taken at the USATF championships, right before the guy in back (without the hat) took off and beat my dad in the 200m.

Another in our series of Most Important Miles to celebrate the fact that we are so grateful for your stories, our collective miles that send strength and love into the world, the community that brings us together, and the simple ability to run.

My dad and I have run together for  the last 20 years, on and off. He’s the main reason why I started running and at  age 78 he can still run a sub-25 minute 5k and holds international records for several middle distance races. Running with my dad is truly a gift. Our runs almost always involve talking about—and often working out— life’s big stuff: relationships, job stress, family, illness and death.

My most important mile was on December 26, 2014. That afternoon my dad and I set out on a snowy 3-miler together. He’d been to the pulmonologist that morning to talk about some spots that were recently found on his lung. Somehow I just knew what was going down, and as we started out, my dad very calmly told me that it was most likely cancer. We spent that run talking about what would come next:  additional tests, biopsies, surgery and possibly more. He talked about his plans to invest more aggressively in case my mom outlived him and I insisted that a big family vacation would be mandatory if the prognosis was not good. We laughed a little bit, dodged icy patches in the road and I raved about the fabulous cheap running sunglasses I recently picked up at Target.

My dad will have surgery in February. Further testing showed that the cancer is isolated and has not spread beyond his lung. His doctor insists that he can return to running – and competing – after his recovery and that his lungs, minus one lobe, are strong and will adapt.

I suppose I will too.

Swift dad and soon-to-be mother marathoner.
Swift dad and soon-to-be mother marathoner.

(Great) Update: Maggie's dad was on the track with his buds, walking and light jogging,  about 5 days after surgery. He got the all clear at last week’s post-op, no need for chemo or radiation and  this past Saturday he ran a 4 mile St. Patrick’s day race and nabbed 3rd place in his age group, clocking in at 40 pace, by the way. Humbling for him for sure, but this was exactly 4 weeks and a day after his surgery. So, he’s coming back slowly but surely. His plan is to defend his titles at this summer’s National Senior Games in MN, and he and my mom are both going to help me train for my first marathon this October.

What was (or will be) the most important mile? Share it with us! 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 around 400 words. Thank you!

10 responses to “Most Important Mile: Maggie Vinciguerra

  1. So beautiful Maggie. Running with your dad is such a gift. One that both of you deserve. Here’s to many miles ahead!

  2. Maggie, so glad to hear of your dad’s excellent prognosis. Excited for you to take on the 26.2… is it by chance the Twin Cities? My sister and I will be there running it! I will keep you and your dad in my heart.

  3. Congrats to your dad on a successful surgery and prognosis. I was just diagnosed with brain cancer, a type that isn’t usually found in 31 year old women. I cannot wait to run again. I’m so happy you can enjoy many miles with your dad. 🙂 enjoy the season!!!!

  4. So happy for your dad and your family! My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 years ago (also contained to his right lung). He had his entire right lung removed a year and half ago. Although he doesn’t run, he plays golf 3-4 times a week year round. I thank God everyday for more time with him. He has always been a huge supporter of my running.

  5. I love this story! And I love the pic of you and your Dad, Maggie! You can see through his eyes that he is full of life and youthful spirit!

  6. Such great news! I am confident that your father’s commitment to good health throughout his life contributed to his happy outcome. My dad ran when he was younger and we were kids, but I never ran with him (I hated running when I was younger). Wish I had known to tag along. Wishing you both many more happy miles.

  7. I love this post! My dad is the reason I started running and I can certainly relate to years of sharing, planning and just talking about life while running. I truly miss my dad’s Saturday morning phone calls with an enthusiastic “ready to go?” Those running memories are embedded in my heart and I take him with me whenever I run. Wishing you many more miles with your dad 🙂

  8. I’m so happy to hear that your dad is doing well! My dad is my favorite running partner. We’ve spent many miles figuring out my career, my finances, my kids… He ran his first half marathon at age 65, just because he wanted to keep me company (and then he beat me LOL). Here’s to many more years of father daughter running!

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