Participating in the annual half-marathon has provided many joys and challenges.
“One year, Jenn really got ill along the route. Her aunt ran along beside us, and we pushed Jenn through it,” said Elliot. “Jenn didn’t stop once. It’s hard to stop when you know you’re doing it for a cause, especially because it hits so close to home.”
Elliot also remembers the first year when all of their family and friends were there to cheer them on at the finish.
“This year we’re hoping for the same,” she said. “The race itself seems easy. I don’t know if it’s because of the cause or not, but it’s an amazing feeling to run this race. Every year, when I hit about the sixth or seventh mile, I feel like I’m starting over at mile one.”
Elliot, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business and human resources from Wayland Baptist University, said she and Lambert train for the Dana-Farber race and try to participate in as many races as possible throughout the year.
Seeing her mother pass away at the age of 52, a week before her 53rd birthday (Lambert’s mother was 53 when she died), has left Elliot with an intense sense of purpose.
“The hope is that someday nobody will have to suffer the physical and emotional pain our mothers went through, and that we went through as young women in our 20s,” she said. “I know everyone’s life must come to an end, but I never imagined being this young and not having my mother by my side.
“She was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, and my best friend. I lost all of that the day she passed. Even while my mother was going through her treatments, she volunteered her time at the American Cancer Society’s ‘Road to Recovery,’ ensuring that patients who had no ride to their appointments were set up with transportation.”