Submitted by Gerri Grady
WASHINGTON – Four members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians competed in the 34th Annual Marine Corps Marathon held recently in Washington, DC. Robin and Stephan Swimmer, Gerri Grady and Chris Reed were among the 21,399 runners who finished the race.
Robin Swimmer and Gerri Grady have been running together and working out together for the last few years. Robin’s husband, Stephan Swimmer, started running with Robin and Gerri after they got married and Chris Reed, Robin’s son, started running with Robin, Gerri and Stephen several months ago.
The four wanted to run a marathon and had talked about the Marine Corps Marathon because Stephan was a Marine. They have run several races each year and back in the spring decided to go for it – to register for the 34th Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
They all registered and began training using the on-line training program that is available through the MCM site. The training program required running shorter runs during the weekdays and longer and longer runs on the weekends. Their running routes included the trail from Saunooke’s to Job Corps and back, Towstring Road from the bridge to the end of Smokemont (and beyond) and back, Round Bottom in Big Cove, the Appalachian Trail, and the Parkway. They also ran 5K races all summer and a couple of 10K races.
“The marathon was exciting and fun,” stated Grady. “The other runners were friendly and everyone was supportive and encouraging. The Marines were great with a well-organized event. We would love to do it again.
She continued, “On a personal level, I never dreamed that I would be able to do this kind of event. I enjoy running but always thought I wouldn’t be able to do more than a 5K. Over the last few months, I’ve really been surprised at my stamina as the miles got longer.” Of those who finished the race, 12,967 were male and 8,432 female.
Stephan Swimmer said, “Glad I had the opportunity to do it. I would do it again.”
Robin Swimmer added, “This is the biggest physical challenge that I have ever had. The first 16 miles were a cool run, but the last 10 miles were the hardest, longest miles that I have ever run.”