Written by PA2 Ann Marie Gorden
If finishing a marathon is on your bucket list thinking about the ‘why’ could be what’s standing in the way of crossing it off. Why would anyone want to run 26.2 miles?
Try refocusing your energy on the ‘how’ – ask yourself, “How can I accomplish the incredible feat of running a marathon?”
On a cold Sunday morning, with winds reaching 40 mph on Staten Island, that answer was clear – family.
“Every step I’ve taken has been with Don – I wouldn’t have done it without him,” said Karin McQueen, the president of the Coast Guard Spouses’ Club of Sector New York, when trying to keep warm waiting to head to the start line of the 2014 New York City Marathon.
Karin McQueen and her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Don McQueen along with Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Van Huysen and his wife Casey Van Huysen and Chief Warrant Officer Russell Tippets and his wife Erika Tippets, accomplished the incredible feat of running a marathon with each other’s support.
“Training for the marathon was much easier in a group,” said Casey Van Huysen, who ran her 20-mile run training for the race with the McQueens.
“My parents are the reason why I do it,” said Don McQueen, whose parents were also in town to run the marathon. This was his father’s third marathon in four weeks, finishing the Chicago Marathon and Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. last month.
The key is not relying just on the support from immediate family members.
November is Month of the Military Family in which we honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of servicemembers.
The Coast Guard prides itself on being a family-oriented service. If you talk to any Coast Guard member, their spouse or child you’ll learn quickly that a military family is not just immediate family members.
The Coast Guard has been the foundation to many strong friendships that have survived transfer seasons in hopes to be re-stationed with past colleagues again in the future. We recognize our Coast Guard family as an extension to our own immediate family.
Chief Warrant Officer Amy Cerino’s Coast Guard family brought her back to Sector New York the first week of November from Arlington, Va., to participate in her first New York City Marathon alongside the McQueens.
Cerino has been training for the Dopey Challenge, part of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January. There, Cerino will run 48.6 miles throughout the course of the weekend – 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.
The McQueens and Van Huysens quickly welcomed Chief Petty Officer Noah Bray to their support group at Sector New York after learning he received a bib.
For some, the New York City Marathon was an opportunity to meet new members of the Coast Guard family. Cmdr. Charles Truncale from Air Station Detroit and Petty Officer 1st Class Frank Fisher from Sector Ohio Valley traveled to Staten Island, New York for the event with the comfort of Sector New York’s hospitality.
While waiting together to start the marathon, thinking about the weather and the enormity of the event was overwhelming.
Sunday afternoon, those feelings changed. With the support from each runner’s family that nervousness turned into pride.
“This is an experience I was able to share with my kids too, as they were out on the course cheering me on,” said Karin McQueen. “Hopefully, I’m setting an example of fitness and perseverance for them. There are only so many places where you get these amazing opportunities and being stationed here in New York has been great for my family.”
“Although this race was challenging, it was also very inspiring,” Don McQueen added. “I can’t imagine anywhere else there is the support from the crowd like there is here.”
“Since we had friends, family and our kids in the crowd, it made it even more memorable. It was great sharing the whole experience with Karin. From all the training hours, to the big day. I know she didn’t run this race to prove to others she could do it, she ran it to prove to herself that she could. I am so proud of her,” Don McQueen said.
“This is what an event like this can do, it brings old friends, new friends, and family together,” Karin McQueen said.