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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson

Running is a Family Affair

Although I started running alone, little by little my family has become involved in one way or another. It’s wonderful to have supportive family members and crazy ones that run races too!


Dan has been my biggest supporter since my very first 5k, and always swore he would never become a runner. But dangle a Christmas booze-to-booze stop run in front of him and well, he caves! His first 5K was "It’s a Wonderful Run," an annual Christmas run where everyone dresses up and the whole town cheers you on from fun, boozy stops in their front yards. He was a great sport, running as the deranged bunny from A Christmas Story. We had a blast and he got his first medal. Next up was a mini race-cation in Virginia Beach where he completed the 8k and got his second medal. In 2019, he did the Marine Corps 10K in a monsoon and yes, he got another medal. Not bad for a non-runner! Just recently he was overheard serving 8k Kool-Aid to a friend. Ha! How times have changed. If you ask him why he does these races, he’ll tell you without hesitation that it’s FOR THE BLING!!


Ever since I was a kid, I’ve called my mom, Hubbard (Mother Hubbard) and she’s a good sport about it. She's never raced with me but has been a proud supporter since the start of my running career. In 2016, I ran the Women’s Half in Niagara Falls and dedicated it to my Mom. It’s a great course and Kathrine Switzer is the big draw. I had both my BFF Trish and my mom’s friend Nancy there. We all got to meet Kathrine Switzer at a dinner she hosted, and got to listen to her amazing story of being the first woman to run the Boston marathon. The day of the race we wore home-made Team Hubbard T-shirts and tutus. We were quite a hit! It was great to finish and see everyone cheering for me, including my mom, watching in tears. Thanks Mom, I love you.


When I was training for the Chicago marathon I went to Alberta to visit my Grandmother (Nana) for her 95th birthday. We have always been very close and she has supported my running career from it’s beginning. Unfortunately, I had a 20 miler to do while I was there. I plotted my course around a small park near her building and the surrounding long, flat prairie roads. Other family members, my brother and his wife, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins and their kids came to cheer me on. 20 miles is not easy as a solo run and I was grateful when my aunt and uncle found me in the wheat fields, brought me water and supported me from their Prairie Cadillac (half ton truck). When I got back to the park they were all there cheering and it pained me to tell everyone I still had 3 miles to go. I mean, it was agony! But they all hung around until I was officially done and were good sports about wearing the bibs I had made with their names and ages on them, even my uncle who was 69 that year. LOL! It was a great way to celebrate Nana’s birthday. When I could safely walk again, we went out for a family dinner and I ate all the food!


What could be better than running a "Diva Half Marathon" where you get a tutu to wear for the run, then tiaras and wine at the end? The buff fake firefighters were certainly a highlight, but the best part was running it with my two nieces, Andie and Sarah. AND it was Andie’s very first half marathon. I was so proud to run with these badass women. We took Nana to packet pick up, posed with the firefighters and took a ton of photos. Race day was so much fun and even though it was hot as hell, we had a blast. The nieces made me laugh the whole time with their goofy antics and were such good sports about all my picture taking. Sarah was light-hearted, kept us motivated and moving. We took the required flip off pic at Kilometer 20 when Andie was definitely ready to be done. We had a fabulous finish with all our family cheering at the end! It was a proud, fun day for me and I will never forget it. Andie swore she would never do another half marathon, but as I write this, she has caught the serious bug and has been running a lot. Sarah just had her second adorable kid and is already back running too. I’m trying to serve some triathlon Kool-Aid to them... stay tuned to see how that goes. They both have long athletic careers ahead of them and I’ll probably be running vicariously through them sooner than later, but for now I‘m staying in the game so we can run together again.


My nephew Jesse shocked me when he texted me and told me he had started running. I was so excited at the prospect of racing together someday. I asked him if he thought he could do a half marathon and he said, “Of course!” I looked around for a fun half in the Toronto area but the timing was never good. I heard about some Syracuse friends doing the oldest race in North America, "Around the Bay" in Hamilton, Ontario. I told Jesse he had the choice between a 5k or 30k race, and together we decided to train for the 30k. I got him a real training plan and promised to check in to see how his training was going. Unfortunately that winter was horrible and as a great dad to two young energetic boys, training had to take a back seat. We decided to do the 5k instead, and what a great decision that was, because the weather that day was yucko. When I showed up with my signs and tutu, he just smiled and said, “Ok Auntie!” He was such a good sport! We watched the 30k runners take off and congratulated ourselves on switching to the 5k. It was a short run but one I’ll always cherish. Auntie loves her J Man!

You may have noticed there's a recurring theme in each of these segments. My family is a family of good sports. It’s either that or they just don't think it's worth arguing with the bossiest person in the family. That's up for you decide! I’m sure they’d all tell you it’s a little bit of both.

Run and done



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