As you know, my friend and fellow marathoner Tim Feeney passed away on December 18th. I had been scheduled to run the Jacksonville Bank half-marathon on Sunday, December 21st. I had thought about not running, but decided this would be a good way to "celebrate" Tim's life. With all the things going on in the days prior to the race, I had not eaten or slept properly. I was concerned that it would be a futile attempt. A group of runners from Orlando were going, so it helped to have the support.
We drove up to Jacksonville on Sunday morning, leaving the Orlando area at 3:30am. We arrived there just before 6:00am, the race start was scheduled for 7:00am. I felt better as the start time came closer. In tribute to Tim, I wore the shirt from the 2006 Disney World Marathon. That was the only marathon Tim and I ran together, it was his first. The weather was nice about 60 degrees at the start. The cannon sounded and we were off. I wasn't sure how I would run the race, something I usually have planned well in advance of the start. I decided to let Tim's spirit guide me. I knew I was being well taken care of.
My splits were good averaging about 8:15 per mile for the first half of the race. It began to warm up in the second half of the race. I remember reaching mile 10 making the turn onto Baymeadows Road. I was starting to tire, but felt a gentle push at my back easing me forward. I knew Tim was with me giving me that extra little push I needed when it got tough. The last 300 yards of the race is on the track at the Bolles School. It is a beautiful synthetic track with spectators around the perimeter as well as in the stands. I wasn't exactly sure of my pace or time at that point, but I put on one final charge into the last turn and down the home stretch. When I saw the clock at the finish, Tim and I had achieved a new PR of 1:51:53.
The photo was taken following the race.
On Monday, we had a memorial service for Tim and said "goodbye".