OKLAHOMA CITY– While running a marathon is a tough challenge, two Oklahoma women have become the first in the state to achieve a special milestone. They did it all together, in honor of a little boy.
Carol Parker and Shilpa Abbitt have shared an incredible journey from sea to shining sea.
They know their states well and have now completed a marathon in each.
Abbitt said, “The first word that usually comes out of people is that we’re crazy and I think we realized that because it is kind of like an obsession now.”
However, it is an obsession that was born out of love for Abbitt’s son.
A few years ago, her 3-year-old was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Running became therapy when he was going through radiation and therapy treatments in the hospital.
Abbitt said, “I was able to get up and run every morning and that kept me sane. It helps you de-stress, get your mind clear and tackle the day.”
After watching her friend, Parker had an idea.
Parker said, “I think I’m going to run a marathon for every day he had been in the hospital, going through treatment.”
The first was in Oklahoma City in 2006 and soon evolved to encompass a marathon in every state.
The pair’s 50th run was in Connecticut last month.
While running for Abbitt’s son, they have discovered a lot about themselves on their 1,300 mile trek.
Parker said, “It turns on something inside of you. You have more inner drive; you’re tougher. I can do things now that I couldn’t have done 20 years ago.”
Abbitt says her son’s cancer has been in remission for seven years.
She and Parker have been running for several charities and now they are considering running a marathon on all seven continents.