I started running as an adult. People run for many reasons: as an outlet for stress, for fitness or just because they still can. If you choose to race, the goal is simple:

  1. finish
  2. do your best, and
  3. celebrate each personal victory

Michelle HanesA victory can be a personal record, standing on the podium with a medal, or simply crossing the finish line. This is particularly true for those of us coming back from an injury or a personal tragedy that sidelined us.

As part of my running journey, I joined a local group of runners. The camaraderie and support I found is unparalleled and motivates me to stay at it, even when life gets hectic and time is short. I am happy to call Northside Running Club in The Woodlands, TX my home. Our coach, Leanne Rosser, always reminds each of us that “comparison is the thief of Joy,” as Theodore Roosevelt once said. Rather than comparing ourselves to each other, supporting each other to run at their own pace and meet their individual goals has been the key to having a network of friends to lean on, particularly when there is only a quarter mile to go.

This fall, I will complete my first marathon. While I hope to run the entire race, my goal is simple – it is to finish. I am running to raise money for Hope for the Warriors, a non-profit veteran service organization that provides assistance to post-9/11 combat wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen. September 11th and the events that followed hold a special place in my heart as my husband and I lived just 4 blocks away from the World Trade Center on that fateful day.  We were new to the area, having just moved there in July to start my residency program in obstetrics and gynecology. We saw the courage of first responders and an entire city that came together united by tragedy. We lived below the barricade line for weeks in a desolate area covered by pulverized dust. People literally ran to the ER of my hospital, leaving their shoes littered up and down Fulton Street. The mantra “Never Forget!” rings true to those of us who were there that day.

I am grateful for those that were called to serve in our armed forces, putting the country’s needs before the needs of themselves and their families. I run to honor their sacrifice and to raise funds for an organization whose mission is to help restore a sense of self, family and hope to service members and their families. It is fitting to me to raise money through a marathon, as running for me is a way to restore my own sense of self, to leave frustrations and sorrows behind, and to find healing and peace.

I encourage anyone who is interested in running to find a group of runners to call a family and to lace up. Remember, you will always be faster than the person sitting on their couch!

Happy Running!

Michelle Hanes, MD

Michelle grew up in Tulsa, OK but was transplanted to New York City for her OB/GYN residency in 2001.  During her first few months in New York, the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11 That experience and the community around her and her husband that drew together helped them fall in love with New York.  She now practices in Texas, but Manhattan will always hold a special place in their hearts. Running has been many things to her: a way to reconnect, to stay focused, to be healthy, and now to give back as a charity runner. She is grateful for the opportunity to race the NYC marathon. To donate to her run, please visit her Fundraising Page.