For the Muldowneys, though, a Holiday family get-together took the form of a Philly foot festival.
And, no Holiday gathering could have been more satisfying.
On Saturday, at the expo, we met running friends Felix Shipp, Eric Koehler, Mary Landrigan-Ossar, and Chuck Ziegenfus, face-to-face, for the first time. Felix came up from Mississippi; while Mary came down from Massachusetts. For the past couple of years, we have become like family on a Facebook running community called, "Running For the Health of It." The page was started by personal trainer, now owner of his own fitness center, Troy Leatherbury. The aforementioned Felix Shipp's story of his running journey is featured in my latest book, "Personal Best." www.muldowneyrunning.com.
Our meeting was like a gathering of old friends. Felix exclaimed that "The world is like a golf ball," and he's right. The shrunken cyber world brought us all together. Each of these fine individuals had a terrific race at Philly.
The weather on race day was perfect, and my pre-Thanksgiving family outing was magnificent.
My wife, Crissy, who had never run a race longer than 5 Miles, ran in honor of her mother, who she lost to cancer in August. Her time of 2:16:39 for the half marathon, was terrific. My awesome son-in-law, Mike Silverstrini, ran his personal best marathon time of 4:15:56, and my daughter Kelly also reached a personal best marathon time of 5:23:06. Words cannot describe how proud I am of their efforts. For me, on May 8, 2013, my orthopedic surgeon looked at the MRI of two torn hamstring tendons and proclaimed, "You might be able to run 5K races again." So, to cross the line at 1:53:13 for a half marathon was a post-injury personal best for me as well.
I love the City of Philadelphia, and I have raced more there in 38 years than in any other city.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, not only delivers a pre-race pep talk, but remains at the finish line, "high fiving" runners as they complete their races..
Pennsylvania's Governor-Elect, Tom Wolf was there as well. His daughter ran the marathon.
The enthusiastic spectators, the legion of volunteers, and the support of city leaders make the Philadelphia Marathon one of America's premiere marathon events.
I enjoyed spending the weekend there with my extended running family.
Joe, Felix, Eric, Chuck, and Mary