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Jeanne B. Kelly, Fargo, Published June 08 2013

Letter: Great people help at marathon

On Friday, May 18, I walked the 2013 5K Marathon. For the purists: When you’re 85 years old, 5K is a marathon!

After about a half-hour, I knew I was in trouble. I saw a lovely family in their front yard and asked if I could use their bathroom. The woman graciously took me into her home to do so. When we came out, the rest of the walkers/

runners had gone by. I trudged on. A high school-age girl in an Upward Bound volunteer vest was just wrapping up her post to leave. She saw me, realized I was still in the “race” and called her friends to join us. Those five beautiful young ladies escorted me the rest of the way.

They commented that they could never walk the 5K. I “lectured” them to never say can’t – you can do whatever you set your mind to do, turn stubbornness into determination, etc. Well, they turned it around on me when I faltered. They encouraged me, “You can do it! Yay, Kelly! Yes, you can!” People along the way cheered this old straggler, too. It really does make a difference. Honestly, I don’t think I would have made it without the Upward Bound ladies, who cheered and applauded me every few steps. “See, mile 1 already. Hey, mile 2, two-thirds of the way. I can see mile 3; you’re almost there. You go, Kelly!” I drew on their energy and positivity!

Then their ride came alongside to pick them up. My son-in-law appeared with an arm to hang onto until the finish line.

Yes, I made it, and most of the credit goes to those wonderful young women. People cluck their tongues and worry about this younger generation, but I don’t. Ladies, you are awesome! I can’t thank you enough.

Kudos to the Upward Bound project for inspiring these young women to volunteer, perform their duties and go the extra mile, literally. Thank you, thank you, thank you!