Running the extra mile
is always better with a friend
by Julie Kuhlman
Megan Earney knew she wanted to meet Anna-Marie Chappell. Chappell was someone Earney had heard about for a while because of her accomplishments in running long distances. In fact, she was the person to beat in the event they were both about to compete in.
So, five minutes before the Kansas City Marathon began for the both of them, Earney took a breath and went up and introduced herself to Chappell. Earney was hoping just to say hi and wish her continued success.
However, the conversation took off and soon they both knew there was a lot to talk about. They realized they had a lot in common, including a mutual friend. One of Earney’s classmates from high school was a former teammate of Chappell when she ran cross country at the University of Missouri. They both decided it would probably be a lot more fun to tackle the marathon if they ran together and talked.
So, they did just that. They ran together and talked for about the first 12 miles.
Chappell went on to win the marathon that day, and Earney finished strong. They exchanged phone numbers and contact information after the event, and are now good friends who will always go the extra mile for each other...literally.
The women talk via email or phone at least once a week and trade stories on training, goals, the events they are competing in, their jobs, husbands and life.
“It’s so nice to have a friend that completely understands running, the goals that keep us going, and how to fit everything in,” Chappell said. “It’s hard to find friends that really get what you are trying to do and why it is so important to you. Distance running is hard. It takes a lot of time and energy. I absolutely love it but not everyone gets the dedication.”
It is especially hard trying to juggle careers, marriages and in Chappell’s case a family.
Chappell is a full-time stay at home mom and is a busy lady. Getting up at 4:30 AM to go run for miles and miles isn’t always easy when she has a four-year old daughter Hailey to always keep track of. Earney also gets up and does the same thing before going to work every day as a middle-school band teacher. Additionally, Earney coaches cross country in the Shawnee Mission School District for the middle school intramurals. While both occupations are different, both are time consuming and at times challenging.
“You can get overwhelmed trying to get all the miles in,” Earney said. “But I always feel so much better mentally and physically after I run. It truly is something that gets in your blood and becomes addictive.”
Chappell shares the same sentiments about running, how it is something that challenges her, inspires her, and makes her a better person.
“I can’t imagine not doing it,” Chappell said. “I’m just trying to do the best I possibly can with it.”
Chappell is currently training for the Olympic Trials in Houston, Texas in January. She qualified for the Trials with a time of 2:45 finish at the marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska. Since she is going to compete in the marathon in St. Louis this year, she opted out of the Kansas City marathon. Earney will be running it though, and is a contender to win it all this year.
The race may be a little less fun though. “I will miss having someone to talk to this year,” Earney said.
They both know they are always cheering each other on though. “Besides our families, we are probably each other’s biggest fans and encouragers,” Earney said.
The Kansas City Marathon was held on October 15, 2011.
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