I've been running since high school, when the Miss Porter's cross country team began to make a name for themselves and moved away from the generalizations of an all-girls' team. Our coach, Asha, penned us the name "Green Machine" for our ability to plow through the crowd and make last-minute dashes and passes to the finish line. Every member of the team felt the exhilaration of beginning a race, our hearts pounding furiously and our spindly legs shivering out in the middle of a New England field. We were literally unstoppable.
After Porter's, I continued to run. Running served as a constant and dependable outlet in the midst of an ever-changing life; college, boyfriends, break-ups, apartments, jobs, no job...running was with me through it all. Even after adopting my dog Oregon, I was determined to make her a runner like myself, so that we could share in the temporary bliss together.
As Hayley would know and was a humble torch-bearer of it herself, Miss Porter's girls have an innate "Can Do" mentality. They are not necessarily super-human, but no amount of nervousness or jitters gets in the way of a Fighting Daisy. She is graceful, yet strong. Supportive of her teammates, yet fierce on the field.
With the desire to rediscover these qualities in my life, I was immediately drawn to the Petit Family Foundation running team. Within minutes of sending an email expressing my interest in joining the team, I was pulled back to my roots as a Porter's girl, with a steadfast community of high school friends (among new friends) who quickly rallied together for something much greater than themselves. This time, it wasn't school pride that kept us training well and hard into the winter months; rather, it was our desire to do something more, to contribute to Hayley's and her family's continuing legacy that had a simple yet ambitious and heart-filled aim: to make the world a better place.
On Sunday, the Hyannis Half Marathon was filled with a mix of snow, sleet, rain and emotions. For me, it was truly a sight. We had all come so far in our lives up to that point- we all graduated from college, now with steady jobs and somewhat steady incomes; we are all a little bit taller and a little bit wiser. However, we had not forgotten where we came from and where we were going. We were Fighting Daisies through and through, and we were all there to bring grace, strength and support through the consistency and resilience of our steps in order to celebrate the life and mission of a very beautiful family that had touched all of us in one way or another.
After Hyannis, we can all safely say that we are looking forward to many more races to come. We are only at the beginning of an exciting and unending mission to be the change.
Interested in donating to the Petit Family Foundation? Visit our fund raising page: http://www.crowdrise.com/daisiesrunforthepetits