Given the choice of grief or nothing, Yvonne Garcia-Huizar would gladly choose grief.
One can only grieve the loss of a father because one knows the love of a father.
Garcia-Huizar will run her first 31-mile ultra-marathon at The Cowtown with a purpose.
“I ran through some tough times,” said Garcia-Huizar, 45. “Running, and my faith, of course, carried me through the loss of my dad. I think I did [The Cowtown] last year as a way to grieve my dad’s loss. And this year I want to honor his legacy.
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“This one is a little personal for me.”
Garcia-Huizar, who works in administration for the Fort Worth school district, ran the first of nine marathons 10 years ago at The Cowtown.
She is stepping up on the date of the event’s 40th anniversary.
Her father “was a very active man. He played softball up until his diagnosis [of cancer]. He had a passion and love of sports. I’ve always tried to emulate that passion of staying active.”
She discovered long-distance running as a component to healthy living about 12 years ago and started out “a mile at a time.” A 5K evolved into a 10K and so on and so on.
Like a cold virus, she passed on the running bug to her husband, who has fully embraced it as a family pastime.
She listed the Mother Road Marathon, which is set along Route 66 and goes through three states – Oklahoma, Kansas, and a finish in Joplin, Mo. – as her favorite setting thus far.
“My running journey has evolved from running for fitness, to running for therapy to running because I can. I know there are so many who can’t.”
For her run later this month, Garcia-Huizar’s pace bracelet will include a picture of her dad in his softball gear.
“My dad was a hard man to impress, but, I tell you he was a very proud father,” Garcia-Huizar said. “He was at my first marathon. He was always on the sidelines cheering me on. He never understood the long-distance run; he was a baseball guy. He said: ‘I don’t get it, but I’m cheering you on.’”