Family runs Philadelphia Half Marathon in honor of student’s uncle

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While some run for fun or a good workout, others, such as sophomore Maddy D’Arcy, run for a more personally meaningful purpose. D’Arcy and her family have been running the 8K for the past three years. But as they debated over whether to run the 8K or the Half Marathon in 2019, an event occurred that settled and solidified their decision. 

An eager crowd filled the Ben Franklin Parkway on a cold late November morning as the participants of the Philadelphia Half Marathon ran and walked 13.1 miles through the city. Over 14,000 participants and thousands of supporters cheered in a show of support as runners crossed the finish line. Anticipation and adrenaline filled the air as feelings of accomplishment and pride gripped the hearts of everyone in attendance. 

D’Arcy’s uncle passed away from heart disease this past August; it was a shock to her family. The D’Arcy’s wanted to honor him and find a way to raise money for heart disease awareness and research. Since her uncle had been a good runner when he was younger, they turned to the Philadelphia Half Marathon.

“We were kind of considering doing the Half, and once (my uncle passed away), my dad came up with the idea that definitely pushed us to the next level,” D’Arcy said.

D’Arcy began training three months prior to the race, starting by running 3 miles and working her way up to 13.1. At the race, she finished 2:40:00.

“When something that big happens, it’s hard to honor it in a way that’s big (since I’m) doing it for not just him but other people suffering the same thing,” D’Arcy said.

The D’Arcy family chose to donate the money raised from the run to the British Heart Foundation since D’Arcy was born in England, where her family is from including her uncle. The British Heart Foundation is a charity organization dedicated to “beating heartbreak from heart and circulatory diseases.” The main goals of the charity are to raise money for heart disease research, spread prevention methods and form a community of those affected by heart disease. Through donations and sponsors from friends and relatives, D’Arcy and her family were able to raise around $1,500, exceeding her expectations.

Although the run was for a serious cause, D’Arcy really enjoyed the full experience of running in a major event. She especially enjoyed all the people holding signs of inspiration throughout the course.

“It was a really great atmosphere,” D’Arcy said. Despite feeling a sense of relief for the event to be over, she plans to run more events similar to the Half Marathon in the future and is even considering eventually running a full marathon.

“It felt really great to finish it,” D’Arcy said, “(I am) grateful that I was able to run for a great cause.”