Community stages personal marathon for Lutz runner

Community stages personal marathon for Lutz runner


Upon turning 50 last October, Todd Ashcraft put his mind to a marathon.

He found one a few months out, near his northern Kentucky hometown, and signed up for it. Then he started training, intensely. The IT worker and software designer logged hundreds of miles around his Cheval neighborhood in Lutz, meticulously documenting the distance he ran each time.

“He’s the motivated one,” said his 16-year-old son, Zach.

Todd Ashcraft, a longtime Cheval resident, has been training the past 4 months for his first marathon. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

He also competed in local events, working his way up from 5K and 10K races to the Gasparilla half-marathon. Four pairs of running shoes and 20 pounds later, Ashcraft was ready.

“He went above and beyond,” said his wife, Christy.

Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, and the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon ― originally set for this past Sunday ― was grounded until October. Exactly 811 miles of training would be tabled for five months. Christy and Zach couldn’t bear seeing all that sweat equity squandered.

So with the help of Christy’s Cheval-based triathlon club ― Triple Crown Racing ― they planned a personalized marathon for Ashcraft, to be run around the neighborhood. In lieu of the Flying Pig, they brought out the whole hog: a mapped-out course, water stations, motivational signs, racing T-shirts, even a few fellow runners.

A table setup at the Cheval athletic center is setup with food for the COVID Pig Marathon. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

On Saturday morning, Ashcraft ran the “COVID-Pig Marathon.” At least a handful of friends and neighbors ran with him on each of his nine, 2.9-mile laps. The homemade signs along his path included hashtags such as #RunningIsNotCanceled and #FlyingPig.

“This is his first-ever marathon,” Christy said moments before her husband completed his third lap.

“So when it was postponed due to the COVID, he was already so far into the training, the thought of not doing it … that’s why everybody was, like, supporting him to go out. With the last loop he just did, we had probably five people running with him. He took up the whole road.”

A sign of encouragement hangs on a light pole for Todd Ashcraft. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]

Ashcraft finished Saturday’s event in 5 hours, 24 minutes, 27 seconds, a hair under a 12-minute pace per mile. He still plans to go to Cincinnati ― less than 3 miles from his hometown of Dayton, Ky. ― this October to run the marathon for which he initially signed up.

But pigs wills sprout propellers before it tops Saturday’s proceedings.

“I am overwhelmed by the amazing race my friends put together for me,” Ashcraft said Monday.

“This race was very special for me, but I think it was very special for my friends as well. By far I got the most out of it, but I feel that everyone took something special away from it, too. … I am blessed.”

• • •

HAVE YOU LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO COVID-19?: Help us remember them

UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits

CONTRIBUTE TO THE SCRAPBOOK: Help us tell the story of life under coronavirus

BRIGHT SPOTS IN DARK TIMES: The world is hard right now, but there’s still good news out there

LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information, six days a week

WATCH VIDEO: How some in Tampa Bay are finding light amid isolation

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.


Source link

Please follow and like us: