These lyrics remind me of my friend Phil Lowry, who will be running as a VIP in this year's Phoenix Marathon. I asked him to share his story. Here it is....
After putting on 15 pounds in undergraduate and law schools, he looked for a way to get fit after taking a job as an attorney in Utah. He started out hiking (remember, he hated running), and then caught the brand-new mountain bike craze. A year later he met some extraordinary people who actually would run 100 miles through the Utah mountains every year in the Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run.
This was back when Wasatch was only one of five 100-milers in the country and less than 100 people would participate. Phil vowed to finish, and did so in his first ever organized footrace, an hour under the 36-hour cutoff. Battered by the distance but not defeated, he has come back virtually every year to conquer the Wasatch course. In 2010 he finally broke the 24-hour barrier to earn the coveted Crimson Cheetah award. Since then he has finished 32 100-milers, finishing under 24 hours at Wasatch, the Bear 100, the Black Hills 100, and the Rocky Raccoon 100, and under 20 hours at the Pony Express 100. He has run the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim in 9:41 (2012).
Along this journey Phil has volunteered to help Wasatch with its GPS mapping, and has also helped direct the Bear 100 in Utah and Idaho since 2001. He also assists other races across the country with his substantial geospatial equipment and knowledge, measuring distance and creating maps. He loves both running and directing races, both activities giving him particular meaning.
Two of the years he has missed the racing season have been because of his military service as a judge advocate in the Utah National Guard. Phil just returned from Afghanistan, where he served as a military lawyer to the Special Forces. This has given his life further meaning, and also taught him that it is possible to run 130 miles per week on a treadmill for months on end.
Supporting Phil in all that he loves is his wife, Kristina, and eight children. His eldest son is a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, and ran his first marathon with Phil last May, the week before Phil left for Afghanistan. His second daughter Sophia and second son Phillip III also finished their first marathon that day. Later, last fall, Sophie, Phillip III, and Phil's eldest daughter Maria finished another marathon, dedicating their run to Phil while he was deployed.
Phil practices law in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the judge advocate for the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He runs for the Utah National Guard marathon and ultramarathon teams, and is an active Army paratrooper.
Phil, I'll see you in a few weeks at the Phoenix Marathon!