The Perfect Birthday and Our Inspiration

by Jody Narantic on October 11, 2010

Yesterday, for my birthday, we spent the day in Chicago cheering for our friend Linda running in the Chicago Marathon – a 26.2 mile event. We went to school with Linda and she flew in from Connecticut to run her first Chicago Marathon.

As some of you know, my best friend Sue, of over 35 years, passed away at the end of August and Linda thought what a perfect way to honor Sue by running in her memory.

When we first approached the race and came upon the runners and the spectators cheering them on at the 24/25 mile point, it was an overwhelming feeling of emotion.

We cried.


As we watched runners struggling to reach the finish line and the crowd cheering loudly for those they didn’t even know, it was absolutely one of the most emotional, moving, and inspiring events I’ve ever seen.

With 45,000 registered runners and the unbelievable amount of spectators, we were determined to find a spot so that we would see Linda somewhere at the 23/24 mile point. Thank you so much Holly for that tip!

We found the perfect spot right along the fence but the problem was most of the runners were on the opposite side of the street.

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For over an hour we stood with cameras in hand, cheering and praying that we’d see Linda. It was a very intense hour focusing on each runner in hopes of seeing Linda.

Finally, one of the friends I was with said, “Sue, please give us a sign so we don’t miss Linda.  We can’t miss her.” And as we looked back down the street through the thousands of runners, there she was, right in front of us.


Words will never express what happened at that very moment … for Linda to appear out of no where … on our side of the street … alone … among the thousands of runners and thousands in the crowd …

Sue was with us.

We never took a photo of Linda running because our emotions took over with screams, cheers, and cries as Linda ran over and gave us a hug.

I will forever have goosebumps remembering that moment.

It was the perfect day, the perfect birthday, and I’m so thankful we were there to share a small part of Linda’s amazing accomplishment.

Congratulations to Linda, her husband and their son for all finishing the marathon.

Anderson family


What an amazing day we will forever hold dear.

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Love to Linda’s family, Ami, and Tammy!

And to Sue!!!

And Linda … we are so proud of you and you are our inspiration!!!

{ 4 trackbacks }

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robin October 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

What a great way to honor someone, the story is very touching, you have brought me to tears. Sue surely was smiling from above!


2 CDGardens October 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Glad to hear that your request to Sue brought Linda into view. It certainly will be something to hold dear for all of you.A very sweet tribute…


3 Paul October 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Great story!! I forwarded this post to a few of my personal training clients for some inspiration for the day. Thanks for the post and keep it up :)


4 Tom Reutebuch October 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Very cool way to remember an honor your friend. She definitely was with you! Glad you had a great birthday.


5 Arthur October 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm

First off, happy birthday, Jody – it sounds like it went great.

And what a great way for each of you to remember your friend.

Very cool!


6 The Average Joe Fisherman October 11, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Super. That’s all I can say. Thanks for sharing.

The Average Joe Fisherman


7 kmurray October 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm

That is an awesome experience! For Linda to come into view like that. Wow! (I’m so cryin’)


8 Linda October 11, 2010 at 9:25 pm

None of the friends and relatives there to see me were able to find me during the race. It is so difficult to spot a runner in that crowd. Even more amazing is the fact that we haven’t seen each other in years, maybe decades? This was such an incredible blessing that I will always treasure.


9 Tammy October 12, 2010 at 6:41 am

That was a wonderful way to share our day of memories. In my heart I truly believe a higher power was involved that day. Never dreamed that day would move me like it did. I’m just glad my day was spent with the 4 of us…….13 :) Thanks for sharing. Love you


10 Rick October 12, 2010 at 9:15 am


Spending your birthday doing something that makes you smile, sounds like an awesome day.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.


11 Linda October 12, 2010 at 9:17 am

I need to do a correction to my previous comment. None of the OTHER friends and relatives there to see me were able to find me during the race. Don’t want Tammy reminding me again that you are my friends too! Haha. Jk, thank you for that Tammy, it was very sweet. Still treasuring that moment near the end of the race. Thank you again for persevering!!! So happy you had a wonderful day. Such a blessing for me to have been able to honor Sue in this way. I admired and respected Sue as a classmate and teammate from the time I first met her in Kindergarten. She was one of those rare individuals that made life better for everybody who had the privilege to know her. Much love to you, Jody, Tammy and Ami!


12 Jody Narantic October 12, 2010 at 9:45 am

Tammy, luv u! Was the perfect day!

Rick, Thank you!

Linda, You described Sue perfectly. So missing her and I know she would have loved being there that day. But I think we all felt her there and it made it that much more special.


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