Kathleen (Katie) McAleer Lynch, accompanied by her husband, Kevin, and children Sean and Danielle, returned to the U.S. from Daegu, South Korea, to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon late last month. For nearly seven years the Lynches have lived in Daegu, but will be stationed elsewhere by June.
Although running in the marathon was a first for both Katie’s children and husband, who’s active-duty and an Iraq war veteran, it was Katie’s second time running in the marathon. Inspired by her past experience when she had run the marathon alongside her own father in 2002, Katie encouraged her family to travel from afar to run in the grueling event.
Together the Lynch family ran the 26.2 miles – passing on the powerful and memorable experience Katie once shared with her own father.
“Sequim is our home away from home. Kevin and I were married at St. Joseph’s in 1992. Both of our children were baptized there also. My parents, sister and brother and families and dear friends all live in Sequim so we have visited almost annually for 22 years.
Sequim is the most beautiful place on earth and we’re proud to serve overseas to defend this town as well as the best country in the world, the United States of America.
We chose to run the Marine Corps Marathon because it is one of the best events in the world – it invokes great pride in country, hope for the country’s future and athletes who are living life to its outer limits.
My son is a senior in high school and will attend college next year. I’m sure I am not alone as a mother who realizes time is flying by. I wanted a family goal to bring us together and make a long-lasting memory. The kids created the four-month weekly training plan and we were off.
Our first benchmark was to run a 13.1-miler by Aug. 16. Daegu, South Korea, is hot and muggy in the summer, so we started at 0430. We finished later that morning, but more importantly we were now confident that we could keep training one week at a time to our goal.
You see, my dad, Mike McAleer, ran my first mile with me in fourth grade and then ran the Marine Corps Marathon with me in 2002. I wanted to give my children the same feeling of accomplishment and pride.
The Marine Corps Marathon, in our nation’s capital, invokes absolute pride. As you run past Abraham Lincoln’s gaze, it’s hard not to feel humble; as you turn past the reflecting pool in front of the grand steps of Capitol building, you realize the reflecting pool was made to reflect the responsibility given to each American to uphold our constitution. I love to explain to foreigners our laws on civil rights and protections for the vulnerable.
Our laws are generations ahead of many other countries. The Marines of all ranks line the course encouraging all the runners. It gives you hope for our country’s future, a hope that there are still those willing to die for the protections afforded to Americans that are enjoying them today. It makes you know that God has blessed our United States of America.
The event also coincided with a birth of a new nephew, Colin McAleer, born to Bob and Kate McAleer who reside in Alexandria, Va.
My kids were able to get a Senate tour by their uncle who is the chief army liaison to the Senate, a job coincidentally that my dad had in the late 1980s. For my mom and dad to be at the Senate again was a full-circle moment.
By the way, we figured my mom and dad walked eight miles on the course, walking to different points to give us high fives – impressive. My sister, Molly McAleer Lowry, chief of personnel for the U.S. Marshal Service, also was on the course with her kids rooting us on and trying to make us stop for a videotaped interview.
Running the marathon was different for me this time in that it wasn’t about me, but it was a hope for my family that they would feel what I had felt as well. I wanted so much for my children to do well and to feel the pride of our country and recognize all the symbols of the American flag, Capitol building, Smithsonian and hope they could take it all in and really remember this.
When I saw my son at the very end of the course he was flat on his back and he said, ‘I did it Mom, I did it!’ and at that point I just wanted to break down and cry with pride.
All in all, the Marine Corps Marathon was an amazing, pride-invoking event. The Lynch family flew back to South Korea with renewed energy and hope for our future.”
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.