Every year during the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend, we hear so many inspiring stories from our participants. Sometimes it’s their first race ever or maybe it’s their 100th, but every person who lines up on race day has an unique background and story they bring to the course. Many of the stories we hear are lighthearted and fun, while others are deeper. Regardless, we love hearing the stories behind every person’s journey to the start line. In our new series, Shamrock Stories, we are going to be sharing some of the stories that were submitted this year. Today we hear from Amy Lightbourn, from Norwalk, CT. Keep reading to hear her Shamrock Story and how taking a chance on yourself can lead to a magical day!
I grew up in Norfolk, but have since moved to Connecticut, and my folks now live in Virginia Beach. I decided to visit my parents in Virginia Beach for my birthday in mid-January. It would be a fun little escape, and a good test to see how my toddler and infant could handle a very short plane ride. (They did great!) I was in the midst of a local “Boston Buildup,” with a final race distance of 25km (15.5 miles). I headed out to my favorite Virginia Beach running spot, First Landing State Park, to do a 16-mile run while my parents babysat. The training run went wonderfully, and towards the end, I ran with a man who was training for the Shamrock Marathon. I wondered aloud if I should sign up, and he said he hoped I did. I couldn’t shake the idea. One week later (the last week of January), when I was back in Connecticut, I decided to do an 18-mile long run to test the waters. I felt great, and immediately signed up for the Shamrock Marathon when I got home! I was super excited. When that initial signup high wore off, I realized I had about 7.5 weeks to squeeze in 2-3 20-milers…well, here goes nothing! I jumped right into the toughest part of marathon training, and actually had a great time doing it. The local buildup helped get me into half marathon shape, and so I just needed to keep on that trajectory. Thanks to my husband and my son’s preschool, I had the childcare support I needed to tackle the long runs.
On race day, I did a couple of things differently. I kept my headphones in, but left the volume at 0 for nearly the entire race (looking at you, final 10K of headwind!). I only looked at my watch for the first 5k, to make sure I didn’t go out too fast. I was very much in the present moment, and even without looking at any clock, I knew I was setting a PR for most fun I’d ever had running a marathon. In the end, it also turned out to be my fastest time. It felt incredibly empowering to achieve my best marathon time to date (and my first BQ!) at 8 months postpartum with my second child.
Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story with us! If you ran a Shamrock event this year and want to share your story, please submit it here.
Join us for the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend in 2024! This St. Paddy’s Day tradition has a race distance for every goal: Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K, and challenges. No matter the distance, you’ll experience the best of Coastal Virginia on our flat, fast, and scenic course before you cross the finish line overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The party continues after the race at our post race celebration on the beach with Yuengling Beer and live music.