Christina Brouse's family was there at the finish line with a homemade banner.
Christina Brouse was set to run her first ever half marathon — and then the coronavirus canceled it. Rather than let her training go to waste, however, she ran a 13.1-mile route around her neighborhood and was surprised at the finish line (her driveway) by her children and husband, who had created a banner to cheer her on.
After six years of running 5Ks, Brouse, a Palm Coast resident, made a goal in January 2020 to run her first half marathon. She paid to compete in the Tomoka Half Marathon, scheduled for March 21, but her training was not going well.
"She really wanted to quit," said her husband, Eddie Brouse. "She was really struggling." But their oldest daughter, Abbie, who runs cross country for Matanzas High School, gave Christina "pointers and motivational talks," Eddie Brouse said. Another friend coached her up as well, and Christina Brouse decided to give it one last push and compete.
She planned things just right so that she could go for a run three days per week. She could only train during the hottest time during the day because that’s when Abbie could babysit the Brouses' 1-year-old son, Tui.
Each scheduled day, Christina Brouse added one mile per session. She was determined to be physically prepared just in time for the race.
Then, like just every other event, it was canceled.
"We wanted her to feel like it was a triumph."
EDDIE BROUSE, on why he and his girls made a banner for Christina Brouse's half-marathon
The organizers offered to let runners track their own routes and times and submit the information to still get their medals and T-shirts, so that’s what Brouse decided to do.
“I had done all that work, so I wasn’t going to not run it at that point,” she recalled.
She set up her route around her neighborhood, and she left at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17. Eddie Brouse called her to check on her status a couple of times, and Christina Brouse told him she was on the last bend toward home.
She thought, “I really hope that they’re all standing there, because I don’t know if I’m going to make it.”
“I needed that motivation to get me down the street,” she recalled. “I was thirsty, and I was hurting, so I took the last bend, and I saw them all standing out there, and so they helped me make it through my finish line. It was pretty neat.”
Eddie Brouse said he was happy that the family could be there to support Mom.
"When you run a race, especially one you train really hard for, there's the timer and the big archway, and people are applauding, and none of that was going to happen," Eddie Brouse said. "We tried to be there for her. ... We wanted her to feel like it was a triumph."
Do you know of an inspirational story related to the coronavirus outbreak? Email Brian McMillan at [email protected]. Or submit by posting it on social media using #PCOneighbors.