Bryce had been training for the New York City Marathon for half a year. In order to compete in the NYC Marathon he needed to qualify first by running a half-marathon in 1:21:00 at a minimum. In doing this, Bryce ran a half-marathon in Virginia Beach, his home for about a year and a half. He absolutely crushed the time of 1:21:00, which successfully qualified him to compete in the NYC Marathon. He later moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he continued his service as a Supply Corps. Officer in the United States Navy. His training for the Marathon was just a small portion of the many tasks that he had to maintain. The Marathon was held on November, 6, 2016, which just so happened to be the same weekend as Furman University’s Homecoming football game and festivities. Usually, most seniors would be disappointed to have to miss their last Homecoming weekend at Furman, but I was not very disappointed at all. In fact, I was more than thrilled because not only did I get to watch my older brother and role-model run nearly 25 miles throughout NYC with my family, I also had the pleasure of being a part of my older sister, Brea’s, engagement (I’ll save the engagement story for another time). The weekend was full of festivities that towered over what I would have experienced at Furman’s homecoming, experiences that I will never forget.
While training for the Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida, Bryce had to make sure that he maintained healthy standards of living. This included eating healthy throughout the day, exercising every single day to maintain stability, endurance, and stamina, getting quality rest, as well as completing all of his duties and obligations that he had on his ship.
THIS GUY CAN DO IT ALL.
Bryce’s persistency throughout his preparation ceased to amaze me and his peers. His goal of competing in the New York City Marathon was meant to qualify him to run in the Boston Marathon.
He had a mapped out weekly schedule that he followed in order to prepare for the BIG day. This was an 18 week schedule for veteran marathoners that aimed to improve their race time (Bryce was an amateur marathoner). Throughout the process, Bryce would run anywhere from 30 to 50 miles a week in total, which even included days off during the week.
My family, Bryce and I all stayed in the New York City Hilton Midtown Hotel. The day of the race, Bryce headed out of the hotel room at around 3:30 A.M. because he had to take a bus to where the start of the race would be. He had all of his clothes laid out the night before, as well as any other supplies he would need for the race. He packed lightly to say the least. While Bryce prepare made his way to the starting line, my family and I ate breakfast and mapped out which mile markers we would be able to see Bryce run at. Due to the fact that there were 51,394 contestants, there were also thousands of spectators throughout the streets of the city. We were only able to see Bryce twice throughout the race because of how packed the streets were and the pace that he was moving at.
My family and I saw Bryce at the 16 mile marker and he seemed to be doing very well. At that time of the race, Bryce was running nearly at a sub 3 hour pace, which would have qualified him for the Boston Marathon. I had been tracking Bryce on the TCS New York City Marathon Tracker app. On the 19 mile marker, Bryce stopped for 49 minutes according to his tracker. Bryce had told me after the race that his entire lower body shut down at the 18 or 19 mile marker.
“From there, I walked as much as I could and then would run as much as I could. I was unsure of whether or not I had pulled anything at the time. All that I could do was ask the medics at the medical tent for salt tablets and Gatorade to keep myself going”.
My family and I were fortunate enough to watch Bryce as he ran down the final stretch of the race. I unfortunately did not get to see him and give him a hug for making such an amazing accomplishment because I had to catch a flight out of LaGuardia Airport back to Furman. I was able to talk to him on the phone and congratulate him on doing such a standout job, as well as let him know how much it meant to me that he finished the race even though he was injured. Until the 19th mile, Bryce was running at a little under a 7 minute mile pace. He finished the race in 3:47:44 at 1:40 P.M. Words cannot describe how proud I am of this man and his willingness to battle through adversity. I hope to be half the man he is someday. People should try and incorporate fractions of what he does in his daily life so that they too may have a HEALTHY STANDARD OF LIVING.