- Written by Swell
Justine and her father James (Image Courtesy of Justine Galloway)
Running for Teaneck High School and being part of that team was so important to me. I built life-long friends and it made me the person I am today. Running also made me feel very connected to my father because I was also able to share my running journey with him.
When I arrived at college I never thought I was good enough to make the college team. Freshman year, I went to practice but never showed up on the day of tryouts. By sophomore year, I decided to give it another try and I made the team! I was definitely in the back of the pack but I was running and that is all that mattered to me. This served as a reminder to never underestimate what is possible!
After leaving for college, I visited him whenever I had the chance. He received Deep Brain Stimulation (electrical stimulation to treat movement disorders) when I was in my senior year of college. His health continued to decline and he eventually needed a cane, a walker, and then a wheelchair. I still remember getting ready to run the Philadelphia Marathon and visiting him in the hospital in the days leading up to the race.
His last few years were spent living at a rehabilitation care facility. When I visited, I would tell him about my running and the next marathon I had coming up. He would tell me stories of people in the care facility telling him their kids won the Boston Marathon (even if they hadn’t). I think that was the good and bad part, my dad never lost his mental capacity.