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Running with Purpose: Aaron

by Magnolia
Published on July 22, 2019

Since last year’s second annual Silo District Marathon, we’ve heard and learned about so many inspiring stories from people who crossed the finish line that day. It just didn’t seem right to keep their stories to ourselves, so, leading up to race weekend 2020, we’re excited to be sharing a few of them with you.

But before we get into it, we want to journey back to our first-ever Silo District Marathon in 2018, when Chip ran the entire thing (all 26.2 miles) wearing a toolbelt. If you were there, or saw photos, you may have not known the full story behind that. Even though Chip has never been one to shy away from a crazy idea, this one wasn’t that crazy at all—it was all because of a guy named Aaron.

Chip heard about Aaron’s story a few months before the race, after a weekend Aaron had spent in Waco visiting Magnolia Market with his family. In conversations with a few people from our team, they learned that Aaron was registered to run the full marathon, but that his plans had recently changed. Aaron was and still is serving active duty in the United States Air Force, and he’d just learned that he was going to be deployed overseas and miss race day.

Aaron let us know that even though he wouldn’t be able to physically join us in Waco for the marathon, he was still planning to participate remotely. It didn’t matter to Aaron where the official course was held, he was determined to run in honor of his parents, both who have battled cancer. We later found out that just days before the race, Aaron received the news that his father’s cancer had returned.

Aaron’s commanding officer told him that if he wanted to run, he’d have to do so in full combat gear, which easily adds 45-50 pounds. Combine that with running 26.2 miles in the hot desert and it’s no surprise that Aaron’s story captured Chip’s attention.

As a small testament to what Aaron was doing overseas, Chip decided to add the extra weight of his toolbelt for the entirety of his first marathon race.

In fall 2018, after Aaron returned home, Chip got to meet him here in Waco and give him his finisher medal. When Chip invited Aaron to join us for our 2019 race, he wasn’t surprised when Aaron said he had already planned to run the full marathon again.

Aaron embraces his dad at the 2019 finish line. After this year’s race, each runner we’ll be featuring over the next few months received a check that went toward their “why” for running. For Aaron, that check was donated to [Ohio State University’s James Cancer Center for rare blood cancer research.](

Fast forward to race day in 2019: Not only did our team get to witness Aaron cross the finish line with his two sweet little kids by his side, but Aaron’s dad was also able to join us here in Waco to cheer on his son.

When Chip asked Aaron if he’d be joining us again in 2020, he answered with a quick yes, but said he’d likely be participating as a volunteer, helping other runners carry their purposes across the finish line.

So tell us—why do you run? And who or what do you run for?

For Aaron, it’s his dad.
For Chip, it’s his friend GabeOpens in new tab.

Whatever or whoever your purpose is—whether it’s to challenge yourself physically, check off an item on your bucket list, or as a way to honor someone else—we hope it will become your motivation to take the leap and join us at next year’s Silo District Marathon.Opens in new tab

We’ll see you at the starting line!

Sign up for the race here.Opens in new tab

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