Guest Blog: Why I Trained with Team to End AIDS, and How I Kept Going During the Marine Corps Marathon!

By Rob Banaszak on November 22, 2011 in Team To End AIDS

by Tera Eilers

Tera EilersMy father Eric was definitely the inspiration to train for the Marine Corps Marathon with Team to End AIDS (T2). Five years ago I lost him to AIDS after his 20-year battle with the disease. I had been looking for a way to honor his memory for awhile and T2 seemed like the perfect fit. When I first started distance running and I would visit him, we would go to this pretty city park in Springfield, Illinois that had a great one mile loop. At this time, he was too ill to actually run or jog with me, but he would find a bench on the loop and cheer me on and hand out water or hold my cell phone. He was great and my biggest cheer leader. I knew if anyone would be proud of me for running a marathon it would be him.

During race day, every time that I felt like things were getting tough, the first thing that I did was put a hand over my heart where I had a folded picture of my father pinned to my singlet. Just remembering why I started this journey and what I was doing it for kept one foot in front of the other. Also, I can’t forget to mention my T2 Teammates! I can honestly say that there really was not one point where I hit a wall or said “I can’t do this anymore.” We had so much fun together interacting with each other and with the crowd…it was truly a FUN experience.

The biggest highlight of T2 was the people I met and the friendships that I made. Our pace group, The Teglas, was completely amazing. I don’t think that I have ever met a more supportive, encouraging, compassionate and motivated group of people in my life. We got through a lot together and made some really lasting relationships…and the best part is that we all came from different walks of life. What a beautiful compliment to an outstanding organization.

Tera Eilers is Resilience Program Manager with the United States Army

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