Marathon #39: In honor of Steve Hollenberg - Marathon Goddess

It’s hard to believe I finished marathon #39 today. This journey is going by so fast, I know there is still 12 more, but to me that’s like only 12? Well, today’s marathon was awesome, no taxis, planes, hotels or luggage. What a pleasure. It was right in my back yard, Santa Monica beach. I walked out of the house and was there in less then 5 minutes. I dedicated today’s marathon to Steve Hollenberg who passed away on December 25th, 8 years ago. It was such an honor to remember and run for Steve so close to Christmas. Steve was only 62 when he passed. His neice Karen contacted me when she noticed I run all of my marathons now in honor of someone affected by Pancreatic Cancer. Karen even came out and ran 8 miles with me today. She is so awesome. Thank you Karen!   Steve was a devoted family man – he was so dedicated to his two children, He had three grandchildren and a fourth one born on his birthday, July 8th, after he passed away. He was a mentor to his children regarding their schooling, their careers and many other matters. In 1998, he retired from a 34 year career with GE. He was an electrical engineer by training, but specialized in technical marketing and rose to senior management levels with the company. He retired to the place of his dreams – a private golf course community where the weather was warm. He had the joy of having his daughter, son-in-law and then 1 year old granddaughter move to Savannah as well shortly before he passed away.
He was an ardent amateur photographer and left so many beautiful pictures with his family and friends. He also loved to golf. He had about 4 ongoing weekly golf groups that he played with and spent many hours practicing on the driving range.
He valiantly fought his battle with pancreatic cancer for a year, always keeping up the hope that he would be one of the lucky ones, even toward the end. He wanted to help others who were not as fortunate as he was to have excellent insurance, to live near the cancer treatment center and to not have to deal with work issues (since he was retired). He saw so many people who struggled with so many financial issues while having to fight their cancer. He and his wife talked a bit about setting up a fund – “when I get well” were his words – to help needy cancer patients. His wife took his desire and created a fund at their cancer institute in his memory which does just that.
It was such an honor and a pleasure to learn about this amazing man, who was filled with so much hope and love. That is what my marathons are all about. So in running for Steve today, I felt like he was there with me. The last 8 miles, even though I was alone, I thought about Steve, the special essence of his life and that made me smile. I think we can all learn something from him. What a kind soul.
Steve would have taken pleasure in the fact that I could walk to my marathon today. It was so easy, hastle free and that is what Steve wanted for everyone. He was such a thoughtful man. As some of you know, last Sunday I was franticly looking for a marathon to run because the one I had intended to run had turned into only a half. I feel like Steve may have had something to do with this logistical dream of a marathon. I am now writing my blog, after a jacuzzi and sitting by the fireplace at the spa. Thank you Steve. However it wasn’t all sunshine infact it was freezing. I know I live in Santa Monica but when the race started it was in the low 40’s and as you may know I don’t do well in the cold. I was all bundled up, no one recogonized me. At mile 3 I actually stopped to get coffee to warm up, because you can do that when you are running 50 billion marathons in a year (and running them slowly). It was a real struggle to finish today and motivate myself to finish because of the cold, but we did it!
Thank you all for your support , this journey has been nothing short of AMAZING. I saw so many friends on the course today, made new friends and ended up having a really fun day, for a beautiful man, and a cause near and dear to my heart.
All my best wishes to everyone for a Happy, HEALTHY, holiday season. See you Wednesday for marathon #40. Yes, Wednesday. We have an extra marathon this week. But it’s ok because… We got this.
Julie xo