Gratitude in Every Stride

Melissa Hobson (center) trained and ran her first marathon with friends Melissa Evans (left) and Edee Wilcox (right).

I started running when I was 48. I spent my younger years raising two amazing sons, who both ran track and cross country and who also both played soccer. I never considered that I too could run. 

I celebrated with my brother when he completed his first Iron Man and when he finished the Boston Marathon. Still, I never thought I should run too.  

The Beat the Heat 5K was an annual event for our family. I cheered for my boys as they competed. My brother often came home to run this 5K and his young sons also ran the race. I even tried running Beat the Heat, but without a good training plan, it wasn’t the experience I wanted. 

But everything changed for me when two close friends encouraged me to sign up for Fleet Feet’s 5K Finish Program in January 2018. They were kind of relentless, so I agreed. 

I ran a few 5K races, but I thought I’d never run a 10K. I ran Cooper River, but I thought I’d never run a half marathon. In November 2019, I completed the Richmond Half Marathon. Guess what I thought I’d never do next …

Our running group stuck together through the pandemic. When you couldn’t gather inside, you could still safely run, and run we did. Our friendships grew closer, and two of my closest friends and I decided to train for the Richmond Full in 2021. 

One of my greatest accomplishments was finishing that race.  My kids surprised me at mile 16. I was struggling, and my IT Band was hurting. When I looked up and I saw their faces there to cheer me on, it was a moment I’ll never forget. 

If not for running, I would never have had that joy!

Melissa with sons Morgan and Matthew, and Morgan's girlfriend Molly and Matthew's wife Min, after completing her first marathon.