This is the story of Peyton Chitty’s 2021 Battleship Half Marathon – a Wilmington, NC resident, Without Limits athlete, and Boston Marathon Qualifier… who has a pacemaker.
“Today was a storybook ending for me. Originally, I had been training for and was signed up for the Richmond Half Marathon yesterday. Of course I bailed on that when my dad went downhill and canceled plans of racing this weekend. There was no way my head and heart would be ready for that race. My dad passed away with me and my sister by his side early Thursday morning. My sister and I handled some of his affairs on Friday and there was nothing else I could do until Monday. So I decided to come home Friday night and get some much-needed sleep.
On a whim, I went ahead and signed up for the Battleship Half Marathon in my hometown. Even though my race week diet was out the window, I hadn’t really slept in a few days, and my head was not in the ideal place, I decided to stick with my original plan of going sub 90 minutes for the first time ever.
My dad taught me to never give up.
Ever since I was a little kid he would always tell me to push through adversity. He balanced love and discipline like no other. I knew he would want me to run this race as hard as I could, so I did. I ran for my dad.
I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I had during the entire race. It took a lot of work to focus on my strategy, pace, form, and why I was running. I would say that this race was just as much emotionally challenging as it was physically. I knew that if I could hit my goal today then I could do anything. I felt my dad in my heart and on my shoulder the entire way. I could hear him telling me to never give up and how proud he is of me no matter how I finish.
I just about lost it with 800 meters left but I held it together and when I saw the clock show 1:29:30 I absolutely lost it. I crossed the line and started crying.
Colin Hackman was at the finish line and came up and hugged me and told me he loved me and I couldn’t control it anymore. I started bawling like a baby. The love I felt from my teammates, coach, and running family on the course, at the finish line, and at the post race celebration made me realize I would not want to achieve this feat anywhere else.
I nailed my goal of a sub 1:30 half marathon, won 2nd in age, and finished top 25. This was all for my dad, my main man.
Never have I felt so many emotions in an hour and a half. I’ve seen people break down after races but never experienced it myself… until Sunday. Pierce Productions captured the sequence of my cathartic emotional release and the love and support of my teammates and friends. I’m comfortable enough in my own skin and man enough so share this with you all because it’s okay for men to show emotions.
The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds, but Ann Marie Pierce captured it all. What makes it even more special is that I was there to see Ann Marie run a smoking fast marathon three weeks after the death of her dad last spring. She was on the other side of the lens this time and understood exactly what I was feeling. You can see me trying to hold it together in the first photo then lose it when I saw Colin Hackman and Kim Post. That’s support. That’s friendship. That’s love.”
Story by Peyton Chitty via Instagram: @the_wired_athlete