Prior to being diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Raynaud’s Disease, Sharon Smith went from being an aerobics instructor, senior fitness instructor and an active participant in belly dancing to not being able to reach up to her kitchen cabinet to get a glass down and being couch-bound for nearly two years.
After her formal diagnosis and treatment to get her pain under control, Smith began to work with a personal trainer and take small steps to get back into shape. Now, nearly a year later and with encouragement from her 10 year old son, Michael, she participated in Saturday’s 14th Annual Eagle Run presented by HealthSpan.
“My son has developed a passion for running, and was thrilled at the prospect of running the Eagle Run together,” says Smith. “I wanted to support and encourage him to live a healthy lifestyle, and have a goal of my own to work towards, so I agreed and signed up.”
As an employee of the French Creek YMCA, Smith says her participation has an added bonus, “I am proud to support an event that does so much to improve the lives of members of the community.”
While Smith looked forward to the tremendous sense of accomplishment she achieved when she crossed the finish line, she has some words of wisdom to share with individuals who may be on the fence about participating.
“It doesn’t matter if you walk part of the course and jog the rest. And, it doesn’t matter if you finish first or last, as long as you finish,” says Smith.
On Saturday, May 24, Smith, her son and runners and walkers of all ages took to the streets of Avon in record numbers for the 14th Annual Eagle Run presented by HealthSpan to benefit Avon Schools Educational Endowment Fund as well as the French Creek YMCA and other local charities. With 1500 participants this year, the Eagle Run has become one of the premier road races of the west side.