The evening of March 13, 2014 was a bit of a question mark for Stephanie Eggleston, 26, of Arlington, Va. After months of training for the D.C. Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon, the Ellicott City, Md. native went to bed early to rest up for the race. Weighing on her mind weren’t just the pre-race jitters and anxieties all runners face; Stephanie was running for a reason. With a long-standing military legacy behind her, she had pledged to raise $1,000 for the Boot Campaign and had hoped to reach her goal by start time. She was $70 short.
Stephanie grew up amidst proud military service: her grandfather was a Marine, a Capitol police officer and a secret service agent during the Kennedy administration; her step-father spent his career in the Air Force; her great uncle and step-grandfather previously served and her cousin is currently enlisted in the Army. She’s always felt compelled to express her patriotism, which, for her, grew into a desire to “work for America,” more specifically, as an employee at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Enter the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. Fairly new to the hobby, Stephanie describes her relationship with running as love/hate: love when it’s over, but hate while running. By most accounts, that’s pretty accurate. Her reward for keeping up with all that misery? Pizza! Another bonus for Stephanie came when signing up for the race. Looking through the list of charities to support during training, she happened upon the Boot Campaign and knew it was the right organization for her.
“It’s important to me to express patriotism because we live in a pretty awesome country and there are many people who give up a lot to ensure it stays that way (the men and women in the military and their families); if we don’t express our patriotism often and proudly, then we are doing them a disservice,” she reveals. “The work [the Boot Campaign does] to support military families is incredible. They give up so much to ensure our lives continue to stay safe and we have relatively little to worry about, so its wonderful to see organizations like this focused on caring for them and their families.”
The half marathon experience was decidedly positive for Stephanie. She “enjoyed all of the bands and all of the support from the people in D.C. who came out to cheer the runners on.” The only bad part? The hill on Calvert Street. Says Stephanie, “That was a surprise (more like a nightmare), but I just dug in and decided the hill wasn’t going to beat me and it didn’t! Crossing the finish line was amazing – I wanted to dance and cry and curl in the fetal position all at once!” Stephanie’s final time was 2:21, under her goal time of 2:30. She even plans to run more half marathons and shorter distance races including the Richmond Half Marathon, D.C. Ragnar Relay Series and the Ragnar Trail Relay this summer and fall.
So what about that fundraising goal that went unmet the night before the race? Stephanie awoke on race day to the full $1,000 in her Crowdrise account. She recalls, “I got the email from Crowdrise when I woke up the morning of the race – I got the final donation I needed the night before (I went to bed at like 7:30), so that made the race that much better for me!” She credits her “awesome” family and friends for helping her raise the money for the Boot Campaign and offered her thanks for the efforts Boot Campaign takes to help America’s military men and women. She proudly wears her Boot Campaign shirt as often as possible and is anxiously awaiting her very own combat boots. The Boot Campaign thanks YOU, Stephanie!