Two Strangers Make A Pact To Finish A Marathon Together

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
Daniel Heckert via Facebook

Sometimes you just need someone by your side telling you not to quit

If you’ve ever run a race, you know how physically and mentally draining it can be. There seems to always come a time during the run when you feel like you can’t possibly put one more foot in front of the other and it’s in these times you look around you for inspiration and support. For two women running the Pittsburgh marathon, that support came from a total stranger.

Laura Mazur of New Bremen, Ohio, and Jessica Robertson, of Braddock, Pennsylvania didn’t know each other before the Pittsburgh marathon that took place on Sunday, but they sure do now. The pair met at mile 14, Robertson running her first marathon; Mazur, her 12th. “She said, ‘I’ll make you a promise. I won’t leave you if you don’t leave me. And no matter what, we will cross [the finish line] together.’” Robertson told CBS 2 Pittsburgh of their first meeting. “And I said, ‘Well, I won’t leave you because I can’t do this alone.’”

“Hands down my favorite moment of the day. The final two runners with the sweep car behind them. Seven hours into the race. Hand in hand not letting each other quit. One of the most emotional and beautiful running moments I’ve ever seen,”said Betsy Magovern. Both she and Daniel Heckert were at the 25-mile cheer station when they saw the women and knew they needed to snap a photo of the moment.

“Mile after mile, these two ran together, often at times without much fan support,” Heckert, a running coach, tells Scary Mommy. “They started holding hands right before they got to the mile 25 cheer station. I just wanted to capture the moment that showed these two ladies were going to finish the same race that winner did.”

For her part, Mazur said she needed Robertson as much as she needed her. “There’s part of you, you know, that’s saying, like, oh my gosh, I need to tap out on this, but then there’s the other part that’s like, shut up, no, go ahead, just do it, keep going on going,” Mazur said. “And I’m like, sometimes you actually need somebody right there beside you audibly telling you that.”

Robertson tells Scary Mommy, “I woke up Sunday with the goal in mind to make it to the end, and together we did just that. Laura and I will be life long friends and I look forward to the journey that stands ahead of us. One of my favorite quotes rings true now..she believed she could and so she did. I’m thankful for all of the love support and positive feedback that we have received. It has been amazing to be able to share a part of my story with others.I love being able to share a moment that meant so much to both of us and I love how others have contacted me and shared their stories of success and triumph.”

Heckert is extremely proud of the women and the running community that supported them. “This is what the Pittsburgh running community is all about,” he tells us. “I am constantly in awe about how much of a family this group is and how rewarding it is to cheer other runners along their journey.”

“These two ladies showed what it means to never quit. They were not the last two runners… They are Both Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon FINISHERS!” he says.

“They could have given up. They could’ve said, the sweep vehicle’s right behind us, we hurt too much, we’ve got too far to go. There’s nobody around them. They did this by themselves. Where everybody else has a crowd to go through, they spent the majority of this, the two of them together,” Heckert said.

“It wasn’t about gender. It wasn’t really about race. It wasn’t about religion. None of that mattered. We were just two individuals, two humans who had a goal in mind and we leaned on each other to get there,” Robertson said.

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