Guest Blogger Nancy Cook

My number one fan- San Francisco in 2008 for Nike's Woman's Marathon

Running and training for a marathon can be a lonely business. The early mornings, squeezing whatever miles you can get in at lunch or happy hour run (which doesn’t always include a nice cold one). Having a crazy family schedule doesn’t always allow for group runs or even timing to find a running partner. So when it comes race day — the “cheering squad” or my “fans” are really what gets me to perform at my best! In the cancer survivor world we call them “caregivers” – those people that are by your side no matter what – driving you to treatment, helping you figure out your drug schedule, holding you when you’re extremely tired & mentally being with you every step of the way.  In the running world we call them “fans” — those who cheer for you — push you harder when you want to walk — think you’re crazy, but love that much more for being a dedicated runner, putting all those miles in and it is finally the day for you to toe that start line! There is some prep that goes into being a “fan” — carrying signs — assisting the runner to remember the essentials & checking out the best places on the course to be able to catch a glimpse of their runner, shoot some great photos and cheer! Here is a link to the maps and some cool videos that share the SF marathon course!

There is nothing like the support of your family!

My number one fan is my husband Steve. He wants to be with me when I race, every race, any weather, no matter the distance of the race, or the distance to the race (i.e.: we head to San Francisco next Thursday!)  I will never forget the 2007 Boston marathon, the year of the Noreaster, when there was no one on the street because the weather was so cold and nasty.  Steve found his way to the front area of the finish line with a dozen roses to give me. He met a group of girls, who he told all about me and our story of how we met — they belted out the largest cheer — yelling my name “GO NANCY GO!” — It was so cool! I felt like a rockstar at that moment — larger than life! Every race he runs around the course points to take my photo, meets me at the finish with roses  and chills my favorite champagne for a celebration at the end. But my fan club also consists of all my family & friends that write my race number down, sign up for tracking, “ping” me on my Facebook wall, send me wishful speedy notes on email and cheer me on where ever they are in the US and abroad. I remember a bunch of friends of mine were visiting Germany but cheering me on in the Boston marathon this year. It is so amazing the love and support of your friends and family and how that feeds into the energy you feel on the course! I raise money for the American Cancer Society through the DetermiNation program and all the donations are my sponsorships from my fans! The more money I raise, the more of a rockstar I become in the quest for more birthdays and less cancer! I have raised more than $12,000 from amazing donors in 3 years through 7 DNation events and am pretty proud to be a cancer survivor finishing yet another marathon, trying not to skip a step in my life’s journey!

Here we are  9 days away from the San Francisco marathon — and it is important to guide your fan club to the best cheering stations on the course- share your number and the tracking that is available is cutting edge for this race. Download the ap today and share it with your friends! It truly builds the spirit of marathons, builds your fan club, inspires others to someday hopefully run a marathon or start a fitness regime to be at the best fitness level possible — like you! But on marathon day you are the rockstar! Your fans are waiting — even those you don’t know on the side of the course, signs in hand, playing music for you and then at the end that shiny medal they hang around your neck, congratulating you for an amazing run!

So who is “Your number one fan”? – The one that is there for you through thick and thin, fat & skinny, fast & slow, goes to your races, takes your photos — even when they are not a runner… or if they are, still making you feel like a Super Runner?!

Fellow runner support is awesome- The Dream Team in Boston 2012

Here are some of the responses from the

San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors

Monika Carlson of Glam Runner states “My boyfriend Dave – Not only did he get up with me at 4am and drop me off, he stood on several street corners on the freakishly cold 27F morning cheering me on.  I think the #1 important thing to me was understanding the importance of running in my life and respecting it and giving me time to do it. Joining me was above and beyond, Actually, my marathon “wife” Christina (rivaling the wivery of Jojo Reuland and Erin Sheehy) is pretty awesome too. When I bombed a race a few years ago in between checking the medical tent to find out if I had died on the course becasue I was taking so long she stopped to buy me flowers and something to eat for when I finished. True love.. haha.Jojo Reuland replies “Hmm I think mine would be my coworkers, they’re always my biggest cheer squad. Maybe its because we really love the sport, but they’re amazingly supportive of me”Laura Langerwerf shares “My friend Kelly is my #1 fan. She trains with me all the time, even when she’s not running a race. She knows how to pick me up when I’m down, and she even went to Nashville last April for the marathon. :) She’s an awesome friend and an amazing race supporter.”
And Charlie wrote his latest blogpost dedicated to his amazing mom — his number one fan! :)

2009 Boston Marathon finish with my roses

I have been to races where people have traveled far and are alone at marathons — so it really is about the entire marathon community welcoming new runners that really helps the experience. The runners you meet, the fans on the side of the street, the musicians giving their time and effort to make this marathon experience the best ever. Your training is in the bank and you are ready. And on race day remember to enjoy it, take it all in, because you are the rockstar of the day!