My Story - Steve Larson
“This is my first marathon, and prior to running I was an avid weight lifter. My idea of cardio was a three mile walk on the treadmill at the end of my lifting or sometimes I would lean on a stair master. My friend Doug Wiehe was an avid runner and multiple Grandmas’ participant and would give me a hard time about not running. I would return the jabs about his constant running. This went on for a year or two. Doug ran the River Hills Mall down here in Mankato and would call me a “mall walker.”
At my son’s 5th birthday party my brother and I were discussing the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon and how we should do it. I started my training the next week at the YMCA. Doug was amazed to see that I was running. I explained the idea my brother and I had and after time he was telling me he would have me running marathons.
Fast forward to last summer, the end of August. I was sitting home watching a Twins Game and my wife comes to me in tears after being out with some women from our church. Through her tears she tells me that Doug Wiehe was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier that evening. As I type this I remember the night very clearly. After a couple hours of shock, grief and tears we were talking and I tell her I should run Grandmas next year. The next day she takes some sloppy Joes/ barbeques to Doug’s widow Tanya. While she is there my wife tells Tanya what I said.
The day after that at Doug’s visitation Tanya introduces me to her and Doug’ families as the guy running Grandma’s with her next year. As much as I tried to find a way out I couldn’t. I tried to tell my wife that there was no lodging when I tried to register and she found one of the last two camping spots at Indian Head Campgrounds. So I registered and am in. I have been following the Novice training program and coming along well. This has been a great experience. I have met a lot of people through this down here in Mankato that have been runners and were surprised to see me out that far on the trail. Doug had said he would have me running a marathon, I wished it wasn’t under these circumstances but I know he will be running with me and Tanya.
I wrote this in my Facebook notes 6 years ago, I have since run Grandma’s every year and have become known as the guy with all the bracelets and the Grandma’s Tat on his calf with RIP Doug on it. This will be my 7th marathon and every year as I enter Duluth from Two Harbors at mile 19 I begin to cry thinking how this has changed my life and how my life has changed since I began this venture.”