Albany Times Union
Running reunion a Nadeau surprise
A family of runners marked the fall 2021 return to organized road races with a half marathon, a reunion and a celebration.
The Oct. 10 Hannaford Half Marathon, in tandem with the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, was the event of choice for the two daughters and four granddaughters of Marva Nadeau of Cohoes, who will celebrate her 80th birthday next month.
“It was so moving. All of the sudden they were all at the finish,” said Nadeau, who has run the Hudson Mohawk half marathon for many years, training and road racing with her husband Ron. “One came from California, one came from D.C., one came from Baltimore, they planned this all on their own.”
She has four grandsons too. But this family gathering was all about the girls.
Katie West, 21, trained at Loyola University with a group of friends. She is a senior majoring in English and Urban Education Policy.
“I’m on our club running team, which I really enjoy. We run together all the time,” Katie said, adding that she and her cousins, who are all in their early 20s, ran cross country and track in high school and middle school.
When her 23-year-old cousin Shannon Fitzpatrick, who lives in D.C., talked to Katie about running the Hudson Mohawk half and surprising their grandma, West had a conflict.
“I was already planning on running the Baltimore one with my club team here. I just love Baltimore and I love running here and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to run it. I had run it previously and it was one of the best days of my life. They happened to fall on the same weekend. So I did both. I ran the Baltimore Saturday morning then took a flight to Albany and ran the Hudson race Sunday morning.”
It was a little nerve-wracking because the weekend was marked by travel delays for Southwest Airlines.
“We were lucky. We were only delayed by an hour. Thousands of flights were canceled that weekend,” she said.
Unlike Southwest, she reached her time goals.
“I ran the exact pace, believe it or not,” she said. “I ran both at 8:59 pace, finishing in under two hours. Luckily Albany features a beautiful, flat course that makes it so fun.”
Growing up watching her grandmother run in the half marathon,
West said it was a thrill to have her close cousins and family all back in the Capital Region for the running/birthday celebration.”
The Nadeau grandparents took up running about 35 years ago, they said. They have five New York City Marathons, a Boston Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington under their belts.
“All these years I’ve never had an injury from running. I guess it’s genetics that I’m still able to do this,” she said. “We were always active growing up but we didn’t have organized sports. We took up running as a way to stay active. The key in life for staying healthy is to keep moving.”
Kelly Fitzpatrick, 21, of Los Angles ran the full marathon. Her mom Susan also ran the half. Cousin Audrey Nadeau, 19, of Delmar joined with the half marathoners. Marva’s four grandchildren and two children gathered at the start and ran with Marva during the final stretch, an event captured on video as a keepsake and inspiration for future generations.
One of the highlights for Marva was having a granddaughter who wasn’t a runner take part. Katie’s mom, avid runner Sandy West of Clifton Park, ran with her niece Audrey.
“We weren’t as disciplined as mom with training, but we did it,” Sandy West said.
“Now she’s going to run the Turkey Trot,” said Marva. “That makes me so happy.”