Father's Inspiration Propels New Canaan Marathon Runner

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New Canaan's Julie Lynn, right, stands with her son, Ryan, after finishing a race. Lynn will run the ING New York City Marathon for the second time Sunday.
New Canaan's Julie Lynn, right, stands with her son, Ryan, after finishing a race. Lynn will run the ING New York City Marathon for the second time Sunday. Photo Credit: Contributed by Julie Lynn

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — New Canaan’s Julie Lynn will run the ING New York City Marathon for the second time Sunday. But from an emotional standpoint, it will be hard for her to match it to the first time she completed the race in 2008.

Lynn dedicated her race that year to her father, John. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer three months before the marathon. He died seven weeks after she finished the marathon with her son, Ryan.

“I have always enjoyed running and ran for exercise for most of my life,’’ Lynn said. “My father started me running. He was a dedicated runner and would always make time for a run. He never raced but had wanted to run the New York City Marathon.”

Although that race was emotional, Lynn was struck by the images she can recall in vivid detail four years later. “It is an experience like no other,’’ she said. “From the beautiful view of the city from the Verrazano Bridge to the incredible energy and support of the crowds and fellow runners through the five boroughs, to the excitement as you enter the last few yards of the race in Central Park – it is a special race in a great and beautiful city.”

Shortly after that race, Lynn and her sons were inspired to start a new division of their family business. They launched GoneForaRun.com, which provides gifts and apparel dedicated to runners. The company is represented at many major running expos, including the New York City Marathon expo.

“Running is a lifestyle for me,’’ she said. “Running is a commitment you make with yourself; it makes you stronger and defines you. It's a place of solitude and companionship, clear thinking and no thinking, pleasure and pain, goals and dreams as we challenge our bodies and ourselves.”

Lynn’s goal this time is eclipse the Boston Marathon qualifying standard for her age division, which is four hours and 10 minutes. “During the homestretch, I hope my Garmin is indicated I’m on target to reach my goal,’’ she said.

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