“Someone asked why I’m doing this
and what inspires me. Well, I think it’s easy to see that what brought me
to this place was a desire to honour my daddy in a special and memorable
way. To show the world that his spirit lives on through me. I made a
pledge to train and do this race and thus far, I’ve kept my commitment. And
through each gruesome mile logged, my daddy has continued to watch over me from
” This was the words of Liz Oton
19 days to the New York City Marathon
in which she had challenged herself to do something worthy in remembrance of her late father Chief John AgborTabi
Her training done, her spirits high, her entourage and family ready and at the front line to cheer her on as she ran 26.2 miles to the finish line. With just barely enough time to rest her tired legs and enjoy her medal for being courageous and determined, Dulce Camer was already knocking for a few minutes catch up with her.
DC: How did you truly feel before
Liz: I'd never done a full
marathon before so there was a tad bit of nervousness around pursuing a new
challenge. But I was steadfast and devoted in my training. I went in confident
that I'd done everything that I could in preparation. I decided to trust my training
and to run happy, run strong! I decided I wouldn't give in to fear or
negativity, that I'd stick to my training plan and worst case scenario, I'd
finish - even if it meant crawling to the finish line! There, a medal awaited
me and I couldn't let myself, my dad in whose memory I was running for, and all
my myriad of supporters down.
DC: And after?
Liz: I ran happy! I ran strong! I
smiled all the way from the first stride to mile 26.2! I high fived all the
spectators along 1st avenue (miles 17/18) and danced to "turn down for
what" at mile 20! As I got further into the 20s I began to jump for joy
and at each mile marker. It was my mini celebration of sorts especially as in
training we only ran up to 20-22 miles! I was in awe of what was happening-
what I was achieving with each stride. I thought about my dad all along and the
countless people battling leukaemia. I thought about all the friends and family
behind me and I couldn't have felt more emboldened! Crossing the finish was
quite emotional and I cried but my general sentiment was of gratitude,
accomplishment and hunger! Yes, all I wanted was a cheese pizza! Settled for a
nice salad, quiche and lots of water instead!
DC: What contribution do you think you have made about the awareness of Leukaemia ?
Liz: I believe I've raised
awareness in my community and circle of influence by speaking openly of my
dad’s battle. As you know it's still very much taboo to speak of illness in the
Cameroonian culture. I believe that only through dialogue and open
communication can we stamp out diseases! I also believe that in running this
race, I've shown that we as individuals hold tremendous ability to change the
way disease ravages our communities. Every little bit counts so go out there
and make a difference!
DC: What next for you?
Liz: Right now, savouring my
extra time since race training season is over. Enjoying time with my yummy
hubby! And continuing in my attempts to make the world a better place and
living a purposeful, inspired life. In a few weeks, I'll return to cycling (my
true athletic love), and some more running. I'll start training for my next
Undeterred by these challenges, it is certain we will see Liz Oton in yet another marathon soon! Her goal was to raise $5,000 but she exceeded that and her current fundraised amount stands at almost $6,500. Big cheers to you Liz!
Some images for you below...
Well done again Liz!!