In Memory Of Mom: A Son’s Journey Of Inspiration

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

I lost my mom to leukemia 17 years ago today-the day before her 58th birthday.  Having just turned 55 two days ago, I’m reminded of how brief life can be and the importance of living with purpose and meaning.

During my last conversation with mom in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, I promised her I would  do something significant with my life to honor her memory.  It was the most difficult conversation of my life.  After I offered the eulogy at her funeral I returned to New England and decided to run the Ocean State Marathon in her memory…to reflect on my life with mom.  Serendipitously, I noticed Team In Training-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society signs from the start to the finish.

I contacted the LLS office the following morning and shared my commitment to mom.  I ran the 1997 Boston Marathon with TNT as a qualified runner and became the head coach shortly afterwards.  That began an amazing 12 year journey where, with the help and commitment of thousands of amazing people, we raised nearly $60 million for leukemia research.

This was the most significant period of my life.  I met Lori, Rider was born, and I learned the importance of serving others.  This was a significant transformation for me because I was a solo runner, consumed by running fast marathons and my selfishness was off the chart.  I was also honored to carry the Olympic Torch during the 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.  This recognition resulted from the efforts of so many others so I was simply representing them…the amazing runners of Team In Training!

It has been a blessing to start the Marathon Coalition 5 years ago with Mike Wasserman from Bottom Line and  continue to honor mom’s memory and enjoy my love of coaching.  I cannot adequately describe how honored I feel to have coached so many amazing runners.

Anything I have accomplished since I began coaching in 1996, I owe to them and their inspiring example of selflessness and giving…it has changed me beyond measure.   One of the most important lessons that I have learned is that NOTHING significant is ever accomplished alone.

So today is a day to recognize the contribution of every runner that I have coached.  They have allowed me to fulfill my commitment to mom so many years ago.

Today…I salute you with a heart filled with gratitude!



  1. nmolivier says:

    I am honored to have been coached by you and can’t wait for the next chapter of running!

    • Natalie,

      This past Boston was wonderful…challenging…heart wrenching. But ultimately it strengthened our bond and resolve to come back in 2014…stronger and more determined. I look forward to sharing that next chapter with you, too.


  2. Tom says:

    Thank you for sharing this reflection, Rick! Very powerful.

  3. barb rasmussen says:

    Rick, you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your dedication.


    • Barb,

      Thank you Barb. I appreciate all the support and encouragement you’ve provided me the past 30 years. Your commitment to your health, wellness and fitness have always been an inspiration to me.


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