“I don’t even like running,” said Suzie Flores, 33, of South Orange, N.J. “But it’s a really good feeling setting out to do something that difficult, and then actually finish it.”
Almost everyone in the Flores family has gone running with at least one other member at one point or another. Suzie finished the New York City Marathon five years ago. Suzie’s sister, Rebecca, is an avid runner, having completed two full marathons, in 2006 and 2010. Her husband Bill, 42, ran this year for the third time. So did her brother, David, 36.
But this year, the Flores siblings were most focused on seeing someone else cross the finish line: their mother.
Mary Ann Flores, the 61-year-old matriarch, finished her first New York City marathon, making her the fourth member of the Flores family to participate in the annual event.
She was joined by members of her family for different stretches of the race: Her husband George, 64, accompanied her for several miles in Brooklyn; her eldest daughter Rebecca Austin, 39, joined her later in Queens; and Suzie ran with her in the Bronx.
The matriarch’s family has been involved in her running from day one. When Mary Ann first started running in 2010, her son David ran with her. “David was the one who really got me going,” she said.
“David trains with my mom, I bully her into signing up for races,” Rebecca added.
Mary Ann said she began running as a means of stress relief, and coping with the grief from the loss of a friend. Initially, running was a means to spend time with her loved ones; exercise was just a byproduct. But at the behest of her daughter, Mary Ann entered the marathon lottery.
“I definitely didn’t expect to get in,” she said. “I was floored when I found out, and I had to train a lot harder than I was originally prepared for.”
In July of this year, she suffered from a stress response, an injury similar to severe shin splints. Until a few days ago, she wasn’t able to run without pain. She didn’t do the recommended 20-mile pre-run, but she was able to run 13 miles comfortably.
She made good on her goal to complete the marathon, with help from her family and friends along the way.
“They’ve all been really patient, and I’m really slow,” said Mary Ann.
“We’re probably not the fastest group but we always finish,” David said.