In the 6 years since her son Garrett’s diagnosis, Amber Sapp has gone from planning a community 5K to training for her first full marathon! Meet Amber.
Why did you choose to join the Run For Our Sons team?
My son Garrett was diagnosed with Duchenne in 2010. After we spent some time grieving, we knew it was time to get busy and help in the fight for a cure. In 2011, we started Garrett’s Hero Run for PPMD, a local 5k. I didn’t know the first thing about races or running! After a few years of hosting this event, we were connected with another group called Who I Run 4, that paired Garrett with a precious lady in Canada, Catie Sims, who runs for him and sends him her race shirts and medals! Catie flew to Tennessee to meet Garrett in 2014 and run in Garrett’s Hero Run. The following year, she inspired my husband Randy and I to take up running and ran our first 1/2 marathon with us in the Music City Marathon in Nashville on our Run For Our Sons team! Catie has truly become a part of our family!
How many races have you participated in?
My husband and I have completed three 1/2 marathons and a few smaller races since we began running last year: Music City 1/2 marathon, Disney World 5k and 1/2 Marathon and Flying Pig 1 mile, 5k, 10k, and 1/2 marathon all within a 3 day period! I have a local 1/2 marathon coming up in October called the Murfreesboro Middle Half and then my big one will be the Dopey Challenge at Disney in January 2017! It will be my first full marathon on top of the other 22.4 miles in the days leading up to it!
How do you prepare for races?
I’m such a nerd about planning! I plan out my races on a calendar for the entire year now and pencil in my distances, intervals, and weight training days. I originally found some plans online and worked them into my schedule. For my last race, I hired a running coach, who was much more economical than I ever thought!
Do you have any fundraising and/or training tips or pointers you would share with other runners – either advice someone gave you or you’ve discovered on your own?
We use Garrett’s Hero Run each year to fundraise for our Run For Our Sons events. Smaller grassroots efforts such as these can really add up! We get sponsorship through local businesses that we have a relationship with and offer them some incentives in return. Each GHR yields around $15,000 plus helps us educate our community about Duchenne! We’ve also been able to inspire several others to join our Run For Our Sons team over the many races. That’s so encouraging to have support from friends and family alongside you in a race!
What will be the first thing you do when you finish your next race?
I can’t wait to see my son Garrett at the finish line after my first marathon at Disney World! I got all weepy last year when I got to hug him! He gets me through each race–he is what keeps me going when I think I can’t take another step!