Two hours and 35 minutes after Jane Norwood started the Statesman Capitol 10,000 race, she crossed the finish line for the 40th time.
“I kept thinking we were going to be the last one,” she said. “We weren’t the last one. But you know what? Even if we had been, it would have been OK.”
Four years after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Norwood was happy to have crossed the finish line at all, bypassing an emergency bail-out option that her family had set up halfway through the course. Still, she admitted that the symptoms of her diagnosis, which include slowness of movement and balance problems, made this year’s race harder than expected.
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“Especially at first, my legs weren’t quite used to it. But once I got into the rhythm of it, I was fine,” Norwood said.
Norwood’s first Cap 10K was in 1979, the second time the race was held.
“I had this vision that it would be like the Olympics with all these big tall men running full speed ahead and me toddling behind, so I just didn’t even try,” she said. After friends told her that the race was for all ages and paces, she joined and kept it up for the next 39 years.
On World Parkinson’s Day, which aims to raise awareness about the disease, Norwood thinks that’s something to celebrate. The day of awareness falls on April 11, three days after she completed her 40th Cap 10K.
This year, Norwood crossed the finish line with four members of her family and 23,270 other entrants, the fourth-largest Cap 10K field in the race’s history.
“It is a celebration of movement, health, togetherness,” she said.
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Norwood’s daughter, Sarah Faust, was proud of her mother but not surprised.
"The race has been a normal part of our life as long as she’s been my mom,” said Faust. “She’s a good example of finding a way to continue to do the things you love, even in the face of adversity.”
Norwood plans to participate in the Cap 10K for years to come.
“We’re going for 50,” she said.