"I was supposed to be in a wheelchair by now, but mom and I are running a marathon"
—Sylvia Bresnik & Pauline Bresnik-Snasdell, marathoners
This October, Sylvia Bresnik is celebrating her 70th birthday with her daughter in Dublin, Ireland...by running a marathon. Again. Ten years ago, she and her daughter, Pauline Bresnik-Snasdell, first took on the Dublin Marathon. Back then, it was Sylvia's 60th birthday, and they plan on tackling it a third time for her 80th birthday in 2021. If that's not impressive enough, there's this: Pauline was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly before that first marathon and was told by doctors she would probably be wheelchair bound by now. Between then and now, Pauline has had a baby — and a whole lot of training time with mom.
"Aside from the fact that Mom is my best friend, we are also workout buddies," says Pauline, who started running with her mom 28 years ago, when she was 14. Pauline was already active — she was a competitive Irish dancer at the time. But she was inspired to run by her mom, who qualified for both the Hawaii Ironman and Boston Marathon in a single year. "She's competed in numerous triathlons — she's a fantastic triathlete and trains with people half her age," says Pauline.
When the mother/daughter pair trained for Dublin the first time, they lived just 20 minutes away from each other in San Diego. Now, Pauline's CPA job is in London, and they track each other's training by phone and e-mail. To stay motivated, they set goals together. And it works. Pauline visits her mom three times a year, and knows skipped training days will mean falling behind. "Those visits are kept keenly in mind when I train in London," she says.
"Running has meant that we've gotten to know each other better as people — as friends," says Pauline. Even so, there was the grueling Mile 22 moment at Dublin the first time. Pauline was feeling wet, cold, and tired. But her mother, who was running out front, decided to pick up the pace. Pauline remembers thinking, "I don't like her." The feeling passed as she picked up the pace and managed to cross the finish line alongside her mother. "I think the reason we can tackle a marathon together is because we have similar life views. We are both motivated to achieve difficult things and enjoy the buzz that comes from accomplishment. And we have so much to be running for."
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