Last week we received a nomination for our Featured Athlete Series from a young man named Eddie. His inspiration is his mom. His hero. Everyday she teaches him about life and how to overcome what might come his way.
So often we take the ordinary for granted. Each day we go about it; our family, our job, our workouts. We repeat. Life rolls on.
But we all know life can come at us hard and fast.
Eddie’s mom is Jennifer Livingston, a NYPD Police Woman, a runner and most importantly a mother. And she’s someone who knows the lessons of life all too well.
Jennifer grew up in Hicksville, New York a town on Long Island. She played some soccer but her passion was running. And she was fast. On a whim from the middle school track coach, she ran an 800m in 2:45! In high school she ran track and cross-country with so much success, received a full scholarship to Wagner College.
But life started coming hard and fast at Jennifer. She battled osteoporosis, broken bones and training setbacks, but nothing would stop her from running, nothing at all, and in 2014, she decided she needed to run the NYC Marathon. It would be her first. It was her city’s race, it was her home and on November 1, 2015 she finished the 45th NYC Marathon in a stunning 3:21! First marathon. Fast marathon! Her time would also qualify her for Boston 2017.
Las Vegas or Bust
It’s 120 miles from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada, and in March, law enforcement teams from around the world, compete in The Baker to Vegas Challenge Relay. More than 250 teams and 8,000 runners participate. In 2016, Jennifer and the NYPD team made up of 20 policewomen from all different precincts and all ranks finished fourth overall. But a few weeks before the relay, life came hard at her again. She had torn her plantar plate in her foot but decided to hold off on surgery until after the race. Three miles into her 6 mile-leg she broke her foot, but she dug in, fought on and once again, proved herself NY tough.
Once foot surgery was rehabbed it was time to train for Boston. When you qualify, you make time for Boston. You always make time for Boston. While training Jennifer began having pain in her right groin, she trained carefully, but suddenly the pain was in her left leg. She was done. Boston was done. She had suffered a fractured femur and labrum tear. Life, fast and furious!
Love, Faith and Grit
Today, Jennifer is on desk duty and rehabbing from hip surgery. She will be back; she always is and will soon be running again with her friends in the NYPD Running Club and the New York Road Runners.
As for Eddie, he’s an amazing and very special 11 year-old. A young man who has the maturity to know the gift his mother gives him every day. A young man in his own struggle with Asperger’s and a young man who could not ask for a better role model.
No matter how hard and fast life comes at Jennifer and Eddie, they’re ready. They’ll always be ready. For them it’s simple. It’s about their love, their faith and good old-fashioned, New York grit.