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Family time at the Half Marathon

Photo by Ron Johnston From left to right, Sam and Lisa Sutton, alongside daughter Brittany Habig are running the half marathon together as a trio. They plan to cross the finish line hand-in-hand-in-hand.

PARKERSBURG — Sam and Lisa Sutton will have some company when they cross the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon finish line together on Aug. 17.

Daughter Brittany Habig, a Wheeling to Parkersburg commuter during the week, will be with her parents to make it a trio.

“Last year, Sam and I were hand in hand,” said 51-year-old Lisa, a Sistersville High graduate. “Brittany didn’t run it last year.

“But this year, we’re planning on all three being hand and hand crossing it together.”

Last August, Lisa covered the 13.1-mile distance in 2 hours, 55.32 minutes while Sam did it in 2:55.33.

“I used to always run and be at the finish line waiting for her (Lisa),” said 44-year-old Sam, a 1993 PHS grad. “And now, it’s more of a thing for me to do as a family. So, I really enjoy crossing the line together.

“I used to push myself to stay under two hours. But as I’ve gotten older and ran with my wife, crossing the finish line it doesn’t matter what time it is as long as my wife’s there with me.”

Lisa is hoping it’ll be under three hours.

“I really don’t have a goal to run it in so many minutes,” she said. “I don’t set a goal that I know I can’t do. And I don’t set a goal where I’d hurt myself. I just want to finish.”

The 29-year-old Habig agreed and added, laughing, “My goal is to finish it and not die at the end.”

Crossing the finish line as a trio is actually nothing new to Lisa and Habig.

“Me, Brittany and my other daughter Mariah crossed that at the way a few years ago at the Pittsburgh Half and that actually made the brochure,” Lisa said. “We love running it together as a family.

“I feel like as a mother it’s like a lot of bonding time for us. We talk a lot. We laugh a lot. We push each other to the finish line. We like to finish together.as a family.”

Lisa said she got started running about nine years ago after her daughters went away to college.

“I went through an empty nest part of my life,” she said. “I needed something to fill that gap, so I started running with River City Runners. I then ran my first Half and have been running every since.”

Lisa, who has completed 20 half marathons, including The Half, paused.

“I enjoy running,” she continued. “I have a stressful job (Director of Children’s Listening Place) and running in the evenings brings a lot of stress off me.”

After her mom completed the Half, Habig, a former Parkersburg Red Wing, was inspired to run one herself. She said she has now run 16 13.1-mile distance runs, including the Half.

Then, Sam joined in. Of the three, he was the only one who actually competed in sports (football, baseball, basketball and track) in high school.

“I came in a little bit later,” he said. “I’ve always run over the years, but I never really got into it until I saw my family into it.

“I’d be standing at the finish line, and I thought that I’d have to cross it with them one of these days.”

Sam said he has run in a dozen half marathons, including the Half, with his wife.

“It’s my thing, now,” he said.

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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