OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Sunday was set to be a huge day in the life of a Jackson County woman. Then the coronavirus pandemic happened earlier this year, causing her plans to run in the New York City Marathon to be pushed back.
But thanks to some creative thinking and the support of her loved ones, 47-year-old Tina Fritz accomplished her own personal marathon.
Fritz has always had a longtime goal of running in the NYC Marathon, which is the largest marathon in the world.
Since COVID made that impossible this year, the Gulf Coast nurse did the next best thing: running the marathon virtually, mapping a 26.2 mile course through Ocean Springs.
She trained for this moment for months, running a previous marathon and several half-marathons. The work paid off. She finished the race in 4.5 hours.
Throughout it all, Fritz had the support of her loved ones.
Finishing the 26.2 mile race on Sunday, she arrived at her friend’s house for a triumphant walk under an arc of colorful balloons. It’s that kind of support and encouragement from those she loves that made even a faux-NYC Marathon possible for Fritz.
“Every step of the way, I had someone with me, talking to me and encouraging me, constantly telling me what a good job I was doing even when I felt like I was dying," she said. "So, yeah, the support means everything. I think I had probably more support than if I had actually run it in person. Just tons of support and I’m really thankful for that.”
The Ocean Springs running community is a close-knit one. They are there for all their friends and running buddies. And Fritz’s race on Sunday was no different.
“She’s just trying to pull off a feat of running a marathon and it’s tough to do by yourself," said Reggie Broom, one of her supporters. “When you have others encouraging you and sharing the load, it makes it a lot easier and more enjoyable. We’re really proud and happy for Tina.”
Tina says she still has plans to run in the actual New York City Marathon in the future.