It Takes a Team: Sara McDonald Runs with Support Crew after Losing Husband

After their first child was born, Sara McDonald’s first words to her husband, Scott, were “you have to run a marathon with me.” They had a bet, Sara thought it was going to be a boy, Scott thought it was going to be a girl. If Sara was right, Scott would run a marathon with her.


“Nine months later, he and I ran the Chicago marathon together,” said Sara. “We ran the last 200 meters holding hands. That is something I will never ever forget.”


Last July, Scott passed away. While playing hockey, he had a medical emergency and they couldn’t save him.

“I’ve said many, many times that running is my therapy,” Sara said. “I started running almost right away after he passed. I just needed something to make me feel like myself again. Running has always been a big part of my life and it’s something that Scott had always been very proud of me for”


Sara has been a runner since 2005. In addition to helping turn her husband into a runner, she started the club Mums Who Run with her sister, to help coach women to become 10K, half-marathon and full marathon runners.


“I met my team through [Mums Who Run] and we became so close,” Sara said. “When Scott passed, people really came through and you really realize who your real friends are.”


Now, she and her support group will take on Reebok Ragnar Niagara.

“We wanted to do something different that we hadn’t done before,” said Sara. “And we decided to do something you can do with close friends.”


So, they’ll pile in the van to share some laughs and maybe a few tears.


“My mind always goes to Scott, one way or another,” she says. “It’s hard to explain, but I definitely feel his presence at times when I’m running.”


But, Sara keeps moving forward, because of running and because of her family. In addition to her first child, Carter, Scott and she have twin boys.


“People ask me all the time how I do it,” she said. “I just do it. I don’t have a choice now. I make it work, it is what it is. I have three little guys who are worth waking up for every morning.”


Sometimes this means doing her workout on the treadmill, sometimes it means having her kids run with her and sometimes it means getting help from her parents and teammates when she goes out on runs.


“When it first happened, I was like I’m never going to have time to run anymore because I’ll never have time to fit it in, being a single parent now,” she said. “When it’s something you’re so passionate about, you make time for it.”


When Sara and her team cross the finish line at Ragnar Niagara, her three boys will be there waiting. And she’ll be surrounded by her support crew, who helps get her through each day and each run.


Follow their Ragnar Niagara journey on their Instagram, @mumswhorun.

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