Written by Fleet Feet Training Department
On race day, we may start together, but our journey along the course will vary greatly. Like so many of us, this journey has been a winding path for Bill and Donna Sparkes, and it’s still going strong!
The Sparkes’ starting line with Fleet Feet Sports takes us back several years with Donna’s decision to train for a 5k with the No Boundaries 5k Training Program. Inspired by her husband, Bill, and children, Ryan and Caitlyn, Donna decided to take up running. Exercise induced asthma might stop some from going out for a run, but that didn’t stop Donna from completing the No Boundaries Program several times.
Always looking ahead, Donna joined the 5k/10k Personal Best Program. With the help of others looking to pick up the pace a little, Donna found strength in the group, and enjoyed the challenge of each workout. She even inspired her Husband Bill and son Ryan to join.
Much in the same way that asthma was just a hurdle for Donna in her training, Bill wouldn’t let heart problems stop him from running. Bill found No Boundaries to be the healthy way back to running. With the help of his No Boundaries coaches and family, Bill was able to get back into running and complete many 5ks right alongside Donna.
With a healthier life, the Sparkes’ found new opportunities opening up for them. Races and events that were not possible at one point were suddenly on their race calendar. Seeing that running could indeed be a lifelong sport for the two, Donna joined the FFXT program. After some challenging classes, Donna was hooked. The strength she gained in the class showed while she ran out on the roads, and Bill was convinced.
It wasn’t long before the whole Sparkes family wanted to see what was so special about the FFXT classes. Just like his parents, Ryan's enthusiasm for a healthy life proved to be encouragement for all who have the privilege of exercising alongside them. The atmosphere even convinced daughter Caitlyn to join in on the fun.
With their impressive dedication to the sport, Donna and Bill ran the 15k Utica Boilermaker for the first time together this year. The farthest race they have done. A distance that was certainly not easy, was made a little easier as they completed the race side by side. Knowing that the most rewarding accomplishments are those which require some difficulty and hard work, the two hope to complete the Syracuse Half Marathon. With each other to rely on, it should be a fun and rewarding next journey.
If you’re looking for your next starting line, join a team in Fleet Feet Training!