By Rick Musselman, Belvoir EagleNovember 14, 2019
Linda Kedney and her daughter, Maj. Mollie Kedney, assigned to Defense Threat Reduction Agency at Belvoir, have run together for years, with a shared passion for the sport that plays a significant role in maintaining their relationship.
"I started running over 20 years ago on a dare to run the London Marathon and have been running ever since," said the 68-year-old self-described 'Army Mom.'
"When my daughter went off to Lebanon Valley College on an Army ROTC scholarship, I convinced her to start running with me to train and prepare for the many PT tests in her future," Linda said.
Since they started running, the duo has completed 14 marathon and several half-marathons together.
Shared Passion, Teamwork
"My passion for running has become her passion," Linda said. "I use to have a faster pace, but she now leaves me in the dust. What's more important, however, is that we are together at the start line and she's there at the finish line cheering me on.
Mollie agrees. "We might not get our daily runs in together due to our schedules, but we still motivate the other to get our run in for the day and trying to outdo the other's mileage becomes a goal," she said.
A Mother's Pride
"During Mollie's three deployments to Iraq, there were several races that I completed by myself," Linda said. "However, she returned twice from her deployments… to run a marathon with me. According to Linda, in order for Mollie to be ready to run the 26.2 mile distance, it required her to train while on a deployment in a combat zone. "She proved to me her guts and determination to be the best she could be. I was and am to this day extremely proud of her resilience, fortitude and strength," Linda said of her daughter.
Growing, Changing Bond
For Linda and Mollie, running has turned out to be a deep bonding experience--one that continues to grow as years and life events pass.
"When Mollie invited her then-husband-to-be to run the New Orleans Marathon with us, I thought, 'I guess I've been replaced.' I was sure her husband would replace me as her running sidekick," said Linda. "Even though she and her husband have done several races together (without me), it hasn't changed our mother-daughter running bond."
Mollie added, "Running helped bring me closer to my mother, at a time when I was moving out of the house, going to college and starting my own path in life.
"Over the years, we would take turns picking races (mostly for a cool medal or to check off some bucket-list races) and traveling to fun locations to race," Mollie added. She said after getting her Army commission, relocating and deploying to Iraq, the pair weren't able to log training runs together anymore, but continued to train and meet for new races and used races as chances to see each other regularly.
After countless races and training runs, and their share of good and bad results, for Linda and Mollie, the sport is only and always about the journey together--something that transcends bib numbers and finish times.
"Over the years, we've taken turns having good races and bad, but we always start together. And, we know we need to lean on each other to get to the finish or let the other one go and have their good race and be waiting at the finish line," Mollie said. "I've enjoyed being able to share this passion with my mother and cherish the memories we've made together along the way.
Passing the Passion
"My one wish is that I'll be able to share this passion with my children as they grow up and, perhaps, they will keep me running as I grow older," Mollie added. "For now, I enjoy their enthusiasm as they see us on the course and their welcoming hugs at the finish line."