LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Sunday was the 40th annual Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon boasting almost 17,000 participants. The sky was clear and the temperature was cool to start, getting warmer as the day went on.
However, for the Champion family, Sunday was about much more than a race. They planned a surprise gathering at the halfway mark of the marathon to support Erin Wood. Wood ran for her mother, Kelley Champion who passed away in March after a long, 12-year battle with leukemia; She was 62-years old.
The family thought the marathon was the perfect event to celebrate Champion's life and Wood's running.
"It takes a lot of strength and determination you know, and commitment to be in a marathon and I think Kelley fought her battle with leukemia with the same strength and determination," said Shirley Schroetlin, Champion's sister.
The surprise was a success, Wood's face lit up as she ran past her family members, high-fiving them.
To make the day even better, Wood achieved another goal, she qualified for the Boston Marathon with only 14 seconds to spare.
When she finished the race her family greeted her with hugs, tears, and they all agreed that it was a great day to honor Champion.