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Mother, daughters go the distance

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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At 60 years old, Bobbie Jeanne Williams is proving to herself and others, that age is just a number. The Roseville resident who lives at The Club by Del Webb in Westpark, recently surprised herself, her two daughters and more than 500 trained athletes by completing her first half marathon last month. Williams credits her oldest daughter, Christina Block, for giving her the inspiration and drive to run the 13.1 miles as a fundraising effort for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation with “Team Challenge.” Block was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and last year, had her colon removed. While attending Crohn’s and colitis support groups, Block caught word of the fundraising marathon and approached her mother and younger sister, Angela Winkle, to join her. “At first I flat out told her she was crazy,” Williams said. “I was getting ready to turn 60 and I didn’t think I had a half marathon in me.” After ruminating over the decision, Williams said she had an “aha” moment of role reversal. “Here I was complaining about turning 60 when my daughter was recovering from having her colon removed,” Williams said. “I got so inspired and it was an odd case of baby girl teaching mom that yes, she could do it.” For the next three months, Williams was up at the crack of dawn running several miles on the treadmill in preparation for the June half marathon in Kona, Hawaii. The mother daughter trio also began the arduous task of fundraising the $16,500 for the three to travel and participate with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation “Team Challenge.” Winkle, a Humboldt resident, hosted a dance event for her portion of the funds while Block carted her two small children around their neighborhood and let them “egg” her in exchange for donations. Williams on the other hand, found that raising funds was as easy as championing her daughter’s cause to the dozens of Del Webb residents she came in contact with on a daily basis. “Working (at Del Webb) I am amazed at how many people have been touched by these diseases,” Williams said. “It would come up in conversation and I would mention Christina and the half marathon and people wanted to know how they could help.” By the start of the race the three had raised the necessary $16,500 and together with the other 150 racers of “Team Challenge” raised more than $1 million for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. On June 28, Block, celebrating her 34th birthday, Winkle and their mother Williams embarked on the 13.1-mile half marathon. While originally the three had agreed to walk the marathon, Winkle left the start line and crossed the finish line running. “She amazed everyone, even herself because she never intended to run the whole thing,” Block said. “But afterwards she said that she just couldn’t stop running. Her legs just kept moving and she beat out other runners who had actually trained to run the event.” Williams, the last of the “Team Challenge” racers to finish, danced across the finish line to the amusement of not only her daughters, but the other 500 racers participating in the half marathon. “I had set little goals the entire way, because by the last part your body is just killing you,” Williams said. “Crossing the finish line was the one of many goals I had accomplished along the way, and it was to honor my two healthy strong daughters that taught me it doesn’t matter my age.” As a sales counselor at The Club by Del Webb in Roseville, Williams shares her story with the many people she meets on a daily basis. “I am proud to be able to share this story and be a representative for active adults,” Williams said. “I believe in what I’m living and what I’m doing and this is proof.”