Mandy Ziegler-Youker: Running to show support

Mandy Ziegler-Youker (center, with puppy) with her marathon support team (from left): sister Becky, grandmother Diane, mother Pam, father Joe. | Submitted
Mandy Ziegler-Youker (center, with puppy) with her marathon support team (from left): sister Becky, grandmother Diane, mother Pam, father Joe. | Submitted

Mandy Ziegler-Youker of St. Charles ran her first Boston Marathon in 2006 and will be back on the course Monday for her second.

Of 2013, she said, “I remember one of my coworkers [at Fermilab in Batavia], a fellow runner, calling me and telling me to check the Internet because something horrible happened at the Boston Marathon. I could not stop watching the news reports for the remainder of the day and was glued to CNN until the individuals responsible for such a horrific event were caught. I did know a few people who ran in it, but luckily they finished before the bombs went off.”

Looking back, Ziegler-Youker said, “It reinforced the fact that we are susceptible to violent acts of terrorism in any arena. And it has made me appreciate the fact that I can run and I really admire the less fortunate who continue to run after losing limbs.”

To that end, Ziegler-Youker said she’s running the race this year to show support for those killed and injured last year.

“We, as Americans and runners, will not let the terrorists win, because we are strong and we will fight back,” she said.

Monday’s race will be Ziegler-Youker’s 15th marathon, which includes 12 in a row in Chicago, starting in 2002. For her, they are a family affair.

“I have an awesome support team during all of my marathons,” she said. “My mom, sister, and grandma have not missed a single one. I am very fortunate to have them and could not do it without their support.”

Ziegler-Youker added, “Spectators make the marathon even more special. Boston has the best, but Chicago is a close second.”

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