A Haglund family record that dates back more than a century was broken last week.
That’s right, the record dates back to just more than 120 years.
You’d think that would make me happy and, in a way. I suppose, I am. However, the mere idea I had to look up the fact the record is more than a century old might give readers an idea about the new family record.
You see, until this family record was broken, I really never gave it much thought. It was a record that could have gone on another 100 years and those in my family may not have given it even passing notice.
There’s a good reason for that, too.
Looking back, taking a close look at my ancestors, I saw no reason to think about this family record ever being challenged.
Now, though, now that it’s happened, it gives me a sense of pride. Yes, I’m proud to say a Haglund actually ran in, and completed, last week’s Boston Marathon.
Take that, former coaches of mine, if there are any still living.
Take that, former coaches of my children, my nephews and nieces, my cousins, my aunts and uncles.
Take that, former Army friends of mine, especially those who watched me struggle through the obligatory mile run.
Take that former baseball coaches of mine, none of whom — that’s right, NOT ONE — ever inserted me into a game as a pinch runner.
Last week, though, among the more than 30,000 runners and among the not-quite-that-many finishers was one runner proudly wearing a participant medal around her neck that read simply “Boston Athletic Association, 123rd Boston Marathon.” Her participant number was 21291.
Granted, Jenna wasn’t born into the Haglund family, but my son, Karl, had the good sense to marry her. And, that’s good enough for me — that makes her the first-ever runner with the Haglund name to participate in and finish a Boston Marathon — a grueling 26-mile-plus run along the streets of Boston that includes several hills en route, including one near the finish that has been the demise of many would-be marathoners in the past.
Jenna, however, persevered. Her legs cramped up — the first mile went relatively smoothly but each successive mile became more and more grueling and more and more painful.
Many runners actually dropped to their knees and crawled up that last cumbersome mile. Jenna did not. Although pain wracked her body as the miles and the clock went on, but Jenna refused to quit.
Like some runners, Jenna did walk some part of the long race, but she never quit.
As my son, Karl, moved from one position near the start, to another farther along the course and yet another even farther down the line, he and the couple’s two children — Anders and Kati Lela — urged her on and Jenna acknowledged that support with a broad smile through aches and pains.
We all, as a family, had acknowledged the fact she’d received the letter telling her that her time had qualified her to run in this year’s marathon.
And, now, again as a family, we applaud her for her great effort. Her time, she said later, probably wasn’t good enough to ensure she’d be invited again next year.
But that’s OK.
Jenna Haglund has already broken a 123-year-old Haglund family record. Even if there’s not an encore performance, a “record” has already been established.
Bill Haglund is a retired writer for the Boone News Republican and Dallas County News. He can be reached at Bhaglund13@msn.com.