Kim and Jeanne Marchand are one of three married couples in the Northeast Team Beef program. Kim joined the team in the fall of 2019, and he was featured in our November Story of Strength, titled “Leading by Example.” One year later, his wife, Jeanne, joined the team. Kim and Jeanne are constantly motivating each other, pushing themselves to complete new races, run more miles or tackle new themed running challenges. There is rarely a week that goes by where photos of this active couple aren’t showing up on the team Facebook page. February is a fun month to take a walk down memory lane for many couples and we asked Kim and Jeanne to share how they met.
Kim and I met through mutual running friends at the 2012 Hartford Marathon. We decided to go out after and celebrate because I had just qualified for Boston. The following weekends, we saw each other while running with friends. After several months we began meeting alone on “running” dates. That’s how I started running stronger. Kim would suggest running in Norfolk where it was peaceful and there weren’t a lot of cars. He'd take me on some of the most challenging roads and trails, with hills that were straight up for a mile. I used to say, “let’s stop and kiss after each mile.” The real reason I wanted to stop, was not so much the kiss, but to catch my breath and get a break!
From that point on we became inseparable. We started coaching together for Fleet Feet’s Marathon program in 2013, and also got involved with the Hartford Marathon Foundation. We have paced the Hartford Marathon together since 2013. This gave us the opportunity to run with some of our runners we coached that summer. It was pretty cool to experience their first marathon with them.
Running marathons has taken us all over the United States as we traveled on “runcations” like San Francisco, Big Sur, Vermont City, Miami, Richmond, Maui, etc. Our favorite place to run is Central Park. This became a tradition after the 2013 NYC Marathon.
We started taking trips to NYC more frequently to explore the different running paths in Central Park. On our 3rd anniversary we visited our favorite spot in Central park; John Lennon’s Imagine Memorial. Kim stopped and had me sit on a bench next to him. He pulled an anniversary present out of his running backpack. It was a book of race photos he had taken that year with the last page covered with wrapping paper. Next, he grabbed my hand and walked me over to the Imagine Memorial and proposed to me. When I sat back down, I unwrapped the last page, only to find a photo of my engagement ring with our anniversary date. We weren’t in a hurry to get married right away and knew that we’d find the perfect time and location. The following year we went back to Central park to celebrate our anniversary. The weather was beautiful and unusually warm for an October evening. While we were sitting outside eating dinner at the Tavern on the Green, it became clear where we’d get married; Central Park. We wanted to wait to get married on our anniversary date. The planning started. We had to wait 2 years to have October 19th land on a Friday. I crossed the dates off on my white board at work starting with 730 days counting down to 1. Finally, after years of planning, we were married at the Ladies Pavilion in Central Park on October 19, 2018.
Kim and I have run over 75 marathons together. We push each other with such incredible energy. I always say that alone we are strong runners but together we are unstoppable. When one of us is tired, the energy from the other gets us to the finish-line holding hands and smiling ear-to-ear. Some days when I don’t feel like running after work, I’ll walk into the kitchen only to find Kim waiting for me with his running gear on, and vice versa; we motivate each other to keep moving. I’ll be honest, there is a bit of competitiveness between us. If Kim runs a few more miles than me, I’ll make a point of catching up on miles, and him the same.
Our fuel for running is pretty consistent. We both love a nice porterhouse or ribeye steak for a pre-marathon meal. It gives us the nutrients that we need to not only finish, but finish strong. Post long runs we both share the love for a nice juicy cheeseburger, accompanied with an ice-cold beer!
One of our favorite running highlights was the 2018 Boston Marathon. It was windy, sleeting, snowing, and freezing cold, with a persistent bone-chilling rain. This was one of the most challenging runs we ever experienced. There were times that we wanted to quit with dark moments of silence. We kept pushing through. Finally, as we approached the finish, Kim grabbed my hand and we crossed the finish line with our hands up high.
Our love and determination proved more powerful than the forces of nature that day.