The scene has been set. The Columbus Marathon, 26.2 miles, Oct. 29th 2000. For Rich Carryer and Michelle Cefola, two 34-year old twins from Pittsburgh, PA, this was the day when months of hard work and dedication would pay off. Just a short time ago, they were both in a rut, heading down the same road as their father, who had his first bypass surgery at age 38. Regular workouts and a sensible diet just weren't part of their lives. Michelle, however, embarked upon a regular fitness program that included various exercise routines, and soon Michelle began to run. The going was slow at first, but soon Michelle was averaging 30-40 miles a week. With this new lifestyle Michelle was able to shed over 90 pounds in 18 months.
Rich was inspired by Michelle's success and also began a dramatic transformation; Rich started a regular exercise routine and also began adding running to his regular exercises. Once again, the running came slow and short at first, but soon Rich was also running 30-40 miles a week. During the first 10 months of Rich's new lifestyle, he was able to shed more than 70 pounds. With all the running that the two were doing, and with all the hard work they already completed, Michelle had the idea that they should run a marathon together as the perfect culmination to months of hard work.
Michelle thought the Columbus Marathon made the most sense from a timing standpoint, and Rich noticed that his employer, Giant Eagle grocery stores, would be opening new locations in the Columbus area shortly after the marathon on October 29th. Rich thought it would be a great way to promote Giant Eagle while they were in Columbus for the event. Rich took his idea to his supervisors and his idea was embraced, as Giant Eagle agreed to sponsor the twins' endeavor. They started a very rigorous 18-week marathon training program, which pushed them to their limits. Their weekly running mileage increased to 60 miles some weeks, and included several long runs - two of which were 20 miles long. While in Columbus, the two planned on promoting Giant Eagle in any way they could. The Columbus Media embraced their story; they were interviewed and appeared in "Run Ohio" and the "Columbus Dispatch".
And so, on Oct. 29th, Rich and Michelle reached a defining moment in their lives. They showed that each and every one of us has the power to change, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They learned that determination, combined with a vision and fueled by inspiration, can lead to accomplishment. With a combined weigh loss of close to 170 lbs., these two twins are now headed down the right road.