Amy Counce considers herself fit — she attends Yogalates classes regularly, she said.
“And that’s not easy. But I wouldn’t call myself a runner,” the Baton Rouge attorney added, even after finishing the Woman’s Hospital Foundation Half Marathon on Nov. 16.
“I’m more of a run-walker, I guess? There are a lot of ways to describe what I do, but running wouldn’t be one of them. I’m stubborn, that’s probably key,” she said.
Nearly 1,000 people signed up for the race, which also included a 5K, and runners had the option to make the change a few miles into the half marathon — 13.1 miles total — and finish a 10K — about 6 miles, instead, said Amiee Goforth, a Woman’s Hospital representative.
In the half marathon, 410 runners crossed the finish line, according to race results, while another 220 finished the 10K, and 115 finished the 5K. Proceeds from the event will go to programs at Woman’s Hospital and the Woman’s Hospital Foundation.
“I told myself if the weather was bad, or if I just didn’t think I could go on, I would make the left turn at the split, and just do the 10K instead. But the weather was beautiful, so I kept at it,” Counce said, finishing the race in just under 3 hours.
While parts of Baton Rouge were being soaked in rain with forecasts predicting rain, the course — which started and finished downtown across from the USS Kidd — was pleasant and mild.
Counce said she was racing to support the hospital. She’s been a fundraiser and supporter of Woman’s for years, she said, partly because she believes it’s a great resource for women.
“It’s the only independent, freestanding hospital exclusively for women and children in the country,” she said.
“They have wonderful educational programs and sexual assault services to collect evidence,” she said.
She also supports Woman’s because of the support the hospital has given her family.
“I’ve had 7 nieces and nephews born at Woman’s, 2 great-nieces born there, and a lost a sister, Katherine, in 1994 who was treated for ovarian cancer at Woman’s,” she said.
Woman’s also has a human donor milk program, in which donors provide milk for babies whose mothers are either sick or otherwise unable to produce milk for their premature babies, Goforth said. And in cases where babies are born premature, she said, it’s important that infants get the health and immunity benefits studies have shown human milk to provide.
In addition, Woman’s provides help for new mothers who want to breastfeed, state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care and mother-to-child HIV transmission prevention.
“We’re lucky to have it right here in Baton Rouge,” Counce said.
“So I did it. I finished,” she said, adding that she came prepared with ancillary support.
“My niece was running the 10K, so she finished early. I gave her my extra running shoes so she could bring them to me on the course if my feet got wet,” she said.
“They never did because it didn’t rain, but I called her anyway, because I could feel a blister coming up on my left foot,” she said. “That did the trick. No blisters. But when I crossed the finish line, I was done. I didn’t even go to the finish festival. All I wanted to do was go home, soak in a hot bath and sleep,” she said.
She is considering another half marathon in January, she said — The Louisiana Half — because a friend convinced her to sign up.
“But I think after that one, that’s all the running I’ll be doing. I’m glad I did it, though.”