Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) volunteer, Zoe Hochberg, spoke with Sue Lach, captain of Team SHP and elite marathon runner. Here are highlights in this guest blog post.
It is hard to capture Sue’s passion for protecting children. The moment Sue Zoomed in for her interview, her excitement burst through the screen. She modeled her SHP NYC marathon t-shirt and bracelet. Every time she runs, she is wearing green or an SHP shirt.
Sue’s running journey eventually led to her becoming involved with SHP. Just weeks after the December 14th tragedy, she heard SHP co-founder Nicole Hockley speak. It forever changed her, inspired by Nicole’s strength in the aftermath of the loss of her young son Dylan. She was also moved by stories of co-founder Mark Barden’s son Daniel, who had loved running before he was slain at Sandy Hook Elementary. She promised Nicole, “one day I’m going to help you. I don’t know how, but I want to help.” Soon after, she got an announcement about SHP’s NYC marathon team and knew that’s how she could help the most.
Reigniting a Passion for Running
For Sue, running now had a whole different meaning. She’d even considered quitting running marathons at one point.
“I’m running this for Sandy Hook Promise. Anytime I would go to a vigil or a memorial, I’d be asked to hold a candle for this person, hold a sign, and I kept getting Dylan and Daniel, and [they] were always the ones that popped up, and I felt I knew these kids and their families. I felt their presence with me when I was running.”
Sue describes her first year of running the marathon for SHP as “one of the best experiences of my life, not only to be able to be out there for SHP but spreading the awareness.” Sue explained how she tells people, “Running a marathon is one experience, but running a marathon for somebody else, it’s just so humbling and an honor. I’m not running for me. Just to be out there for them is incredible.”
Where Team is Family
Sue always tells people, ‘Once a teammate, always a teammate.’ Whatever little you can do, if it’s sharing a tip, or doing a little fundraiser, that’s awesome. My heart goes out to Nicole and Mark and all the SHP family to allow me to be a volunteer in this capacity. It’s just really fulfilling a void that I had in my heart when all of this happened. I’m helping, in a way, to help fellow people out there conquer their challenges. We’ve had runners that have overcome obstacles by running on the team. It’s a lot of good sharing, learning, growing, and just moving forward.”
When asked to describe her experience with SHP in one word, Sue responded, “Humbling. It’s a very humbling experience and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. It’s an honor to be out there for them.”