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Just Don’t Quit: Fallen Warrior Runners

Posted on Friday, May 31, 2024 at 11:15 am

TRACY HARRIS – Staff Writer –

The Ray Family From left to right: Victoria, Zach, Jen, Levi, Bentley, and Melissa

Zach and Victoria Ray came all the way from New Jersey to run in the Fallen Warrior Foundation run this year. Also running in the race were Lewisburg residents Levi and Jen Ray and their son Bentley. Levi and Zach are brothers, both Veterans. Their mom Melissa ran too. The family ran the 11 miles from the Lewisburg square together on Memorial Day.

Zach and Victoria were following protocol when they showed up Zach said. “Levi basically told me, ‘hey y’all are coming and doing this,’ he didn’t really ask me. So we started training.” Victoria looked at the Couch to 5K and it said she would not be ready until August and Zach had not been actively running or training either. The couple knew they had to get busy.

The couple worked together with friendly competition to encourage each other over the past month. Zach laughed as he discussed training with his wife, “We trained and I’d got up to six miles. I thought ok I’m ready. I’m good enough. I’ll be able to do it.  The biggest thing is like what you learn in the military – just don’t quit. It’s mind over matter.”

Victoria said, “Seven weeks ago we signed up for the race and I couldn’t even run a mile. Then a week ago I did seven straight. Seven miles! I don’t know how I did it. I have learned a lot about myself, about my body and my mind. You don’t have choice when you’re going to be running 11 miles I guess.” So just a week before this run, she was still getting ready to do the event.

The family did not know the organizers of the Fallen Warrior Foundation nor Sgt. David Hierholzer who the event is in memory of, but they were happy to work together for a good cause.