Bryan Massingal's Story

In 2009 I was finishing up my first round of P90X and was starting on my second. I realized I wanted more cardio so I started running 2-3 days per week. The runs were just a couple of miles. I started enjoying the benefit and 2-3 days turned into 3-4 and 4-5 days. I decided to try a race. My first one was Thunder Road Half in Dec of 2009. I showed up, I ran and I liked it. I was hooked. Shortly after I set my sites on the marathon. I started training and ran my first, my second and at some point became aware of this “Boston Qualifying” goal many runners seemed to have. I started researching and realized it was something I wanted to make a goal of mine. Little did I know, it would become an obsession. I trained, I hurt, I dreamed.

As an athlete we’re taught to visualize attaining our goals. As of the writing of this email I’ve logged 1,744 runs since 2009. So many of those included visualizing the day I would achieve the goal of qualifying for Boston. My wife and boys had to be there to cheer me on. That was with just two boys. As the years went on, I chased the goal, the family grew from 2 boys to 5 by 2014. 2014 and 2015 were not good years (for running). I felt that perhaps the Boston dream was over. There was just one problem. I had told the older boys of my goal. It was front and center in our family. I couldn’t allow this to be over. As a father to put a goal on the table for my boys I knew I HAD to achieve it. At some point it became far less about a personal achievement and far more about showing my boys that hard work does pay off, no matter how long it takes.

Fast forward to 2016, I was training for my next attempt at the 2017 Charleston Marathon. Training was going well but with less than a month to go my right hip started giving me issues. If you’ve ever trained for a marathon, you know that just getting to the starting line healthy is at LEAST half the battle. I didn’t know what to do. The typical things I did weren’t helping. I decided to try dry needling. I showed up at Phoenix and told Tatum what was going on. She immediately knew what to do. Next thing I knew I had several needles in my right hip and hip flexor. I was blown away at the result. Within 48 hours I had absolutely zero indication there had ever been an issue. I got to the start line in January 2017 in Charleston healthy. It was on that day that with my beautiful family watching I qualified for the Boston marathon. As I turned the final corner of the race I saw my stepson and he was yelling for me. My 12yo son ran along side me for the last minute or so. I saw my wife, my toddler and my twins. After 6 years of trying I had done it, WE had done it. I was overcome with emotion as I embraced my son and wife. I had shown my boys what it means to set a goal and stick with it no matter what life throws at you. I pray they remember that day forever, as I will. When their goals seem insurmountable, I want them to think of that day.

The point is, without Phoenix that day doesn’t happen. What you all do enables stories like this. It allowed a middle-aged age grouper live out a dream and prove a very important lesson to his sons. It will be a foundational story for our family. I am so very thankful for what you do for me and everyone else in your care. I am #phoenixstrong!

Bryan Massingal