January Runner of the Month
Our featured Runner of the Month is Chip Parrott. Born in 1953, in Florence SC, Chip worked for 35 years as a Health Physics Technician at the H.B Robinson Nuclear Station before retiring to Little River with his wife Jeannie. They met on a blind date and have been happily married for 30 years. Their son Taylor was born in 1994 with cerebral palsy, weighing only 4 lbs. with special needs. Chip says Taylor is the best son in the world,” he never complains and I learn from him every single day.”
Chip started running while living in Florence, joining the SoleBlazers running club. His reason was mostly based on trying to get healthy but it motivated him to quit smoking. As most runners, he started out walking which eventually led to running.
What motivates and keeps him running? Meeting people! He thinks of his running friends as family. He considers himself the luckiest guy in the world to have met and run with so many nice people from all parts of the U.S. He still thinks of himself as a “newbie” compared to many of our longtime runners. Chip explains it as “running binds us, we ‘get’ each other- we know the joy of a great race, where everything comes together and the disappointment of a bad race-we share the good times and the bad times”
He says “running gets in your blood, I don’t feel right if I don’t run every week”- at least three times, along with swimming, spinning, yoga and weight training. He is proof that age is just a number! His Saturday morning long runs with the Lil Pigs group are his favorite, making him feel good the rest of the day having run 8-12 miles with his friends. His goal is to continue by staying healthy and avoiding an injury that could sideline him, as well as seeing his doctor on a regular basis.
When asked “what does the GSRC mean to you?” – Chip get a little emotional and long winded! To him, it’s all good things- he’s proud of everyone’s accomplishments, loves listening to their stories during a run and lives by a secret code “what is said on the run(road), stays on the run.” He is amazed by a friend who survived being hit by a car, by those who have run during a severe illness/injury while never complaining and inspired by those friends who race in a wheelchair with the brightest smiles- the stories are endless. Chip always comes back to his statement “we’re family- we support and care for each other.” His son Taylor also is part of the club- he “runs” races in his wheelchair as part of the Ainsley’s Angels. Chip and Jeannie are always there at the finish line cheering all the angels on.
Chip’s advice: “don’t compare your pace to others- one of the things most runners do (especially new ones). Your best race pace could be another runner’s worst- we are all running for different reasons and at different levels. Seek advice from those you run with- some are serious trainers/runners and others running for ‘fresh air’- find your own space. The most important thing is that you enjoy running and have fun.” For new runners- “best to start in the fall or winter- the summer is brutal”.
Chip’s most memorable race was his 1st 5k- it took a lot of courage to start but felt so accomplished crossing the finish line. What new runner doesn’t relate to that? After finishing his 1
Marathon in 2014, he headed to the GRSC tent and was surrounded by “family” hugging and screaming for him- “I just completed a Marathon!!” It was quite a moment for him that he still cherishes. He credits his faith in God for his wonderful life, stating “ I am thankful for all that God has done and given me”.
Chip has become a familiar face at all GRSC races- when he’s finished running- he goes to the finish line to cheer and congratulate the runners. He volunteers frequently, even with his busy family schedule. We hope that if you have not already met or know Chip- the next time you see him at a race- go introduce yourself- you won’t regret it- he’s the guy that everyone wants to hang with!
Jan. 2019 D.Gilardi