The abbreviated version of the Lynn and Jamie story: We met at a party on May 18, 1985, and have been together ever since. We were engaged two months after we met. The wedding was set for October of 1987 but sometimes things happen. In this case, Lynn was severely injured in a car accident and nearly died. She spent 17 days in a coma. She was unable to talk or communicate in any way for 7 months. She started talking in December of that year and hasn't stopped since. She spent many months in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities and, as a result, has progressed greatly in her recovery. As a result of the accident, she is not able to walk unassisted and her balance is not that great. That hasn't stopped her from doing the best she can to improve her condition. She works out every day at home, walking on our treadmill (she can hold onto the handgrips while Jamie spots her) or exercising on the Cardioglide or the recumbent bike/rowing machine. She also has a raised mat table that she uses for various exercises. She also walks outside down our block behind the racing chair. She has a walker to practice on that she does with her Mom quite often.
Lynn wanted to wait to get married until she could walk down the aisle and after 7 years of intense work she and Jamie were married on May 14, 1994. They live in Tinley Park, Illinois, and had a beautiful daughter, Annalyn, on 8/23/99. Lynn was born in St. Louis and luckily moved with her family to the Chicago area before it was too late. She still says "warsh" instead of "wash" but I guess I can live with that. She graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor High School in 1980 and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign and Chicago and was one quarter from getting her degree in Finance when she was in the accident. When she's not exercising, she enjoys doing puzzles and playing games on her iPad (She's getting into Wordle now). She loves talking with Annalyn on FaceTime.
Jamie was the firstborn child, and the best, of Marilyn and Charlie Parks. He graduated in 1979 from Carl Sandburg High School. He also went to college and got STRAIGHT A'S in ALL of his classes. He only took two courses in night school but he did get straight A's. In his leisure time, he enjoys doing the "Erdles" (Wordle, Heardle, Dordle, Worldle and Globle), watching "The Amazing Race," running and playing with our Labrador Retriever Lulu. He is a retired letter carrier (as of 2018), having worked for 37 years at the Franklin Park and Lansing, Illinois Post Offices. He also has a side gig as a private driver, doing mostly trips to the Chicago airports for an ever-growing list of clients.
Annalyn was born in 1999 and is our "Miracle Baby." We were told to not try to have children because of Lynn's medical issues but we left that up to God and we were pleasantly surprised when we found out that Lynn was expecting. The pregnancy went well for the first 6 months. We found out it was a girl, although when the doctor showed us the sonogram, Jamie thought he saw something and claimed that it was a boy. It was HER arm. At 6 months, Lynn started having contractions and had to be on a monitor several times a day with a direct link to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. There were a few times when we almost had to go to the hospital after too many contractions but things always calmed down. They did give Lynn shots to help the baby's lungs develop. Her lungs developed just fine. She sang in the choir in Middle School and High School along with the Worship Team at church. She also ran cross-country and track in Middle School and High School. Annalyn was an outstanding student and finished High School with a 4+ GPA. She earned her Associated Degrees in Culinary Arts (Baking and Pastry) at Joliet Junior College. She has had several jobs where she has displayed her expertise and is currently employed at Too Sweet Cakes in Vancouver, WA.
Lynn and Jamie run and race together and have been since 7/11/91. Jamie pushes Lynn in a racing wheelchair. We got that in the spring of 2008. For the 17 years before that, we used a regular wheelchair. Jamie started running in 1982 and has done numerous races in the Chicago area. Have you ever heard of "obsessive-compulsive disorder?" Jamie has run (as of 8/8/22) 11,148 consecutive days (over 30 years). Lynn joined with him beginning in 1991 at the Heart and Sole 10K in Olympia Fields, IL. They have completed 308 races and run (as of 8/8/22) 35,465 miles together. They have run 8 marathons together (3 Chicago, 3 Boston, 1 Toronto and 1 Indianapolis). Their best marathon time was in '96 when they finished Chicago in 2:57:07, good enough to finish in the TOP 3% OF ALL FINISHERS.
They started running and racing with their daughter, Annalyn, when she was just a few weeks old (she was strapped in on her Momma's lap). We ran 53 races and a total of 4051.1 miles with her. Now she's old enough to do races herself and she's done many races of various distances so far with a best 5K time of 23:46. Included in those races are now a half-marathon and 2 duathlons (2 mile run, 11 mile bike, 2 mile run). Annalyn and Jamie raced together as a team in a Ride & Tie race in 2008 where they split time running and cycling as they made their way along a 10-mile course. She joined her parents, along with a few friends and relatives to run the Ragnar 200-mile race from Madison, WI to Chicago in June of 2011. She did a total of 12.85 miles in under 24 hours. She also ran with her folks as part of a Parent/Child Team in a 2 X 5K Relay in Plainfield, IL. We finished 1st in our division. Annalyn ran cross-country and track at Grissom Middle School and 3 of her 4 years at Victor J. Andrew High School. Like her obsessed father, Annalyn at one time had a consecutive days running streak. She ran at least one mile every day for a little over 7 1/2 years from just before her 9th birthday until she was about 16 1/12. She ran nearly 5,000 miles during her streak.
Because of their "love" story and unusual racing style, Lynn and Jamie have been featured on television, radio and in print media. You can link to many of these interviews and features on our "Media" and "Articles" pages. It all started when a tape of their wedding was sent to the local Chicago ABC station and shown on the news there in 1994. Runner's World Magazine has had us in their pages many times and honored us as Heroes of Running in 2007. Oprah had us on her show in 1997 and did a follow-up for her "Where Are They Now" show in 2012. A Hollywood TV production company got wind of our story in 1997 and included us in two magazine-style shows, "Ordinary, Extraordinary" (1997) and "Miracle Babies" (2000). Then in 2008, they filmed us running our first Boston Marathon and used that as the culmination of a documentary about us called "Marathon Love." It ran on the Discovery Channel networks and won several film festival awards. You can see it on YouTube (the link says "Lynn and Jamie Marathon Love"). In 2011, we were featured on a show called "Worlds Greatest Heroes on Nippon TV in Japan. We were also both honored to carry the Olympic Torch when it came through Chicago in 2002 as part of the Torch Relay for the Salt Lake City Olympics.
They give ALL of the credit for their individual and collective achievements to God. Matthew 19:26 says, "With God, ALL things are possible." Phillippians 4:13 says, "I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me."
Lynn and Jamie just love to hear from their adoring public. They are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.