The Story

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 (or was it Tacoma). But seriously folks, She remained in a vegetative state (not Missouri). Sorry, I just can't help myself. She started talking 7 months later and hasn't stopped since. I think you can tell who's writing this part. 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. 

 

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 for 16 years. Or something like that. Maybe it just seemed that long. In her spare time (which she doesn't have much of), she enjoys hanging with her daughter more than anything.  

 

Jamie is the WORLD'S BEST HUSBAND according to Lynn. OK, she lost a bet and I got to put that in here because of it. He 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. So he only took two courses in night school but he did get straight A's. In his leisure time (yeah, right), he enjoys hanging with his daughter, watching "The Amazing Race," running and playing with our two Labs, Lulu and Nell. 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. Call (708) 415-0619 to book rides.

 

We 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 3/31/21) 10,655 consecutive days (over 29 years). Lynn joined with him beginning in 1991 at the Heart and Sole 10K in Olympia Fields, IL. They have completed 296 races and run (as of 3/31/21) 33,019 miles together. Their 24th and 36th races were the 1996 and 1997 Chicago Marathon. Their 169th race was the 2007 Toronto Waterfront Marathon where they ran it in 3:15:24 and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Race #171 was the 2008 Boston Marathon. They finished that in 3:24:46. #279 was their 5th marathon together, the 2017 Chicago Marathon. They finished in 3:33:35 and qualified for another Boston Marathon. Of the 5 marathons they had run up until this point, they had qualified for Boston FOUR times. Unfortunately, their 6th marathon, Boston in 2018, was not a career highlight. An all-day driving rain, coupled with 38-degree temperatures and 30 mph headwinds made for a miserable experience for both of us. We finished without stopping and somehow didn't get hypothermia, but those were the only two good things to come out of that race. We have plans to run at least one more marathon so the monsoon of 2018 isn't their last one but that is up in the air right now because they weren't chosen for the 2021 Chicago Marathon. 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). Unfortunately, she's grown to the point where she's too big to race with (well, she's nearly 22 now). We did run 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. You can e-mail them by clicking here on lynjame@aol.com. They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.