Couch to marathon with Open Heart Magic Charity Team

charity team

“I learned a lot about myself and what I thought were my limits during training. Running for the Open Heart Magic Charity Team gave me a purpose”

Running a marathon can be a daunting task, one which most people think they could never do. We talked to Hilary Goldin, a now repeat member of the Open Heart Magic Charity Team about her incredible accomplishment of going from couch to 26.2 to finish her first Chicago Marathon in the face of medical adversity. She wants to let people know that anyone can topple the mountain, even if it was never one they cared to climb.

Open Heart Magic: Was completing the Chicago Marathon always a goal for you?

Hilary Goldin: Truth be told, the marathon was never on my bucket list. I had never even watched or cheered at a marathon before I signed up for mine. I was never a “runner” let alone a long distance runner. So it never entered my mind that this was something I could do.

OHM: When did you start thinking about it entering the race?

HG: I first started entertaining the idea of running more than two or three miles a few years ago. I signed up for a half marathon but ended up having to drop out because of some crazy heart rate issues. My heart rate gets really high, really fast, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. The doctors were worried that I’d stress out my heart going 13 miles when I had only run 8 at the time of my testing, so I had to drop out.

OHM: So how did not being able to run 13 miles turn into signing up for 26?

HG: Half a year later I was talking to my run-loving friend, Brittany Ritter, about my desire to join the Open Heart Magic Charity Team. She said she’d do it with me – she then went on to join me on the OHM Professional Board – and off we went. Brittany has run a gazillion marathons, and always seemed so happy about it. When she told me I could run one, it seemed so genuine and true. I got caught up in the hype of the marathon selling out, and just pulled the trigger.

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Hilary and Brittany getting ready for the 2012 Chicago Marathon

OHM: Did joining the Open Heart Magic Charity Team help you get started?

HG: I signed up for the OHM Charity Team, and between Brittany and others I knew on the team I was on my way to training, and training properly. They helped me find the program that was right for me and always offered encouragement along the way.

OHM: If you weren’t a runner beforehand, how did you stay motivated while training?

HG: Brittany is MUCH faster than me, but she always offered to do long runs with me, and that made all the difference. A few of my other friends came along for normal size runs, and it was great. Running with people is fun. It’s an awesome way to get to know the city you live or are traveling in, and it’s an awesome way to get to know yourself.

OHM: Can you expand on how you got to know yourself?

HG: I learned a lot about myself, my limits, and what I thought were my limits during training. I also learned a lot about how amazing my family, friends, and the OHM Charity Team are in supporting my goals. Running for OHM gave me a purpose. And I think it gave my supporters a purpose too.

OHM: And what was that purpose?

HG: Running for the OHM Charity Team was my way of raising money to bring magic to more kids in Chicago hospitals. These kids need a reason to smile, and OHM gives it to them. That made it OK for me to post ALL THE TIME on Facebook and send out emails about my progress. It made it OK for me to get all sappy when I finished my first half marathon and got my first medal that wasn’t from Field Day. It also made me really happy to see other OHM runners along the lake front or during the 20 miler. Actually, especially during the 20-miler.

OHM: What happened during the 20-miler?

HG: That was a low point for me. I cried three times. I was close to sitting down and bawling like a baby until someone would pick me up and take me home… or to the beer tent. There was a group of other OHM team members out that day though, and when I saw them, and they saw me, we had a buy valium without prescriptionexchange. Just wearing the OHM shirt got me high fives at the water stations and recognition from other charities and causes who thought I was doing something great. It made me remember that I wasn’t doing this just for me, I was doing this because I was a part of a team. A team of crazy driven individuals that want to help kids smile when they were going through some really crappy stuff. And how can you not want to be a part of that?

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One of three OHM Road Crew teams along the Chicago Marathon course.

OHM: I have no doubt the kids would have been proud of you! Were you still glad that you signed up marathon?

HG: On marathon day I was so happy Brittany added something to my bucket list. I was lucky enough to have friends and family running with me from mile 7+ and cheering along the course. Then there was the OHM Road Crew. When I ran by them my eyes welled up. There’s nothing like being supported by good people. And its pretty fantastic to hear your name blasted through a megaphone.

OHM: Would you ever run another marathon?

HG: The marathon took my MUCH longer than I had expected thanks to some issues with my IT band/hip flare up along the way. That might be motivation to do this crazy 26.2 thing again. I could probably shave an hour or two off of my time with better strength/cross training, stretching, and weight loss. But not right away. I’m going to stick to triathlons for the time being.

OHM: Triathlons?

HG: Yeah, I did my first sprint tri last summer as part of the OHM Charity team and it was awesome. I’m hoping my second will be even better this summer. A triathlon was never on my bucket list either. It’s crazy the things you’re inspired to do when you’re surrounded by the OHM Charity Team.

OHM: As an official marathon veteran, do you have any advice for people thinking about signing up?

HG: Do it. Because you can. Heck, I did a couch to marathon and never knew what an energy gel was before starting training. The people involved with the OHM Charity Team are so driven, inspiring, and supportive that it’s contagious in the best way possible. I can honestly say that the OHM Charity Team has changed my life for the better. It gives me a reason to go out there and do a little bit more than I thought I could do….over and over and over again. It’s made it possible for me to say that I ran a marathon and a triathlon, and lived to tell the tales. My grandkids are going to think I am awesome because of the OHM charity team. Plus, you get a cool shirt.


It’s not just her future grandkids that think Hilary is awesome; we do to. Her story is inspiring to anyone who has questioned whether they could complete a marathon. For more info about our “team of crazy driven individuals,” check out the Open Heart Magic Charity Team page here.

charity team