Wanting to improve her physical health led Strafford resident Rosamond “Roz” Mason to complete her first road race at this year’s Father’s Day 5K in Dover on June 18.
Roz, a retired clergy member in the United Methodist Church, tested positive for COVID-19 last August. The virus left her weak and in need of physical therapy which motivated Roz to exercise and start aquatic fitness classes. After undergoing bariatric surgery on April 6 at Mass General Brigham Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, she participated in the hospital’s online bariatric support group. Members of the group suggested a group walk at Willand Pond in Somersworth, which became a big turning point for the 72-year-old.
Roz was hesitant to walk the entire trail of almost two miles; but she wanted to meet the support group members. She brought her rollator, which she affectionately calls “The Spunk Mobile” for balance and started out on the trail. The New England sports fan got to the half mile sign, proudly took a picture next to it, and walked back to the trailhead, completing a one mile walk. After the walk, group members suggested signing up for the Father’s Day 5K, which benefits Greater Seacoast Community Health’s network of integrated health care services.
“I wasn’t sure I could walk three miles, but I wanted to try,” Roz said.
The morning of the race, Roz wasn’t sure how it was going to go. When all the race participants lined up at the start line, she stood off to the side watching everyone start the race. Then she joined the group and began walking the 3.2 mile course.
“I just put one foot in front of the other,” Roz said.
As Roz continued to walk the race course, runners were coming toward her – cheering her on and giving her high fives as they passed by.
“Everyone was so supportive,” she said.
Roz noted how the volunteers handing out water made sure that she got some for which she was grateful because she didn’t want to stop to rest.
“When I realized that I was halfway through the race, I was determined to finish,” Roz said.
That determination kept her going through the last mile of the course when blisters started slowing her down. Roz’s support group members came to walk with her as did another race participant who was impressed with her persistence.
“By the time I finished the race, the official finish line arch had been taken down, but the volunteers set up a special finish line just for me and I crossed it with my friends. It was a very emotional moment for me. It still is,” Roz said adding that this was just two months after her bariatric surgery. “I was amazed that I was able to do it.”
While most of Roz’s family lives in the Seacoast, she didn’t tell any of them that she was participating in the Father’s Day 5K because she wanted to surprise them. They were certainly surprised and are interested in doing next year’s Father’s Day 5K with her.
We look forward to seeing Roz again at next year’s Father’s Day 5K – with or without The Spunk Mobile!