Marathon buddies reunite at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

The fifth annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon kept runners on their toes and brought two friends a little bit closer together.

Retired Navy buddies and friends for over 40 years, Bob Bowman and Don Rich reunited as they raced together in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Half Marathon. Rich said, “We met in the Navy in 1981 and became best friends. Once in a while, we’ll get together, hurt ourselves trying to run a race.”

After competing in races all over the world, the men were impressed with what the fifth annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon had to offer. Bowman said, “This was an outstanding course. They pulled it off with military-like precision. The cones every six feet were awesome. The course was awesome.”

Virtual runs just don’t compare to the views from the Mississippi Coast. Rich said, “You have the beach to your right. You’ve got beautiful homes, quite a few spectators, the community came out. I salute them. It helps to have people pump you up a little bit so great experience. This is my second time here and I’ll be back.”

Running a half marathon didn’t phase these runners too much, they took on the challenge and put foot to pavement. “Scared the day lights out of me when he said we were going to run a half because that means we have to race again.”

Both men agree that running is a part of who they are. It has kept them mentally strong and positive through the global pandemic. “There’s so much negativity right now, but you can overcome that. It helps you with that every day. Most definitely keeping happy, literally all the people around me, anyways up in St. Louis, that don’t run are depressed.”

They also created happy memories over the years. The men reunited through Facebook with the help of Don’s daughter, Dayla Rich. “I was like growing up and hearing my dad tell me all these wonderful stories about this time with the Navy and his best friend Bob. I was like, we’ve got to find him and I found Bob’s profile and they reconnected and they started racing periodically since together to get back and reminisce about old times.”

“She got us back together after a period of time we were off. So, we’re grateful for her today, too.”

“Hearing how much joy it brought him and getting to see him do that all over again with my own eyes, it definitely warms my heart.”

Categories: Harrison County, Local News, News

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