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Family running Twin Cities Marathon with one special person in mind

Friends and family of avid runner Dan Fessenden signed up to run the 2022 marathon after Dan passed away last year at the age of 70.

RUSH CITY, Minn. — Running is usually an individual sport. 

And even if you ask a group training for the 2022 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, it's most certainly individual – or at least in honor of one very special person.

Dan Fessenden was a runner, but he was also a husband, a father, a grandfather and a friend.

Dan fought lymphoma not once, but twice, and died last December at the age of 70 after going in for a routine back surgery.

His daughter Tracy started running again after he passed as a way to feel connected to him, running the very routes she watched him take when she was a kid.

Then she had an idea: Why not train for a marathon?

"At first I was like, no way. I'm not really a runner," Dan's granddaughter Bailey said, but eventually she relented and joined her mom, Tracy, on the quest.

"He just always wanted us to stay active throughout our lives and this is just kind of honoring his values," Bailey said.

Tracy's son, her nephew and a few good friends also signed on to run the Twin Cities Marathon, not just for the race, but knowing that every training run was a chance to keep Dan close, to hold on to his memory a little tighter. 

So come race day on Oct. 2, the group may split up and run on their own paths, but they'll all have one clear purpose in their hearts.

"It's about doing something to honor him and doing it with our family and friends and that's the best part of all of this," Bailey said.

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