Sometimes the physical test of a race is surpassed only by the emotional challenge of getting to the start line.
Avid runner Susie Ramstedt Van Den Ameele often ranks among the fastest in her age group in runs that are twice as long as the 12k Sound to Narrows, yet her first attempt at the annual Tacoma race may be her toughest challenge yet.
In honor of her late mother, Susie will attempt the race for the first time, and she’ll be wearing bib number 11844: the same number her mother wore in her final Sound to Narrows in 1999.
That year, Linda Ramstedt was 54 years old and in the middle stages of early onset Alzheimer’s. Susie remembers how proud her mom was after finishing the 12k race in two hours, a walking pace. Linda had participated in Sound to Narrows many times over the years, and her love of the race was even mentioned in her obituary when she died in 2003 after a long journey with Alzheimer’s.
On Saturday, Susie will wear bib number 11844, which was specially printed for her by this year’s race organizers. On her back, Susie will also wear her mom’s original bib from that 1999 race – a tangible memory of her mother to help push her along.
“I’ve wanted to do Sound to Narrows for years,” Susie said. “I’ve run a 25K (about 15.5 miles) and my goal is a 50k next year. Physically, I’ve surpassed Sound to Narrows. But I couldn’t do it emotionally. I know I'll end up tearing up during the race but I finally felt comfortable enough to emotionally attempt it.”
Linda Ramstedt, a graduate of Wilson High School and Pacific Lutheran University, raised her family in University Place and spent summers at Tacoma Lawn and Tennis Club, where she served a term as president. She also served in the PTA, the Junior League of Tacoma, and also was an avid jogger.
“She had always been a huge fan of the race,” said Susie, who will be joined in the race by her younger brother and friends who knew their mother. “And while not the fastest runner, she was always consistent, and always had fun most of all.”
ROMAN MEAL SOUND TO NARROWS
When: Saturday, June 11