“She inspired me to be a better person”: A runner’s race to keep her promise at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon

Runners hit the streets for the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon on Saturday, November 7, 2015.

More than 20,000 runners from all over the world took to the streets of Savannah on Saturday for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and ½ Marathon.

Everyone had their own special reason for participating this morning, but for one young lady, it was all about keeping a promise to someone she considered a sister.

News 3’s Courtney Cole has the story.

“Yes, this my first time running the half marathon. I never really thought it’d be something I would do,” said Melissa Joyce, one of many participants in Saturday’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon.

But that all changed when Joyce decided participating in this race was bigger that herself.

“..I’m a member of Kappa Delta Sorority at Georgia Southern–and about 6 months ago, my ‘big’, Abbie Deloach, was one of the nursing students who was killed in the awful accident on I-16,” Joyce told News 3.

She says even though she’s not exactly a runner—she was determined to keep a promise she made to Deloach.

“And we were just fooling around in the gym one day…and we were on the treadmill and she looked at me and she said, ‘you know, we should really run Savannah Rock-N-Roll Half-Marathon –and I, you know agreeably was like, ‘yeah of course–we should really train for that…,” said Joyce.

But tragedy struck before Deloach ever had the chance.

“…She never got to do it with me–but I ended up doing it because I made her a promise…so..I did it for her…”

And with her, in spirit…

“Well, for sure [during] my moment of weakness, I would speak to Abbie and for some reason, she would get me through it. She got me to the finish line…especially those last two miles. But I couldn’t have done it without her,” said Joyce.

Melissa says she enjoyed the meaningful experience—but says if she does participate again in the future, she definitely plans to train harder and sooner.

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