East Texas runner achieves goal in an unconventional surprise, with lots of support

East Texas runner achieves goal in an unconventional surprise, with lots of support
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:12 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:21 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Thursday morning, Sherry Laurinaitis woke up thinking she would be taking a casual run with a friend to start her day; however, her fitness community at Camp Gladiator had other plans: a surprise half marathon.

Earlier this year, Laurinaitis trained for months to run a half marathon in Dallas, only to have it canceled hours before due to bad weather.

“It was a lot of emotions. Anger, sadness,” she said.

People came out to support her by cheering with signs and cowbells or by joining her for a leg or the entirety of the 13.1 mile course.

“It means a lot to her,” said her husband Michael Laurinaitis. “I was there with her when we were sitting in the rain right before that race got canceled, and it was a mix of emotions right there, so for the sheer amount of support that she got this morning, I know inside she’s loving it. She’s happy.”

She was not expecting to see so many people there just for her.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a lot of people!’ I’m like, ‘and why is there a camera here?’ I didn’t realize how many people it mattered to them that I was able to do it, that it was - that they showed up for me,” she said when asked about her reaction pulling into the parking lot at the start/finish line.

Friends and family were all on board with helping Laurinaitis achieve this goal of finishing the half marathon, and some chose to run with her, including trainer and friend Kaitlyn Williams. After hearing about Laurinaitis’ disappointment from not being able to do the run in Dallas, she decided to plan something special.

“I know that she had worked so hard, and whether we’re runners or not, I knew that we could pull together to still give her the experience she needed. She’s just amazing,” said Williams.

“She’s very very devoted to challenging herself,” said Sherry’s husband.

Although this is the longest run she has completed thus far, she has big plans for the future of her running career. She said her husband is already looking for full marathons for them to run in the coming years.