Archived Story

Former drum major in Boston Marathon

Published 2:17pm Monday, April 15, 2013

Twenty years after leading the 1991-93 Chieftain Marching Band as drum major, Christie (Wade) Cook embarked today on the longest march of her life — 26.2 miles in the Boston Marathon.


“I’m very excited. I can’t wait. I want to soak in all I’ve read about,” said Cook, a mother of three who only began running in January 2010. This will be her third marathon.


The 38-year-old won her age bracket at last summer’s Steve’s Run.


When she was a beginning flute player, her band director was Rich Bressler, who also ran Boston.


Her high school director, Tom Stansifer, isn’t a runner, but cheered her on with a “Rocky” message on Facebook.


Cook expects the experience to be “one and done,” but “every time I say that, my husband rolls his eyes.”


She met Greg, who prefers long bike rides to running, when they worked at Applebee’s in Benton Harbor.


The Kalamazoo resident rose through the restaurant ranks for 14 years until she was in charge of human resources across the east side of the state.


Cook completes a bachelor’s degree in business this December through Indiana University.


Her sons are 11, 9 and 7 and “think it’s really cool.”


Her oldest will run with her the first time Aug. 3 in Grand Rapids.


Wade, who ran her first marathon with friends who convinced her to train, was within seven minutes of “BQ,” or a Boston qualifying time. Then she ran the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City last May. “I thought, ‘I got it, I might as well run it.’ My mom was a runner,” she said of Terrie, who just returned to Topash Street from Florida.


“My 20-year reunion is coming up,” the 1993 DUHS graduate and former cheerleader, said Friday afternoon from Erie, Pa., enroute to Boston to make a weekend of pre-race festivities.


“I guess I’m trying to prove something to myself. With 27,000, I’m very interested to see how it goes. We get bused out to the starting line at 6:30, and I don’t run until 10:20. It’s very structured. It starts in three different waves, with nine chutes in each. I’ve never been part of anything so big.”



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