This story is the third part in a four-part series about our Halfsy Hero Melissa Omar. Our series will follow Melissa and three other heroes as they train for the 2018 Good Life Halfsy.


Melissa Omar is no stranger to having to take one step at a time, even when she’s the only one who knows the struggle. When a tragedy hit her students, the struggle became one they would have to bear together.

“I was doing just fine, handling things. The weather got kind of cold and wet, and the twins got sick. I would be lying in bed and think I heard a cough, so I would check on them. They’re fine, of course, it’s just a cough, but you have to check. Then I’d lie in bed listening for an hour and check on them again. Finally, I’d be able to fall asleep and then I’d hear one of them coughing. It’s just this season, but you worry…”

As her family struggled to get into a groove, Melissa was finding more and more of her own priorities being moved to the backburner. “I was either able to get a run in during the week and just accept that other things wouldn’t get done, or I could get my run done on the weekend and know I wouldn’t have time to run during the week. I was making a lot of concessions.”  Losing sleep, the stress began to mount. “At some point, no matter how much you sleep, you just can’t catch up. You feel tired, and eventually, it starts to take a toll.”

“Then there was just this one bad week.”

“As adults, we know bad things happen and sometimes you have to just keep going… but the kids were having a really hard time. It was heartbreaking. It was hard for all of us, but they were really crushed” Knowing her students were struggling to cope with devastating news was almost enough to break Melissa. “We were all having a rough go, and it got really emotionally draining. It got to the point where I would wake up and just lie there. I wasn’t ready to get up.”

But Melissa knows that triumphs and tragedies are part of any life she could live, and this one is the only one she gets.

“I finally just made the decision that it was time to start again. I decided on a Saturday… ok, this is it. If I miss this run, I’m not going to finish this race. I went to the YMCA and did a 2-hour run, then I did another 2 and a half hours outside. I was happy with that. I know I’ll face some challenges, and because of some of these setbacks, it’s going to be a slower run than I wanted it to be. But I have to accept that this one will be hard and just be ok with that for now.”

It isn’t the first time Melissa has had to run through emotional, physical, or mental roadblocks, but no matter what life has thrown at her, Melissa has handled it with compassion, strength, and love. There will be no shortage of people cheering for her, both on race day, and as she continues to overcome life’s hurdles with grace.

Check back for more Halfsy Heroes, and to read the last installment of Melissa’s story!