Longtime friends, Monica, Sarah, Josh and Liz share a special bond of friendship with a story that begins more than 20 years ago. Like most of us fortunate enough to experience true friendship, their friendship has seen them through the thick and thin of life – from loss and divorce to new beginnings and life joys. After running the Marquette Marathon together a few years ago, they settled on the team name “Three Flowers and a Stem”. Now living in different states, as soon as they heard about the Fiercely United Virtual Run they knew they had to reunite their running team for the “Three Flowers and a Stem” relay!
Here’s the story of their inspirational bond of friendship and why running the Fiercely United Virtual Run is so important to each of them:
Chuckling over the 4-way text she shares with her friends, Sarah describes the “3 Flowers and a Stem” friendship as, “a rare connection, a fierce loyalty, a joint respect and love in its purest, selfless, most joyful form”.
“It’s always been about more than the miles,” said Sarah. “It’s a beautifully fierce friendship. One tough supportive loving stem and three grateful loving and bonded flowers.”
Josh and Liz have known each other since elementary school when flirting meant you tripped each other or called each other names at recess. In 2008 Josh finally convinced Liz to marry him – despite the elementary school name calling. Before he was able to convince Liz to marry him, she was working as the receptionist at Monica’s hair salon. Monica was Liz’s supervisor but their work relationship quickly transformed into an unbreakable friendship of more than 20 years. Josh would visit the salon and pretend he needed yet another haircut when in reality he was just there to try and win over Liz (needless to say Monica says his hair was always quite short back then!), all the while Josh also unknowingly formed a special friendship with Monica as well.
It wasn’t until many years later that Monica met Sarah through a mutual friend (who happened to be Tori one of the Fellow Flowers founders) and they both had an instant connection. She knew immediately that Liz and Sarah were friendship soulmates and she was determined to connect them. As soon as the ladies all met – they quickly formed an undeniable bond. Lets not forget about “the stem” aka Liz’s husband Josh, who also accepted Sarah into their fierce friendship trio making it into a foursome. Josh notes, “Sarah has one of the most genuine personalities that makes you feel like you’ve known her forever”.
And while Josh warns it may sound cheesy, he adds, “the older I get the less I care about the quantity of friends and more about quality. All three of these women are incredibly strong, loyal and funny. What you see is what you get! Now that Liz and I have moved to Pittsburgh, we only get to see Monica and Sarah a couple of times a year. I doubt that any of us are happy about that, but when our paths do cross we never skip a beat and it’s like we’re just grabbing a drink on some random Tuesday. I love that!”
Why is maintaining and honoring friendship so important to this fierce-some foursome?
They all agree, friends are their family and your friends are worth it. To honor a friend and maintain a friendship so it blossoms is to honor yourself as well.
“My friendships add the sparkle and shine to my days and I cannot imagine life without them,” says Sarah.
Recently going through some of the darkest times in their lives, Liz and Josh experienced unimaginable loss after losing two close family members to cancer within just a couple of weeks.
“While we both absolutely leaned on each other just to get through the day,” said Josh. “I don’t think we could fully support each other since we were both dealing with the same thing at the same time. Monica and Sarah (and many others) were there for us for anything and everything through that entire 6+ month process. I’d never wish what we went through on anyone, but it is amazing to feel fully supported and know that you can truly rely on your friends for absolutely anything.”
When the opportunity to come together and run the Fiercely United Virtual Run as a team – a race that honors friendship and a race they could run together despite whether they were together on race day or not, presented itself, they knew they had to reunite the “3 Flowers and a Stem”.
Why run the Fiercely United Virtual Run together?
“Because we can,” said Sarah. “It allows us to connect since we are spread out across the map as Monica says. Josh is forever our stem. Not a chance we are getting a replacement – he really doesn’t get a choice. Liz asked us all and we United and said YES. When you have the bond we do, you fully grasp what Fiercely United means.”
Already planning how to make this race as memorable as their first race together, the team is still working on the details. If they can’t all reunite in Pennsylvania to run it together, they will settle for the next best thing thanks to technology, a fun Facetime call between relay hand offs and then a Facetime celebration at the end – with none other than bloody marys to cheers with! Of course outfits are an important detail so team tanks are a hot topic on the 4-way group text and of course orange flowers will be worn by all (yes Josh included, he’s very comfortable with his masculinity!).
What would you tell someone on the fence about running the Fiercely United Virtual Race?
JOSH: Personally, whenever I’m on the fence about something, I just watch this Shia LaBeouf video that convinces me to ‘JUST DO IT’!
LIZ: Honestly, I’ve been loving virtual races lately. I feel like I’m part of something – participating – without being there. If you’ve never run a race before, a virtual race is a great ‘first’. Personally, I love the atmosphere of a ‘live’ race. But, it can be intimidating at first. A virtual race is the perfect way to dip a toe in the water without jumping all the way in. And, this one has a pretty sweet medal.
MONICA: Do it….Always do it….Fun… Do it for you….
SARAH: Find your why… A virtual race can seem disconnected but with your friends in stride, it’s pretty special.
Have you called your BFF/BRF lately? Maybe it’s time to take a quick moment to call them just to say hi and hey why not ask them to join you by running the Fiercely United Virtual Run together on August 29, 2015?
(Psst…what’s even better than this? Flower It Forward is just around the corner so starting August 1 you can register for the Fiercely United Virtual Run and add a couple flowers to give to your friends as gifts for 50% off. Make sure you are on our email list to receive the discount code as soon as it’s live August 1!)