Six years ago Rhonda Cloutier set out to run the Boston Marathon and raise money for education.

And she did.

Rhonda has set her sights on another marathon; this one is very personal. This time Rhonda is running for the LIVESTRONG Foundation for her father who has pulmonary fibrosis and esophageal cancer.  Her father has been a big asset to her and to us as a family. “Skip,” as he is known, always has a great attitude and is there to help. Even while staying the winters in Grayton Beach, he was often seen walking 30A, picking up trash to keep it clean. Skip and his wife Sue, were volunteers for the Seaside Half Marathon and he would even walk the 5K with his grandkids.

I know he would love to get back down here if his recovery permits.

 Rhonda organized a team of runners called “Skip’s Skunks,” named for a tattoo Skip had gotten in the Army. Their goal was to raise money for the LIVESTRONG Foundation and run in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7, 2012 to honor Skip. The team was blessed, forming a partnership with Ohana Institute, whose generous support allowed them to fulfill their goals and to dedicate this race to Skip.

 As she trained up and down 30A, you may have seen her. Always following her training schedule, she set an enduring example to me and our kids about ambition, dedication, persistence and excellence. 

It’s not about yourself, but doing things for others. It’s about being a wife, a mother and a daughter. It would be easy to say “not today,” but whether it was raining, humid, extreme heat, early morning, darkness or late night bugs, she did not quit.

Her team headed out early Sunday morning with the thousands of other runners — and in 38-degree temperature.  As we followed their journey through the streets of Chicago, we saw the courage, determination, and excitement in their eyes. As the race wound through its 26.2-mile course, they had individual issues — cold, injuries and pain, but they continued on for the accomplishment and goal of finishing.

After all was said and done, through grit and anguish, they all achieved their goal of completing the 35th Chicago Marathon!

Congratulations to Rhonda, her sister Renee, niece Andrea and  family friend, Donna, we all — family, friends and those you touch — truly admire you!

Skip, this one’s for you!


Joe Cloutier is Rhonda’s husband. The couple calls Seacrest home.