Linda Shaw Thompson

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"Some finish lines just mean more than others-it’s what happens at Boston." These words are written on a huge poster hanging beside our mom’s bed. The large poster is an aerial view of many runners all competing in a race. But if you look very closely you can see thousands of names listed all across the poster so that you can only see them if you look from the correct angle. Listed right next to one of the runners in the picture is "Dr. Linda Thompson." This is our mother on the list of the thousands of runners that competed in the 2005 Boston Marathon; quite an accomplishment considering that less than 1% of people in the United States have ever completed a marathon (26.2 miles). What makes this accomplishment even more amazing is that our mom only started running about 3 or 4 years ago.

Our mom ran for fun all through college but with completing veterinary school, starting her own veterinary practice, and beginning a family, running got pushed to the side. Our mom ran a very busy equine veterinary practice by herself from our house. We grew up riding around the countryside in the suburban with our mom; playing with all the farm animals and helping some while she cured the various ailments of her clients’ horses. It was obvious from a very young age that her many clients highly respected and trusted her. It was through watching our mom’s interaction with her clients that we learned many valuable lessons of respect, patience, and how to treat both people and animals. A few years ago, she made the tough decision to end her private practice and to start up an equine ambulatory program at Iowa State. She would be doing exactly the same thing that she had been doing for many years except now she got to have a partner, teach veterinary students about equine ambulatory, and have more set hours. Also, the phone at our house wasn’t ringing all the time anymore!

After making the switch, she had a little more time to complete her second job--watching and cheering at all of our many sports and extracurricular activities. This was something that our mom always thought was very important. No matter what else might be going on, she always managed to find time to attend everything we did. Even though there were only 2 of us, that was a lot! We were both very active in at least one, but sometimes two sports every season, as well as speech, theater, and band. Even if the sports of the season were not our mom’s favorites, she was always there cheering us on and supporting us no matter how the game turned out. I hardly remember a game when she wasn’t there even though she was working full time with a very busy schedule and training her horse to compete in shows.

When I was a freshman in high school, I began competing on our high school’s varsity cross-country team. This is a sport unlike most others where there are no bleachers to sit in and watch the race. What most parents do is just find a spot and stand there, but in doing this you can only see your child run by you once probably for only a couple of seconds. That was just not good enough for our mom. If she was going to watch, she wanted to see as much of the race as possible, which involved running around the course and trying to see the runners at as many places as possible. This is when our mom decided to pick up running. She started her running program while we were up at the lake the next summer. Now at this point, completing a 5-mile race, let alone a marathon, seemed like a huge challenge. But she stuck with her running and grew to absolutely love it! And sure enough, next cross country season, there she was at what seemed like 20 different places during our 2.4 mile race, cheering loudly for me and all the members of my team.

Soon she began competing in 5K races, which eventually increased into 20K races and then her first marathon. She finished and absolutely loved it; she had a great time even though she was out there running for about 4 hours! Then the plans began for more… At this time she has completed 4 marathons, the most recent being the Boston Marathon, and has plans for many, many, more. She has a strict training schedule, is busier than ever at work, and still is always right there at all of our events, supporting us in everything that we do.

Our mom has had some amazing accomplishments in her own life and she always has made it a point to respect, support, and love her family, friends, clients, and animals. Iowa State has been a huge part of her life, from college to vet school to working there now and of course supporting their athletic teams (and also paying for my college education there!). She has always been everything that we could ask for as a mother and so much more while still fulfilling her own dreams, and this is why she is so deserving of the honor to be listed in the Plaza of Heroines with so many other amazing women.

We love you Mom,

Lindsay and Nicholas

Submitted on 6/7/05