A Tulsa woman is back home after finishing her final marathon in a cross-country mission to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Elizabeth Gray’s abuser told her she would never run a marathon, let alone 50 of them.
Her ex-husband abused her for years until she got the courage to leave. She’s been lacing up her running shoes ever since.
“When I crossed that finish line yesterday, I was nothing but a bottle of nerves and a bottle of emotions,” said Gray.
Emotions that started when Gray ran her first-ever 26.2 miles in 2012, two years after leaving her ex-husband.
“He was abusive before I chose to marry him, but I always believed that he would change,” she said. “He never changed. Things got worse.”
After three years of abuse, she not only found the courage to leave, but to share her story – raising awareness about domestic violence on stage and on the pavement.
“I didn’t just find my voice in here and in here, but in my footsteps, in my running shoes,” stated Gray.
Her voice grew so loud Runner World heard her story. Elizabeth was a top 10 finalist for the cover in 2016.
“If running can help me cope and empower me to be a better person, a better mother, more fit, feeling good about myself, then I could sure do this to help a lot of other people,” she said.
One in four women are victims of domestic violence. Oklahoma ranks number four in the nation for women killed by men.
“It helps me, knowing that if I could save one life then I’ve done my job,” Gray said.
After six years, 50 states, and more than 1,300 miles, she says that job is far from finished.
“I’m going to keep telling my story!” she declared. “If I can overcome these obstacles, and if I can inspire somebody just a little bit, they can overcome their obstacles too.”
Gray is now getting ready for her first 50-mile run coming up on Labor Day weekend.
When she’s not training, she’s writing a book, working on starting a non-profit, and doing public speaking about domestic violence.