Emily Jones is the Last Woman Running

Published December 8, 2021 at 3:59pm.
Story by Nancy McGuire. Photos courtesy of Emily Jones.

After a one-year hiatus, the BMW Dallas Marathon returns in time for its 50th Anniversary celebration. Like many things in 2020, the marathon was re-scheduled from the usual date in December to the spring of 2021. When conditions from COVID 19 were not improving making the event too risky to undertake, event organizers made the difficult decision to cancel the event altogether and start the process of planning for a return in December 2021.

Established in 1971 as the White Rock Marathon, the event was started by Tal Morrison, local running legend, and his buddies from the Cross Country Club of Dallas. The race initially consisted of loops around the lake and had 82 participants. The current course was adopted in the 1980’s and now starts and ends at Dallas City Hall. Over the years, a Half Marathon, 50K Ultra Marathon, two-person half marathon relay, five-person marathon relay, 10K, 5K, the Friday Night Lights Mile as well as Kids Races have been added with more than 20,000 participants registering in recent years. BMW signed on as official title partner in 2016.

In 1997, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TRSHC) was designated as the primary beneficiary of race proceeds. Having received more than $4 million over the last 23 years, TSRHC staff is excited to see the race return this year during the hospital’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. One important and very unique component of the BMW Dallas Marathon is the “Last Man/Woman Running” fundraising challenge. Initiated in 2012, this challenge asks a local radio or television personality to be the very last runner to cross the starting line. For each participant this very special runner passes on the race course, Andrews Distributing donates $1 dollar to Texas Scottish Rite. Last runner participants have included such local media celebrities as Mark Followill, the voice of the Dallas Mavericks, “Hawkeye”, radio host from KSCS, Mark Phillips from WBAP as well as Craig Miller from KTCK sports radio. For the 50th Anniversary race, Emily Jones, field reporter for the Texas Rangers telecasts, has agreed to be the “Last Woman Running”.

When initially approached about this challenge by race organizers, Emily was hesitant to sign on, saying “I’m pretty slow and not really sure how many runners I could pass. At age 44, I don’t see myself getting much faster”.  After further consideration, she agreed and started the arduous task of properly training for the half marathon. Emily started running when she was a broadcast journalism student at Texas Tech University. Running was a way for her to clear her head as well as staying physically fit. She has maintained her routine of running several times a week, fitting it in between her Ranger telecasts and her life as a busy wife and mother of two young children. Having completed several half and a full marathon, Emily knows preparation is key and that she has to get her miles in despite the demands on her time. “My son Henry is my running buddy and sometimes my husband joins on my runs. We want our children to know fitness is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle”, Emily says. 

When asked whether she feels any pressure about her potential performance when compared to previous “Last Runners”, Emily says, “I can only do what I can. My mantra is ‘keep on keeping on.” Having visited TSRHC several times with the Texas Rangers on their holiday missions of spreading good will, she is familiar with the important work done at the hospital. As a non-profit pediatric hospital specializing in the treatment of orthopedic conditions and sports injuries, as well as certain related arthritic and neurological disorders and learning disorders, TRHSC seeks to provide superior medical care to all children regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Every fundraising dollar is critical to the Hospital’s mission, a notion not lost on Emily. Having started a nonprofit herself, Do It for Durrett, an organization that helps families impacted by sudden loss, Jones is intimately involved in raising funds for a good cause. “I’m excited to help and feel honored to support Scottish Rite anyway I can,” she says.

Jones is looking forward to a fun experience. Having friends such as Julie Dobbs, her partner on their podcast The Mom Game, as well her family cheering her on will be a source of inspiration to finish the race without walking, a personal goal she has set for herself. Best of luck to Emily Jones, Last Woman Running, and may all the patients at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children reap the benefits of her hard work on the race course of the BMW Dallas Marathon!

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