Connie Lawrence

@run2surf grew up playing softball and surfing, but after graduating from high school, she became interested in the long-distance running boom of the 70’s. In October 1978 at the age of 27, she was spectating a marathon & saw a lady who was in her 40’s competing in the race. Connie thought the lady looked ancient and decided that if that lady could run a marathon, then she could also. She immediately signed up for the 1979 Houston Marathon, which turned out to be one of the most painful things she has ever done. She remembers running through Memorial Park around Mile 20 crying because she did not know how she was going to finish the race. Connie says a friend offered to run w/ her for the last 6 miles which helped to take her mind off the hopelessness she was experiencing. She swore she would never run another marathon but the following week she signed up for the Honolulu Marathon! That race was one of her favorites. She trained hard for it and dropped almost an hour off her Houston time. After that, Connie says she was hooked. She stopped hanging around friends who liked to party on Friday nights because she realized it was difficult to finish her long runs on Saturday mornings. Instead her running buddies became her friends & she loved training, traveling, and having fun with them. One of those “friends” was Coach Al Lawrence and they eventually started spending more time together. Connie cannot recall their first, real date that did not have something to do w/ a workout or a race. One day in 1989, as they were walking around the quarter mile track at Memorial Park, Al told Connie he wanted her to go to Australia with him to meet his family. Before she could agree he added, “…and it would be nice if you went as my wife.” He never stopped to listen to her response as they continued walking around the track, but Connie is still amused at how he “asked” her to marry him. Today she can still be found at that same quarter mile track coaching athletes & talking to friends. Although Al passed away last year his picture is affixed to the bench behind her, and their dedication to Houston’s running community will be appreciated for many years to come.