Picture this: swimming in freezing cold water with people kicking you in the head and getting stung by jellyfish. Then hop on a bike with hard wind blowing all around you, only to run another twenty miles afterwards. Would you do it? Well that’s exactly what Marnie Hammel did. And she did it all for a great cause.
Hammel is the owner of Two Maids and A Mop, a cleaning business in Montgomery County, DC, and soon Northern Virginia. She teams up with Cleaning For A Reason, a service that cleans homes of women battling cancer for free. Hammel loved that her business was helping women in need in her community and she wanted to do more.
One thing on her bucket list was competing in the Ironman Race, triathlon that is a total of 140.6 miles. She would use this race as a fundraiser for Cleaning For A Reason and bring awareness to the generous organization. So she registered, and every morning she would get up at 4:00 AM to train before running her business and taking care of her six-year-old twins.
On October 7th Hammel swam, biked, and ran 140.6 miles with her family cheering and holding up pink signs advertising her cause. She crossed the finish line to the sound of the announcer booming in a loud voice something she had been dreaming of hearing for years: “Marnie Hammel, YOU are an Ironman!”
Tell me your story!
I was a lawyer before buying my cleaning business Two Maids and a Mop last October. We team up with Cleaning For A Reason to clean the homes of women battling cancer, giving them one less thing to worry about.
It has always been a dream of mine to be in the Ironman race, but I didn’t think I could do it. However, I signed up to get publicity and raise funds for Cleaning For A Reason and raised $2,000!
How do you feel empowered through your volunteer work?
Being a woman, I feel like it is my obligation to help other women in my community. It’s an obligation for ALL women to help each other. When you give something you get something, and me helping other women gives me something to be proud of.
What has been the hardest part of your experience?
Training! The race itself surprisingly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was a mental and physical challenge to keep training. The fact that I wasn’t doing this race for myself but for the women battling cancer motivated me to keep going. Seeing my kids’ faces at the finish line was very special.
What has surprised you about your experience?
How great it was to do it for the Cleaning For A Reason organization. I got together with the executive director of the company and it was wonderful to work together to create the fundraiser as well as awareness for what we do. Also, I was very proud of myself for accomplishing the race because for the longest time I didn’t think I could do it.
You inspire us — who inspires you?
People who overcome their difficulties inspire me. I was in a race in DC after Ironman and I saw people with prosthetic legs running. Also, seeing survivors from the Boston Marathon bombing running the same race again the following year was amazing. It takes great physical and mental strength to achieve things and these people achieved great things.
What advice would you give someone who wants to make a difference in their community, but doesn’t know where or how to start?
It can get overwhelming to make a difference in your community and you would want to shut down. You just need to take one bite at a time. The Ironman race is 140.6 miles. I started my training by running five miles a day, and then I added on to it. It’s a process, but remember that a ripple can make a great effect.
What do you think gives you your Sass?
Confidence. I want all women, especially young girls, to believe they can do anything. Men focus on what they can do, but women focus on what they can’t do. We’re perfectionists. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t be an Ironman, but I am now! I want to teach my daughter that anything is possible. If there is something you want to do, don’t say you can’t but say why not. And DON’T STOP!