My daughter wants me to run a half-marathon with her. Not just any race, she wants to run the Walt Disney World half marathon. I suppose since she’s 13, she will want me to pay for it too.

It all sounds a little goofy to me. (I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist.)

I told her that as a 42-year-old non-runner, there was no way I could convince my body to move briskly for 13.1 miles. That was when she reminded me that my own mother ran her first full marathon on her 60th birthday.

Okay, point taken.

We’re not lacing up until January of 2019, so I suppose I have time to figure out the training. I know it will be fun because we’ll be doing it together.

We can do hard things, but it sure is a lot easier when kindness is involved.

Cheryl Cooper, from Lisbon, N.D., shared a story with me about her own challenge and the kindness that came to the rescue.

“It was Saturday morning. I went on a hike with a fitness class which included about nine other ladies. I guess I would say that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I do a lot of walking, but only on flat ground. This day happened to include a lot of hills going up and down.

I was in the back and it felt like everyone else was running. I had to stop and catch my breath. I told the others to go ahead and that I would walk back and wait for them at the end.

A woman named Linda went out of her way to backtrack so she could talk to me. She encouraged me by saying, ‘You can’t stop now. I will stay with you and we can take our time. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you.’

So for the whole four mile hike, Linda stayed by my side, continuing to motivate me with her words. I was worried that she was missing out on her own workout, but when I expressed that, she told me she didn’t care.

Also, on the way back, which seemed even harder, Linda’s niece, Mandy, joined us. We talked along the way and, of course, stopped a lot so I could catch my breath.

I’m just amazed at what a kind person Linda is. She didn’t know me very well. She could have kept going, but she took the time to stay with me. I felt so foolish, but I was also very thankful.

I was especially grateful when we made it to the end and were met with a celebration of high-fives.”

It feels good to do something hard. It also feels good to know there are people in your corner cheering you on, confident that you can do more than you think you can, whether that’s a stranger, a friend or even your teenage daughter.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. You can visit Nicole at