Meet Team Maryann


You may notice some similarities in 31 of the runners at the Capital City River Run on Sept. 18. Maryann Messing’s 11 children, 11 grandchildren, and eight daughter-and son-in-laws are running the half marathon or run/walking the 5K at the Capital City River Run to recognize the one-year anniversary of her passing. Her sister and life-long cheerleader will also be joining the walkers, all donning T-shirts to separate them from the rest. Maryann’s final summer was filled with family weddings and dancing, even though she was not in the best of health.

It takes a lot to raise 11 kids, and resilience tops the list. In difficult times, Maryann would calmly lower her head and push through to finish “the race.”  She fought against a variety of heart conditions for decades that were driven by a genetic disposition for heart disease. Now many of her children are resiliently pushing back against their own genetic risk factors.

The idea started with her son Joseph, a registered nurse and medical consultant who decided he would run the half marathon in honor of his mother. He challenged the rest of the family to join him. Instead of struggling to get through the day, he planned to train and focus on the goal of finishing the race. The siblings were quick to join and Team Maryann was formed.

Team Maryann has two objectives:

  1. Honor Maryann Messing and the legacy she left in the hearts of all who knew her.
  2. To lead a more intentional, heart-healthy lifestyle backed by rigorous training and heart-healthy habits.

Team Maryann is continuing to take off, with family friends joining the Messings.

“We are so appreciative of all of the support we have received over the past year,” said Mark Messing, Maryann’s youngest son. “Family friends joining Team Maryann serves as yet another example of an entire community of people who want to show exactly how much my mom meant to them.”

Maryann had a knack for creating a nurturing environment for her children, grandchildren and neighbors. She thrived while helping others, laughing, cooking, playing games — she was a Yahtzee Queen — and throwing amazing parties in Royal Oak, Michigan and at their mini-farm near Deckerville, Michigan.

She loved dancing at the weddings and celebrations of her children, now ranging in ages from 25 to 45. Her husband of 46 years, Patrick, grew up in the Michigan thumb in a large German farming family.

Family and love of God, intentional concern for their neighbor, and enjoying one another and life itself is the signature of the family Maryann and Pat Messing built together.

It’s a shared legacy.

She was not a competitive person, but carried on with an amazing strength, which she would always use to help others over herself. Her supportive and resilient nature lives on through her children, and has been evident in their race prep. The family has been logging times and swapping encouragement from across the country through apps and text messages. They encourage each other to exhibit a humble and determined grit as they compete at the Capital City River Run.

We are sure you will see it on the faces of Team Maryann as they cross the finish line.