This year’s 37th annual Popcorn Panic falls at a perfect time for the Borman family for multiple reasons.
It’s a much needed respite and celebration wrapped into one event. John Borman is coming off a good effort at last weekend’s Bride of Zoy 15K race in Chesterton in which he placed third overall and first in his 35-39 age group.
His wife of just over a year, Marie, also ran and finished third in her age group.
But John was happier she was all right after the race considering the recent news the couple received.
Marie is pregnant and will still be running the Panic this weekend.
“Marie has still been running, but hasn't been pushing the pace,” he said. “The doctor suggested for now to keep her heart rate below 145. We have many friends that have been able to run well into their pregnancies. Of course, everyone is different and if running is causing any issues, she'll stop.”
As for running the Panic, there was never a doubt.
“I don't know how to put into words how it's going to feel to know my wife, baby, and I are going to be running in the same race on Saturday,” he said. “It will be even more wonderful the first year we get to see our child run in the Kernel Puff.”
Marie isn’t worried, and she’s been running well this year posting personal records multiple times.
"I don't have any apprehension for the Panic because I've been running for so long and the nurse practitioner said it would make me happy and the baby happy,” she said. “I'm really excited to race.”
Besides a happy time celebrating the baby news, the Panic will also be a distraction from one of life’s challenges that hit John last month when he was fired from a job he loved after more than six years. They found out Marie was pregnant a week after losing his job.
“Getting fired was extremely unexpected and very well undeserved,” he said. “I had worked 31 straight days with long hours. I had sacrificed a whole lot. I wanted to work there the rest of my life. I was good at it and everyone agreed except for one person. Really tough to deal with.”
Besides looking for a new job, John said he was running twice a day to get “in a positive mood.” He admitted the baby news almost made him worry about getting a new job.
A good friend, Rick Torres, who is the head cross country coach at Calumet College, asked John if he would travel with the team to Gatlinburg, Tenn., to help coach the team’s running camp in the mountains.
“Marie told me to go and said it was a great time to get away,” he said. “It gave me a lot of time to think about the future.”
It also gave Marie time to think about what they’ve been through and the challenges ahead and they support each other.
“I know John spent the whole summer working very hard and I was really upset when I heard the manager fired him for no reason,” she said. “John loves running in the mountains and on trails. He had been feeling down and I knew it would make him happy again. Everyone who knows John knows he is a hard worker and I know he will find another job soon. Until then, we have each other and we have running to keep us moving forward.”
It’s just been a handful of Panics for Marie, but John will run in what he thinks is his 17th since graduating from Valparaiso High School. As much as he loves running in the mountains, it’s higher for this event.
“It's my hometown race that I look forward to every year,” he said. “I will be running the Panic when I’m 90 years old. I'm not in great racing shape right now; still recovering from running in the mountains, but I'm going to try my best.”