The family that runs together

Marty and Betty Brosenne's five children, now in their forties and fifties and scattered around the country, are reuniting later this month to run the Baltimore Marathon and raise money for the hospice organization that helped their parents.

And, not incidentally, to throw a party.

If the family name sounds familiar, it's because the Brosennes were the owners and operators of Brosenne's Meat & Groceries, on Route 40, in the 1950s and '60s, and the nearby Pine Orchard Liquors in the '60s and '70s. The family lived in Ellicott City, near the Route 40 stores.

Marty passed away in 1996 and Betty in 2000. To honor their parents, the children are collecting marathon-related sponsorships and donations to benefit Gilchrest Hospice in Towson, which helped both parents through their final days.

After the race, Cindy Lee Floyd, the only one of the three sisters and two brothers who still lives in Howard County, will host a party celebrating the family and their athletic accomplishments. Attendees will include Marty Brosenne's sister, Catherine Anne Fisher, 80, better known as Muzzie, who is one of two surviving spouses out of 11.

Though the five Brosenne children see each other as often as they can, it's rare for them all to be in the same place at the same time.

"We try to get together every few years, and this seemed like a good time to do it," said Craig, now 47, who lives in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.

It was Craig, the youngest sibling, who came up with the idea of the siblings running the Baltimore marathon together. A couple of years ago, he decided he was out of shape, and so began running. He'd never run a marathon before, but he set a goal of running one in every state.

The Baltimore Marathon, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 15, will be his ninth. Since he would be traveling to Maryland for the race, he decided to ramp up any lingering sibling rivalry and convince his brothers and sisters to run as well.

"I started talking them all into it," he said by phone from Idaho. "Some of them didn't have a choice. I signed them up."

Craig's determination roused a competitive fever in Brian, the oldest sibling at 56, who lives in North Carolina. He plans to run the full 26.2 miles. So will their spouses — Craig's wife Angie and Brian's wife Darlene.

Cindy Lee, 54; Lu Anne Bankert, 53; and Carole Hartdagen, 50, will run or walk the 13.1-mile half-marathon. Lu Anne's husband, Terry, 67, will run or walk the half-marathon, he said.

Sports backgrounds

Two weeks before the race, the three sisters met at Centennial Park to exercise. That doesn't happen often, because Bankert lives in Walkersville, Md., and Hartdagen lives in Fairfield, Pa. Floyd usually exercises with friends.

All three sisters attended Mt. Hebron High School, where they were sports standouts. Hartdagen played field hockey, basketball and softball, and was the school's Athlete of the Year in 1978.

"This is my first real marathon," she said.

Bankert played field hockey and was a gymnast, and Floyd did gymnastics, track and volleyball.

As for the boys, Craig played basketball at Catoctin High School, in Thurmont, but Brian, who went to Mount St. Joe's, became less interested in sports once he got his driver's license and could get a job, Floyd said.

Floyd and Bankert both have run half-marathons, and are looking forward to the thrill of another one.

"It's an incredible experience," Floyd said.

But she also said the training "is brutal on your body."

When she and her siblings were growing up, Floyd said, their mother would send them out to play all day. Maybe that's why physical fitness is important to the Brosenne siblings today, she said.

"Our parents would have been very proud of us," she said. "We always have been in close touch, and we're a close-knit family."

The family get-together after the marathon is just an added bonus.

"We're having a huge party," Floyd said. "All of us will be gathering at my home off of Barley Field Way immediately following the marathon — presumably we all will have survived the challenge facing us — along with some old friends that my siblings haven't seen in many years."

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