Colleen Winning, Labadie, participated in the Silo District Marathon Sunday, May 6, in Waco, Texas, and found herself running alongside HGTV Star Chip Gaines for the first 10 miles of the race.

“He was making jokes as usual. He said he was going to be our ‘Waco Tour Guide’ while naming on the fish in the Brazos River that we were running next to. He of course ran in his tool belt, long pants, and sweatband!” said Winning, noting it was 85 degrees.

Gaines wife, Joanna Gaines, was riding next to the runners in a golf cart while their children were taking turns running with their dad.

Gaines organized and hosted the marathon after he met a pro-runner who had been diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2009, Gabriele (Gabe) Grunewald, in New York last year, said Winning. He was so inspired by her story of running a metaphorical race that she didn’t choose (fighting cancer), that he told her he would not only run his first race, but make it a marathon.

All of the proceeds from the race were donated to the Brave Like Gabe Foundation to further research on rare cancers.

Winning had reached out to Grunewald through Instagram prior to the race in Waco, hoping to meet her. She missed meeting herduring the packet pick up, but when she saw her and her husband, Justin, at the race, she shouted hello, and Grunewald came running over. She had seen Winning’s posts on Instagram.

“I can’t even put into words what I was feeling at that moment!” said Winning. “We all got a picture together, and she wished me good luck, and I was back on the course running.”

Winning’s children and husband (Tommy, Brooke and Roger) were volunteers at a water station along with Chip Gaine’s mom and his parents’ best friends. Joanna Gaines also manned a water station at a hill and curve.

“Everything about this day was incredible! Not only did I get to meet Chip, Joanna, Gabe and Justin . . . I also met some Instagrammers at the race who we have been following prior to the race and a lady by the name of Melissa Copp, who lives in Waco, Texas, with two handicap sons who Chip and Joanna had fixed their home up to be easier for them to get around in, and Joanna named that episode one of her top favorites!” said Winning.

“There isn’t any other sport like the running community! I love it! This event raised $250,000 for Brave Like Gabe rare cancer research!”