"I have carried her cross in my pocket every day since she passed. I can hold the cross in my hand and it feels like I am holding her hand."
- Fred Kondritz
My Mother's Cross
Written by Eric Shindelbower and Linda James.
Cross scan by Julie Boles; Race photographs by Kaye Kondritz.
Runners had to contend with rain soaked conditions during the 25th Annual Huntsville Times Rocket City Marathon held Saturday, December 8, 2001. Fred Kondritz, a 55-year-old pharmacist from Benton, Illinois, was running with sciatic nerve pain and although he never gave any thought to pulling out of the race, he admitted that the pain was so bad at times that it took his breath away. He made it to the 18-mile mark and then he hit "the wall," but he didn't quit because he had a cross to carry him through. "I carry my mother's cross in my running pack and took it out at mile 18 and held it in my hand because I needed some help. I had to walk for about a half mile and I felt my mom's hand thru the cross. I just continued to think about her and it seemed to get me thru the wall," Fred said. He went on to finish the 26.2-mile race in 5:32:56.
Fred's mother passed away on December 14, 2000, and he found a small cross in one of her change purses. "My mother was 88 years old and was a real buddy of mine, besides being a wonderful Christian mother. I miss her very much and I have carried her cross in my pocket every day since she passed," he said. "I can hold the cross in my hand and it feels like I am holding her hand. When I have difficult times, I hold or feel the cross and this with my belief in God makes things turn out for the best."
Fred Kondritz has run in 6 marathons. He has carried his mother's cross in two of them--the Nashville Music Marathon (April 2001) as well as the 25th Huntsville Times Rocket City Marathon. "It is very difficult to train and prepare for a marathon. I am usually injury free when I start the marathons but this time something happened. I developed a sciatic nerve problem, which was very painful," Fred explained. "The problem developed two weeks before the race and I had been going to a sports trainer and was showing some progress. The sciatic nerve pain is awful just walking around, besides trying to run 26 miles. But, I had made a promise to Mom that I was going to carry her across the finish line. I had support from my wife who is fabulous and my family and I made it. I have to admit that without the help of my mom's inspiration thru The Cross and God's will, I would never have made it," Fred said.
"It is amazing how something simple like a cross can change a person's life but it changed mine. My mother was a person who was always upbeat and had a tremendous love for the Lord. The passing of The Cross to me has given me the same feeling," Fred said.
. ., let us throw off everything that hinders and
"The pocket cross is a constant reminder that
Fred Kondritz would like to share his inspirational story with as many people as possible. If you would like to write Fred, you can send a letter to:
"I have always believed in the power of God and
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Scan of Fred's Cross by Julie Boles; Photo composite & manipulation by Eric Shindelbower.
My Mother's Cross, written by Eric Shindelbower and Linda James. Thanks to Linda James for helping me to write Fred's story.
Special Thanks goes to Fred Kondritz for allowing me to publish his story and for all of his assistance in providing the content for this page.
Fred Kondritz running & finish line photographs taken by Kaye Kondritz.
Fred Kondritz holding up Mom's Cross at the finish line, photo by Eric Shindelbower.