A dare during a family vacation led the group to take on the run for charity.

It Runs in the Family

Thirteen members of 'Team Seals' take part in Houston marathon event

By PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

Feb. 17, 2008 - Thirteen members of one "family" from Sulphur Springs, dubbed "Team Seals," recently participated in the "run for a reason" 2008 Chevron Houston Marathon Trio, benefiting more than 40 different charities.

While raising funds for various worthy causes is reason enough to participate in such an event, team member Mylissa Hartzell admitted the family was prompted by a good, old-fashioned dare.

The family committed to the challengeLast summer while vacationing in Colorado said Mylissa, a teacher at Sulphur Springs High School.

"Our family never does things the easy way," she said. "Our parents raised us with a desire to accomplish any goal set before us, so when my oldest brother challenged my whole family to race in a Houston marathon, we took the challenge.

"Then we thought, 'Oh my gosh -- What have we done?'" she added with a laugh.

The entire family -- parents Cleveland and Carroll Seals; three sons, Nathin, Scott and Chris; one daughter, Mylissa; a sister-in-law, Shanna; 5-year-old nephew, Levi,  several extended family members; and Mylissa's boyfriend, Joel Bailey, also a teacher at SSHS -- took part in the Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and 5K run/walk held Jan. 13.

All four of the Seals children are graduates of Sulphur Springs High School. The three boys have since made their homes elsewhere.

"We try to  get together at least two or three times a year, so this was something else to bring us together," explained Mylissa, who said family members flew into Houston from Dallas, Amarillo, New Orleans and Georgia the night before the marathon to enjoy an evening together before the big race.

More than 20,000 people participated in the 36th annual event, which exceeded its goal of raising more than $1 million for charity.

"It was just a sea of people as far as you could see, all running in one direction for a common goal," Mylissa recalled. "Some walked, some ran, some did a little of both." 

Race times were staggered, with the 270mile marathon beginning at 7 a.m., the half marathon starting at 7:30 a.m. and the three-miler at 8:30 a.m.

"It was so cool, because the whole family participated, and there where times when we were all running together through the city streets of Houston," Mylissa recalled. "We were there to support each other and cheer as we all crossed the finish line. It was just exhilarating. It was an awesome achievement for all of us."

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