Going the extra mile: Noblesville woman runs distance races to honor fallen police officers, military personnel


In the last nine years, Noblesville resident Linda Callaway Chambers, 73, has completed more than 400 running races, including 170 half marathons and a marathon in every state. With every race she completes, she honors fallen police officers and military personnel.

Most recently, Chambers participated in the May 4 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and the May 18 Noblesville Endurance Ruck, which celebrates Peace Officers Memorial Day in honor of law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

“I did the Endurance Ruck in honor of Elwood (Police Department) Officer Noah Shahnavaz,” Chambers said. “Noah was killed in 2022, and his mother and sister did the race with me.”

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From left, Linda Callaway Chambers’ husband, Dr. Kelly Chambers, and Linda at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Community Foundation Heroes Run 5K. (Photo courtesy of Linda Callaway Chambers)

When participating in races, Chambers wears a photo of who she is honoring on her shirt and has carried an American flag on several occasions.

Chambers, a retired nurse, has experienced several losses throughout her life. To cope, she began completing mini marathons, even though she was not a runner and had no experience.

“I was just really sad,” Chambers said. “I told my current husband I wanted to walk a 5K because I was trying to find something to help me.”

Chambers’ first race was at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis when she was 64. The race was to honor Jason Baker, a Marion County deputy sheriff who died in 2001.

“I met Jerry Baker, Jason’s father, and they were having a prayer service before the race up in the church at Crown Hill,” Chambers said. “I met him and asked how I could help. He said, ‘Remember Jason. Say his name.'”

Chambers said her first race has always stuck with her, influencing her decision to honor fallen police officers and military personnel.

“I always knew I was going to be slow because I don’t want to train; I just want to run and do my race,” Chambers said. “I thought, well, what can I do? I can get a picture of somebody, and I can honor them. And so that’s what I do.”

When choosing who to honor, Chambers said she researches officers on memorial pages and sometimes runs for local officers who have recently died. She said she started including fallen military personnel because of her family’s losses.

“We’ve had 13 suicides in my family, and four of those were in the military,” Chambers said. “It is important for me to remember them, too. There’s never a shortage of people to honor. When I run out of state, I look at local news or local officer-down pages and find someone to run for.”

Chambers said she now runs a race nearly every weekend. She is also a member of the Indianapolis Team RWB, a community of veterans, service members, military families and supporters that helps veterans lead healthier lives through fitness events, training and programs.

“Because of the suicides in my family, I try to be supportive of Team RWB and volunteer for its events and fundraising,” Chambers said. “I recently ran in the team’s Old Glory Relay carrying a flag flown in special operations over Iraq and Syria, then brought back to the United States. We’ve carried it for six states and 1,600 miles. The portion that I ran was from Carmel to Westfield.”

Chambers’ husband, Dr. Kelly Chambers, a retired physician, said Chambers now does through running what she once did as a nurse.

“She helps people,” Kelly said. “I (am) proud (to have been with her) at the finish line of 50 states and hundreds of races.”

Chambers’s No. 1 takeaway from her first race was to continue saying people’s names, and she aims to do the same with each race she runs.

“The thing I know about loss is that those people stay with you,” Chambers said. “At 73, I realize how precious and short life is. I can’t do anything about suicide or when there are military killed in action or the things that happen to our police officers, but I can be a love and a light and help those families remember that somebody still cares. Somebody still says their name.”

Chambers will return to the site of her first race June 2 to compete in the Crown Hill Cemetery half marathon.

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Linda Callaway Chambers walks in the May 4 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Linda Callaway Chambers)


Linda Callaway Chambers competed in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon May 4, where she honored fallen Indiana State Police Trooper Aaron Smith, who died June 28, 2023.

Chambers received the Heart of a Hero award at the Concerns of Police Survivors Ball March 2 of this year. At the ceremony, she met Smith’s wife, Megan.

“I knew she was pretty young and athletic, and I planned to honor Aaron, anyways, so I had her do the race with me,” Chambers said.

The two were surprised with an escort from two Grant County sheriff’s deputies, who also carried the department’s flag while Chambers carried an American flag.