How I got here is far less important than why I'm here and what I'm doing. You can see a little bit on that at the bottom.
I get to run. I need to repeat that, “I GET to run. This is a newish mantra for me. I used to run only as a supplement to my soccer fitness, and never ran for the pure joy or for the benefit of someone else. It was a necessary part of soccer training that I never really embraced. I don't dread long runs any more, now that I have a better insight into how and why I need to run them as part of my overall fitness and endurance goals.
God has blessed me with strong legs, a healthy heart, and a drive to compete in endurance sports. I owe it to Him to leverage this blessing to His favor and His glory.
Some athletes need a little extra push to make participation in sports happen, and I mean literally. The Kyle Pease Foundation does exactly that. They are local to and serve my community, including the Atlanta endurance community. I volunteered for a 5k race with KPF last year at my neighborhood park. It was the toughest 5k I have ever run. It was technically (hills, hills, and glutes) and physically demanding in very different ways than just trying to run faster and get a personal record. There is nothing against that. I’m actually all for it and do that for myself. Lending my legs in that 5k changed the way I think about wheelchair athletes, and I wanted to really do something about that in 2018.
The big goal of 2018 is to run a marathon as a push-assist for a wheelchair athlete. “Push Assist” means that I will need to push the wheelchair for the entire 26.2 miles. KPF does this in Washington DC for the Marine Corps Marathon as their largest fundraiser of the year. They also raise funds for the Publix half marathon in March here in Atlanta, These two races fund their 5k and 10 k races, along with other items needed to run the organization. Custom race wheelchairs are not cheap, but the smiles on the athletes are well worth the effort.
As part of my training for the marathon, I am running in and fundraising for the Publix Half marathon in March. I was already signed up, so it was a good fit and will be good practice. I get to do that with a teammate of mine from ITL Coaching and Performance. If you can donate to this amazing cause, I would be honored if you would let me help you sponsor KPF. All donations go directly to KPF. Any amount would be helpful. My other ask is bit more personal. I would like for you to share this with your friends. Not just your running friends or your friends in wheelchairs, but all of your friends.
Look for other opportunities to support this fundraising effort through my social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. You can follow me here and look for updates. I have a number of ideas for how to make this fundraising effort fun for everyone.
A little background on how I got here. I dabbled in triathlon for a bout 5 years before taking on my first half ironman in 2013. Before that happened, I did an Olympic distance triathlon as a fundraiser for a different organization. That was a pretty big deal for me, but I did it and it was very satisfying to raise money for that cause. I never fully embraced that cause afterwards because of some other stories surrounding that organization. Their home base was far away and I didn't have any personal connection other than my desire to see cancer disappear. I raced and trained solo for two half ironman events, chasing Augusta 70.3 in 2013 and Miami 70.3 in 2015. I was disturbed and frustrated enough with my lack of swimming ability that I decided to pursue a triathlon coach to help be become a "real" swimmer. I joined ITL Coaching and Performance in March of 2016, and through that organization found a community of athletes that I could enjoy training with that also had a heart for others. It was through ITL that I became exposed to KPF and had the opportunity to serve in that first 5 k in 2017. I didn’t run my first half marathon until the Augusta 70.3 in 2013, never raced a solo half marathon until 2017, and did my first (and only, so far) marathon in 2017. My first marathon was the Dopey Challenge at Disney, a heck of a way to run a marathon, especially your first. MCM will be another great challenge and will not only push me physically and mentally, but it will also be a great challenge to raise enough money to further support the great cause of inclusiveness. #togetherwewheel.