The 241st birthday of the United States was historic in more ways than one as nine Push Assist teams, representing the colors of the Kyle Pease Foundation, participated in the "Grand Daddy of them All", the iconic Peachtree 10K Road Race.
To take you back through the history of KPF's involvement in the Peachtree, we must take you back in time to the year 2013 when Brent and I made history as the first Push Assist team to participate in this historic race. One year later, race organizers, The Atlanta Track Club (ATC) and the Shepherd Center, granted us a second bib as Brent and I were joined by Justin Knight and Brian Resutek as participants. Now in 2017, through the continued support of both ATC and the Shepherd Center our numbers have blossomed yet again.
"As we waited to start, Matt of Infinity Yoga, turned to me and said, 'Dude, we have the whole row.' It's amazing to think that in 2013 it was just us. Now it's beyond that. It's bigger than us. It's a collective We and one we are so proud of. Together WE Wheel!" ~Brent Pease
As I've shared on several occasions, the reason this race is so special to me is because it takes place right in my own backyard on the very streets that I call my home. From the moment the starter's pistol sounds to mark the beginning of the race at Lenox Square Mall to the point where runners make their way down Peachtree Road, through the streets of Buckhead and Midtown before finishing in beautiful Piedmont Park, the Peachtree can be summed up in four letters...H-O-M-E!
The highlight takes place as we race by the Shepherd Center, where many of the patients line the streets and cheer us on as we make our way past this incredible facility. The Shepherd Center specializes in spinal cord & brain injury rehabilitation along with medical research as the top rehabilitation hospital in the nation, so it is apparent why they cheer on the KPF athletes so feverishly. Another highlight for me is when we whisk by Piedmont Hospital, where I've been employed for many years. Patients, staff and many dear friends come out of the hospital to cheer for Brent and I, as well as our other push assist athletes. My heart swells with pride as we pass both of these top-rated facilities.
Brent and I finished third in the men's division with a credible time of 39:18. The men's division was won by Ricardo Aranda and Matt Shechtman, while second place was awarded to Justin Knight and George Darren. The push assist women's division was won by Naomi Hicks and Carrie Smith, while the coed division was won by Aiden Jackson and Carmen Brahmin. Winning participants in each of the push assist divisions were awarded cash prizes by the Kyle Pease Foundation to acknowledge their accomplishment.
We look forward to next year and the opportunity for KPF athletes to participate in America's Largest 10K. As always, our goal remains spreading the message of inclusion from sea to shining sea.
Before we blow out the final candle on our country's birthday cake, let me take a moment to remind you to apply for the Jake Vinson Family Grant and to register for Camp Wheel Away. These are two of the highlights of our organization and we hope to make both opportunities available to as many families as possible.
Until next time-Together We Wheel....