We're coming down, but only slightly, after an incredible weekend as the Kyle Pease Foundation set up ship in the Nation's Capitol for the Marine Corps Marathon. Once again, we co-sponsored with The Ability Experience and it was phenomenal event. Even the uncooperative DC weather could not dampen our spirits.
We saw many of our friends including the famous Rick Hoyt, who together with his father Dick pioneered the entire ability running movement, as well as spending some Q-time with Ainsley's Angels. There were many heavy tears shed as two of our team members got to rise from their running chairs and walk across the finish line under their own power. John Crais, who was guided by Thomas Oden, and Jason Dorn ,who was pushed by Kyle Thomas, both contributed moments that onlookers will never forget. John's moment is captured in the story link above.
The highlight for me was getting to hang out with some of the KPF families before and during the race. Jessica Minton's husband Bryant and son their Grant, as well as, Naomi Williams, Noah's mom entertained me nearly all weekend. It was quite an experience being on the sidelines with all the marines and the sounding of the cannon.
I couldn't be more proud of the Kyle Pease Foundation. Hats off to all the volunteers who raised money and pushed 26.2 miles through the beautiful country that we live in.
The fun continues this weekend as Brent and I compete in the Big Apple at the NYC Marathon, followed by a very quick turnaround and trip south as we'll join J-dude, Justin Knight and his team in Ironman Florida in Panama City. One hundred and forty point six miles separates J-Dude from history as the first KPF athlete to become an Ironman.
As if that's not enough, We have our Bowling with Kpeasey event on November 15th from 3-6 PM at Stars and Strikes Bowling to celebrate all of our athletes, as well as, the awarding of the Jake Vinson Family Grant.
Don't forget my new children's book "Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way" will make it's debut to the public at the bowling event where I will be signing copies with my co-author Todd Civin. We will have regular and LARGE print editions as well as audio DVD versions and a limited number of 2016 "WTAWTAW" calendars. Can't wait to see everyone there.
Keep your eyes open for next weeks special blog with Justin Knight's Ironman Florida preparation and comments from the team. Brent and I gotta go catch a plan to NY...so we'll turn the rest of the blog over to Noah William's mom, Naomi for her thoughts on the Marine Corps Marathon weekend as well as the inspiring words of Mike Ragan, our friend, teammate and all3sports colleague, who started the weekend off with his inspiring words.
The weekend was A-MAZE-ING!! It's always fun to 'run' a race, yet this race was special as I got be a cheerleader, not only for my son, but for ALL of the athletes. I won't ever have the chance to be a soccer mom, but this weekend gave me the same euphoric high!! Waiting with anticipation for Noah and Kevin to come around the last corner and into eyesight, beaming with pride as they crossed the finish line - that was the equivalent of watching the winning goal.
For Noah, it provided an opportunity to be successful and experience what it feels like to be a winner. He LOVED being around people who embraced him for him. Noah has a special connection with Kyle and it is beautiful to watch their interaction. In addition, I realized that life is a team effort just like this race. Everyone plays a vital role no matter how insignificant they think it is!
I met Brent Pease a little over two years ago, when I started working at all3sports. Soon after I learned of his work with his brother's foundation. In spring of 2014, Brent invited me to consider running my first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon with KPeasey.
The experience of training last year was amazing; the purpose I felt every day with every run. Brent paired me with Tina and her daughter, Naomi. Since they lived almost three hours away from me, the first time we met was a month before the race, but we hit it off right away.
We both arrived for the race in Washington, D.C. a couple of days early, and we were inseparable. We spent hours at the Expo checking out the booths, and we even met Sean Astin, who starred in Rudy and Lord of the Rings.
Race morning found us ready to run. The assisted athletes were sent off five minutes before the rest of the field, which helped me look good. I ran the first mile in 8:45. On the official time my first mile read a scathing 3:45. I'm sure this helped my coach find several new athletes. After the first 10k, I notice that Naomi was waving with both hands in a strange way. I asked if she was okay, only to have her reply, "I'm done! Where's momma?" How did we make it through the race? Singing! We sang "Let It Go" from the movie, Frozen, The Wheels on the Bus, and Old MacDonald. Needless to say, there were tons of animals on the farm that day. I averaged an 8-minute mile for the first twenty miles and then the wheels fell off...of my run.
I hit the wall and struggled through the last 10k. In the last mile, two of our KPeasey teammates, Curtis and Fred, passed us. Fred smacked me on the bottom and Curtis said, "See ya!" It is okay because this year, I'm running with Fred's number and I'll be pushing Curtis. So, Curtis, get ready for a 12-hour marathon!
In the year since the last Marine Corps Marathon, I've seen Naomi and Tina several times and I talk to them on the phone every few weeks. We ran a two more races together the following months and Naomi got to go bowling with my two middle school-aged daughters at the annual KPeasey bowling fundraiser.
The greatest part of this entire process has not been getting in shape, running a marathon or raising money for the foundation. Those are all wonderful things, but to be invited into another family's life has truly been the greatest gift.