In 2003 I ran
the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon with my daughter Heather and her roommate
Abby. It was their first marathon and
they brought the old man along to keep them company. Somewhere
around 20 miles it became clear Abby was struggling, at one point mistaking one
of the bands playing along the route for a water stop. We got her into a medical tent and they
worked on her for about 10 minutes, pouring salt packets into her mouth and
giving her water. Shortly
after, as the medical team was arranging for a ride to the finish, Abby pops up
off the cot and declares she’s going out to finish the race. And we did.
Five years before in 1998 at the mature running age
of 11 year old, a boy named James
Bonnett completed the same marathon in 3:28 winning the under 19 division. The next year in the Across the Years 24 hour
race (where you run as many miles as you can in 24 hours) he finished second
running just over 101 miles. Over the
next years he was a phenon among the ultra marathon crowd placing high in the
ranking of a number of 50 and 100 mile races.
By 2010 at 24 years old he couldn’t
run a half mile. Down on his luck, separated from his wife, and
in a job he didn’t like, he decided to try running again. His first day out he couldn’t make it around
the block. Three years later he won one of the premier ultra
marathons, the Zane Grey 50 Mile run.
In the 1972
Olympics a Finnish runner Lasse Viren, running
in the 10,000 meter race, tripped and fell clearly ending his chances of
winning a medal. He got up and not only
finished in the medals, he won the gold and set an Olympic record. He went on to win the gold in the 5,000
meter race as well.
In 1996, a few
years before James ran the San Diego marathon, I thought I had run my last
Boston Marathon. I had been away from
marathon running for almost a decade but I had signed up for the 100Th
Boston Marathon because…well..because it was the 100th and I wanted
to be part of the experience. It was a
great experience but definitely not anything to write home about in terms of
performance. With that under my belt
I was done with Boston. Or so I thought.
a lot from running over the years. Like
how to pace myself so I don’t burn out, how to deal with the frustration of
injuries when you least can afford them, and motivating yourself to get out of bed for that long run on a single digit winter morning.
I’ve also learned that help often comes
when you least expect it, like the popsicle someone gave me during a 90 degree
Boston Marathon, or having your sister join me to get me through the tough
miles at the end of a race. Or a friend
running with you and sharing your grief after the loss of a child.
running has given me a lot, it’s greatest lesson have been in teaching me to deal
with life’s challenges and knowing that second efforts can lead to second chances.
reason I started Help in the Nick of Time.
To find a way to give people who are struggling a little bit of a second
wind, a little boost to help them see
the other side of the near term troubles and to help them help themselves to
find a way forward. Our efforts are modest but to the people they
help they mean the world. Showing them
a second effort can lead to a second chance.
For the support you have given me over the years I can’t thank you
So while I
thought I was done with Boston 20 years ago, life had other ideas. This is my second effort to give others a
second chance. A goal worth running
Help in the Nick of Time is a charity set up in the memory of our son Nick who loved sports and helping people. The goal of the organization is to work through local charity organizations to direct assistance to single parent families facing short term needs to help them get back on their feet. Donations can be made at the link below through the ECCF.
Simply click on the link below, and where it says PLEASE CHOOSE FROM THE FOLLOWING FUNDS: , click on the arrow next to the field and scroll down the list and select Help in the Nick of Time.
Life is a series of shared experiences that together define who we are and the impact we have on other lives.
This is all about one of those experiences I would like to share with others in the hope it touches and enhances their lives. At a minimum it should provide some entertaining moments.