I need to extend a huge THANKS to two very important people in my life.....one an Army veteran and the other a Marine!
The 2012 MCM was fast approaching, along with Hurricane Sandy. The runners were gathered in D.C. and surrounding areas watching the news, carbo loading, thinking about their race day strategy. Would the hurricane cancel the race? What would it be like running through wind and rain being pushed by a hurricane?
For this runner, it was a notable year as a first timer running the MCM 10k race.
Taking the metro to the start line, I noticed many families with race numbers on. Some of the kids didn't look to be even 5 yrs old. My stomach clenched when they turned and on their back was a "Running for my Dad SSgt *** KIA 2011" sign. There were at least a dozen different people with similar signs. Some had been killed in Iraq, others Afghanistan. I saw one Mom with a baby in a chest carrier......you knew Dad never made it home to see his daughter based on her sign.
The gun went off at precisely the same time for both the MCM 10k and the MCM 26.2 race. The runners were queued up.....some in their race lanes others still in the porta potty line. That was me! When the gun went off I still had 5 people in line in front of me! As I finally exited the biffy, the race announcer was telling runners that the start line was about to be shut down and we needed to get across it......NOW!!! Dang! I sprinted?!? to cross the start line! My friend was hardly breathing hard, I felt like I had just finished 10 miles and I still had 6 miles to go.
We were near the end of the runners and walkers. One group in particular sticks out in my mind. We were about 1/2 mile into the 6.2 miles. On the right side of the road a small group of walkers were chatting and people were clapping as they passed by. One young man was walking steadily along, on a special runner's prosthetic leg. As the race progressed, I remember looking back and seeing a barricade being pulled across the course after that group of walkers passed by. They had made it! The course had a time limit. Being passed by the marathoners on handcycles was amazing. The determination and grit they showed was amazing as they tackled hills that many of us were walking. Near the end of the 10k we merged with the marathon course.
I have never felt more humbled and proud at the same time as I did during that race. I can't speak for the marathoners, but I do know my daughter has experienced this feeling with each MCM she has run. I can't describe it, you had to be there....to see the runners, wheelchairs, walkers, hand cycles, the young, the old.
Jon White knew he made the right choice for me....in spite of my misgivings.....I loved it! I am hooked.
I went back to the hotel, showered, changed into warmer clothing and headed back out to the race. I had 2 runners to meet at the finish line area with a change of clothes and a bottle of pop. In about 30 minutes I had a text from Jon asking where Diana was on the course. Thru text message updates provided by the race course I relayed her info to him. He was done but she was still about 90 minutes out. The wind had picked up and rain was threatening but holding off. Jon and I hooked up and then he went back to find Diana and bring her to where I waited. This year, all three of us had our cell phones tucked into our running gear. If you don't have a prearranged meeting place it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
This years' MCM was notable for not only Hurricane Sandy threatening us, but Jon had another PR as well as having now earned the right to join the MCM Runners Club. Members receive a guaranteed entry for life to the MCM as well as appropriate 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35-year patches as these plateaus are reached.
That is a huge deal for Jon.....less than 10 years ago he was lying in a hospital bed, with the doctor's telling him he wouldn't walk again. One parachute jump gone wrong!
Five years ago MGySgt White formed "Team For Those Who Can't" and began fundraising for the Semper Fi Fund. Each year there is a team goal set and most years the team makes their goal.
This year, the goal was met at the last minute by a donation from a loyal supporter. Without the donation from War On Terror News, the runners would have crossed the finish line knowing they had finished the race but not met their fundraising goal. Each year the owner of War On Terror News has donated to Jon's fundraising. His donation has been a combination of support through multiple articles at his site to raise awareness/funds as well as a sizeable donation each and every year!
"Team For Those Who Can't" wishes to thank you, War On Terror News, for your continuous support! I wish to thank the team for their hard work, to thank War On Terror News for all the free press and donations, and MGySgt Jon White for his constant faith in me. Last but not least....thank you to ALL the people who supported the team with their donations, their encouragement and support of the runners!