“Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”
– John L Parker Jr.
I’ve raced in many of the biggest events in the world, and I’ve completed many smaller, local races. Each one gives me butterflies in my stomach beforehand, a rush of adrenaline at the start, and a sense of accomplishment at the finish. In each race I fight a battle, whether it’s against myself, my competitors, or the elements. Consistently overcoming these obstacles has shaped my character.
I think that everyone deserves to experience these sensations.
Recently, I decided to team up with United Athletics Williamsburg, a program that pairs assisted athletes with able-bodied athletes. My goal for the race was to help Ryan Wilson, one of my Rawls Byrd Elementary students, complete his first 8k.
I was much more nervous in the first couple of minutes of the race than I expected. Most of my anxiety was due to the fact that I needed more space to maneuver, and if there was an unpredictable move in the field, Ryan’s safety was at stake. I felt this overwhelming sense of responsibility for his well-being. Once the field spread out, I was able to get into a rhythm and we went!
We managed to move up the field one by one until the halfway point, where we reached third place. On the way back home, we continued to gain on second, but could never quite close the gap. Regardless of our overall place, for those 29 minutes, we were free.
If you want to read more about the event or United Athletics Williamsburg’s involvement, check out this WY Daily article on the event: http://wydaily.com/2014/02/11/runners-children-with-special-needs-team-up-for-athletic-experience-w-video/
It was such a fun time, an experience I will never forget. If you are interested in becoming a United Athletics volunteer, please visit http://www.unitedathleticsrva.com/