Charity Running: Follow The Rule Of Thirds To The Finish Line

For many charity runners, crossing the line means finishing with a renewed sense of purpose. Photo: PhotoRUn.net

Run With Your Heart

Charity translation: Remember your honored hero.

After buzzing by mile 11, I knew I was entering Suckville. This mile was my Everest — close enough to create excitement but far enough to fuel self-doubt. Majocha looked at me and told me it was time to go — it was time to dig deep and make the move if I wanted to cross the line in under 1:41. I remember cringing and muttering, “I can’t. I’m done.” It was only my second half marathon ever, and my inexperienced legs were feeling the heat.

So I dug — I reflected on all those people who suffer with the worst-case scenario of IBD. I remembered my darkest hours, those days where I thought I’d never run again, let alone walk. I remembered the little moments at team practice, when just one more person would step up and say, “I have Crohn’s, and I’m better for it.” And I remembered now-11-year-old Trevor, San Diego’s own honored hero and Crohn’s patient.

“Team Challenge has changed Trevor’s perspective from feeling isolated by Crohn’s to being a crusader against it,” explains Tavish Margers, Trevor’s father and recipient of the 2013 McCready-Adams award, the highest honor given to a Team Challenge participant for above-and-beyond support for the cause. “Not only does he openly talk about his disease, but he is also an inspiration to others with IBD. He realizes now, the more willing he is to talk about his own IBD, the better chance he has to ‘punch Crohn’s in the face.’”

Three years prior to race day, my Everest was walking 50 meters without running to the bathroom for the 40th time — literally — in one day. As I turned it up and blasted through mile 11, arms in full swing, tunnel vision initiated and white noise tuned out, my legs followed, and that mental mountain shriveled behind me. And on that memorable day in December, I crossed the line 21 seconds under my goal — a wicked right hook to IBD’s disheveled face. No rest stops required.

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Conclusions about how and why I raced the way I did that day and throughout my last 10 half marathons have varied, but one constant remains — my time with Team Challenge is the thread that holds my own mission together. I pull inspiration from all six races that I’ve done with the team — always crossing the line with a renewed sense of purpose. Team Challenge has provided me with an opportunity to heal and forgive my body for everything it’s put me through since my diagnosis in 2001. It’s taught me how to run with gratitude, embrace life’s lemons and inspire other patients to grab life by the intestines and pack a few extra rolls of toilet paper for the ride.

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