Today in my mind I'm thinking about races. I've dedicated myself to revamping a local 5K race. It will be for ALS awareness now. From Mission March to Autumn March for ALS, here we go! I participated in this race often, but not every year. It was an effort of community to support the local summer camp for underprivileged kids. They were discontinuing it and now voilą it's my newest project to fight to live not die with ALS.
Even though I've been bound to my chairs for three years now, the memories I still have from running are so vivid especially the Mission March. I believe my first run in it was on a church running team. We won and I placed. I didn't hang around for the trophy showcase. I think it was my first ever 5K. I was 22 years old. Heck, it may have been the inaugural race!
Then I remember running it in my late 20's. At one point I was behind Mayor Revell thinking if he beats me in his 60's then I'm done. Put a fork in me. This was a humbling experience and no I was not done.
The next Mission March I remember vividly was seeing my former coach, Willie Cole, at a water station and being proud that I was a productive citizen and he help meld me. I was probably in my early 30's.
Another Mission March memory, I remember my then principal, Robert Cupples, with a timer saying, "Go girl! You got this." He was flanked by his sweet, dedicated wife Tracy.
When I was 34 years old, I tried to coerce my family into the race. That race included a 5K finish and carrying a 3 year old Abbey most of the 1 mile distance for her participation. Whew! We still laugh about that.
My last Mission March was in my late 30's. My health had been deteriorating and I was clueless about the changes. I had been trying to make my friends aware of their health. I recruited many to run that day. One of my friends who ran with me that day still is running and striving to be healthy. That friend still visits me as I roll and she run/walks to prepare for race events. She says that she never races alone because I'm in her head and heart. Thank you Darla Nale for inspiring me to continue to fight. That year, I didn't place. Someone whom I had always bested for a trophy and been a friend and teaching comrade at DMS nudged me out, Carol McCullough. I remember sitting there on the square chatting with fellow runners embracing my last Mission March as a bipedal racer. My body felt that this was a "Hasta la vista baby." Then ALS started taking my hips because it had already taken my right shoulder. I was getting closer to understanding the reasons for my weaknesses and slower running times.
That third Saturday is more than a race for us Dyersburgians. You see, it's a time of sharing, helping, and loving. This event has taken on a life of its own in many minds. I'm sure it's as vivid for many past participants as it is to me. With all that said, let's continue to visit one of the "watering holes" of our quaint little burg. Let's continue to "March" on together on October 15, 2016. I'm hoping this event will help our little burg "Kick some ALS!"
"Return to the old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you."