The “Marathons with Meaning” campaign began with my quiet, off radar efforts to include ‘rider-athletes’ in the marathon races I am participating in. For the last 4 years I have quietly impacted the lives of children with disabilities, their families and other runners in cities across the country with the simple mantra of “inclusion and inspiration.”
I started running the hard way: by training for a marathon at age 52, overweight and out of shape. After running my first marathon at the age of 53, I was bitten by the marathon bug. Though I took over five hours to finish my first marathon, I decided my goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. After failing many times to run a qualifying time in marathons throughout the U.S., I finally succeeded and at the age of 55 I qualified for Boston.
But just as my passion for the sport unfolded and I made my long sought goal, a client named Scott Patrick who had also become a dear friend was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. At a meeting, Scott asked me to run Boston as a fundraiser for cancer research. I helped Scott and a team of dedicated volunteers complete a final fundraiser, raising substantial funds for research before Scott died.
Marathons are about finding an inner strength, something more when you think there is no more to give…to overcoming the urge to quit. Although Scott lost his battle to cancer, he never quit fighting and now I no longer looked at running as a solitary endeavor.
I found a new running direction and a challenging idea…to give a person with disabilities a chance to compete in a marathon. My goal was to give a rider-athlete child an opportunity to compete in a marathon of their own. With the assistance of Ainsley's Angels of America, I was able to help a young lady and her family to experience the extreme sense of accomplishment and camaraderie associated with competing in a marathon. In 2012, Taylor completed her first marathon in Las Vegas with the help of my arms and legs. Since then I have assisted disabled children as rider-athletes to marathon completions 16 times in locations from San Diego to Washington D.C
MArathons with meaning