After several weeks of planning, promoting and practice with the #SpeedforNeed chariots the men of the Rock Region gathered to take part in the Nun Run to support St. Anne’s Catholic School. It was a very special day as this was the initial race that all 4 of the racing chariots would be in use. Our group had been looking forward to this event for several weeks. Especially because 2 of our own guys, Vuvuzella & Burr were able to enjoy the time with their 2.0’s, along with the rest of the PAX of the Rock Region. Running is something that we enjoy and being able to share that experience with others was such a great opportunity.
At the appointed hour we gathered and readied ourselves for the day. The tires were pumped, straps inspected, the chariots were ready to roll. As time moved, guys began to show up and checked out the chariots and we had quite the crowd. I personally took a moment & just looked around and was bursting with pride as you could feel the energy with the group. Then our special guests began to arrive, along with their parents. Jessica Johnson was our first rider to arrive. I had the opportunity to meet her mom Bettie and she shared with me that Jessica was very excited for the day and shared with me that she loves roller coasters so she was sure that she would enjoy the 3.34 stroll that we were about to embark on. Next to arrive was Pierce and he too was excited for what was in store. His mom Lindsay shared with me that Pierce was looking forward to the race and he was such a happy boy, grinning every time I saw him. Lastly, Burr was on site with his 2.0 Sadie and she too was so happy and eager for the experience. Lastly there was Vuvuzella and his 2.0 Luka. As final preparations were being made for the run, each child took their positions in their chairs and Bettie commented to me how ‘professional’ the chairs were compared to her stroller. She shared with me that she loves to run as well and Jessica often goes with her. She was looking forward to taking part in the run herself and felt so blessed that she was comfortable that her daughter was in such good hands with a group of men who had big hearts – we shared a hug and I told her that we were the lucky ones. We get to run just about any time we want, so getting to share that experience was what the day was all about.
With about 15 minutes left before the start of the race, the men of the Rock Region circled up and we did a few warm-up exercises and light stretching with the kids and the chairs in the center. After a few minutes we gathered and closed the warm-up in prayer expressing gratitude for the day asking for safety for our group. The excitement was gathering and with just a few minutes to go, we gathered at the start line. The Race Director for the Nun Run was Robyn Roman and she could not have been any kinder or more generous to our group. She was gracious enough to allow our guys to start the race 5 minutes early and put as at the front of the start line. Thanks Robyn for being such a great friend to the Rock Region & SpeedforNeed!! The official timekeeper for the race led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer was offered and then it was time to go!! 5…..4…….3………2……….1 – go!!! something like that, may have been 5 – 3 – 1 but we heard go & we were off!! The chairs were out front and we were having a blast. I was fortunate enough to start the race with Jessica and I looked down at her after about a 1/4 mile & asked her if she was having fun and she just smiled with that big beautiful smile & I could tell she was enjoying herself. Pierce was off to my left and he had his hands raised & the biggest grin on his face!!! The biggest smile of the day was our very own Vuvuzella, enjoying running with Luka – he was setting a fast pace with all the adrenaline & excitement. Burr & Sadie were right alongside and what a blast it looked like they were having. After reaching the turn-around point we gathered our group together so we could finish as a group – chairs out front – and about 15 or 20 shovels flags in tow. It was such an awesome sight to take in. We turned the last corner and we were in the final few hundred yards and we turned it on – finishing as a group. Several people came up to me after the race & thanked me for our presence and commented that we had such a great impact on their small 5K. It was the men of the Rock Region who were thankful.
The children were awarded their medals and Jessica clutched hers tightly, Pierce as well. It was obvious what a great time that was had by all – the kids and all the big kids!! We gathered for a few pics, smiles, more pics and closed out our time together in prayer thanking the Almighty for blessing us with such a memorable day. T-claps to JRR Tolkien for acting on what was placed on his heart. To help bring running and fitness to those a little less fortunate – a true #HIM.
I was talking with Pierce’s mom after the race and she thanked me for the experience. She shared with me that Pierce really enjoyed himself and was sure he couldn’t wait to get home to tell everybody at home all about it and show off his medal. She asked me to return the Army flag that Apache had tied down on the chair, the one Pierce clutched the whole ride with that big smile. Apache happened to be nearby so I waved him over. He told Pierce that he would be honored if he would keep the flag which he was all too happy to accept. Perfect ending to an awesome day.
PonyTail out –