Monday, September 10, 2012

1st Annual Race for Maggie

A few months ago I posted to my blog about our idea to organize a race to raise funding and awareness for Maggie, our current RODS orphan.  Today that idea became a reality!
The day started with a 4:15AM alarm clock welcoming Andrea and I to the days activities.  After a 12:15AM bedtime for us because of a very fun trip to McCall with some work associates, we were both a little slow to “rise and shine”.  Luckily the thoughts and excitement of getting to see the race come to fruition helped boost the energy level. 

Bear Creek Park was chilly and the grass was still wet from the dew that would surely dissipate once Mr. Sun came out to play.  Setup went well.  It was fun to see the headlamps of the volunteers busily working like an active beehive, paying special attention to every detail. 

Before we knew it, racers started showing up and registration packets were being handed out left and right.  The Half Marathon started at 7:00am sharp.  One thing I quickly noted was the energy and anticipation that the racers brought.  I love that about racing! 

After the Half Marathoners took off we started working on registering all of our 10k participants.  Our volunteers did a great job!  Organization was good and the many hours of planning were paying off.  The other welcome sight was the warm sun who was now happily shining down on everybody.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather today! 

Our second countdown of the day was now upon us as the 10k racers toed the line.  Off they went!  Once again, the competitive look in many of their eyes and that energy was ever present.  This was fun! 

Participants for the 5k were already arriving and pinning their race numbers to their shirts.  This being my first race to organize I was a little nervous.  Having Angela Redding and Matthew Hansen as part of the Race Planning Committee really lightened the load and gave me peace of mind.  They are great! We had 2 races going on and 1 more to get started before racers would be expected at the finish line.  So far so good. 
The 5k was our largest group to race by far.  The diversity in this group was inspirational to say the least.  There were very serious runners and others who I wouldn’t consider serious runners but definitely serious advocates of Orphans with Down Syndrome.  It was a sight to see watching them all take off running and knowing that each of them were playing a part in helping Maggie find a home.  As they made their way through the course I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to see how much this will grow for next year!” 

About an hour and a half after we started the Half, our first finisher came cruising in to the finish.  That was the first of many high fives I got to give to each of the finishers.  It’s fun to race, but it’s also a lot of fun to get to see each of the finishers cross the prize line with big smiles on their faces and a look of accomplishment in their eyes. 

One by one the racers came in and crossed that finish line.  Volunteers were busy recording times, handing out waters and making sure everybody was doing well.  It’s a great reminder to remember the power that comes when a group of people come together for a common cause.  There is only so much that any one person can accomplish on their own.  Together, on the other hand, we shall conquer!

As the final 5k racers finished we prepped for the grand finale, the kids fun run!  We also prepped for our special visitor for the kids fun run, HANS!!!  A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine came up with an idea.  He asked if he could dress up as HANS, an “elite” athlete equipped with giant muscles and of course a European accent to go along with those muscles.  We introduced HANS when all the kids were lined up and told them that for everyone who beat HANS in the race, a donation would be made for Maggie.  The kids loved it!  Off they went chasing down the European giant.  Luckily, in the final stretch HANS took a spill on the grass and each of the kids passed him by!  It was great! 



On a personal note, I got to watch my little princess Brynlee run the race.  She made Dad so proud!  She didn’t hold anything back and finished very strong.  I could see the look in her eye that I feel when I come down the stretch towards the finish line, heart pounding out of my chest, having just pushed myself to the absolute limit.  I kneeled down just past the finish line as she sprinted across right into my arms.  I picked her up and she gave me a huge sweaty bear hug.  I could tell that she had pushed hard for Maggie and I was so proud.  She has that fire in her.  I hope to get to race many races with my kids in the future.

Everyone was so supportive of our efforts for the race.  Those words of encouragement go a long way when you put take the plunge to put these events together not knowing how it will turn out.  I am also thankful for all the help taking down.  We were all a little tired, but once again, many hands make for quick work! 

As a closing note, it looks like about $2,000 will be able to be donated to Maggie after all race expenses are paid.  This is one of the main reasons why we do this.  The other is to create awareness for the circumstances our little orphans are facing.  After today, we know that at least 200 more individuals are aware of Maggie and the hundreds of others who are in orphanages and mental institutions.  It will become very real for us all when we organize a race and have one of the orphans we raced for in years past there to welcome the racers cross the finish line.  What a day that will be!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me cry!!!! Tell Brynlee that Aunt Jo is very proud of her!!! Hopefully we can make it for the next one!!!

Kyle Stenson said...

That's a beautiful thing.

Kyle Stenson said...

What a beautiful thing!

The Idaho Neumanns said...

What a vision! I can only imagine seeing an orphan close to our home participating in our events! Great goal! Great photos!

Mardee said...

riksen 17
I am so proud of you and your efforts. This was an incredible event. I can't wait to support you in Hawaii!