So, today I was going to continue to type away and keep telling you my story, when it occurred to me what we had done just a year ago at this time. Not to get ahead in my story here, but shortly after my diagnoses I was at home, angry, lost and not sure what to do. I was on my social media scrolling through mindlessly as a lot of us do, when something in my feed caught my attention. It was a post for the Relay For Life, without putting any real thought into it I signed up and donated to myself to get the ball rolling.
I had run off and on for the better part of my life and was lucky to be born with a runners body, so that night I signed up for the relay I decided that not only will I participate, but I will run or walk the entire 6 hour length of the event. Setting out that night in an old pair of runners that the dog had chewed I jogged at a pace way to hard for my own good, to a fault I’m way to competitive with myself and always give 100% when competing, even if it’s just a run. I made it a good 6 km that first run and with a pool in the backyard cooled myself down as soon as I could, “Not to bad” I thought, boy I’d pay for that. The next morning came and I basically fell out of bed and hobbled down to the kitchen both legs felt like stone and I attempted to stretch it out, if you’ve ever witnessed me doing that your in for a good laugh as I’ve always told Tracy and my boys my superhero name would be “Inflexible Man”, you get the picture. That morning a text message from Tracy was on my phone with more bad news, I had failed to read the fine print when signing up for the relay for life and that the entire event was going to be virtual “Great” I muttered, my feet still burning from the fact I ran in shoe with torn and chewed insoles.
I sat for a while considering my next move, and an idea pop in my head. I texted Tracy, “Why don’t I run my own event? I need something to occupy my time and a way to feel I’m doing something”. I feel like I wanted to earn peoples donations and no just ask for a hand out. That night when she got home Tracy and I sat and did some planning and I made my video, until this only my family knew about my cancer diagnosis. The video we made was raw and unscripted and told the social media world of my diagnosis and my 6 hour run event was created. The response I received was overwhelming and many people sent and still continue to send me their best. The event was planned for June 4th and would begin at my parents farm and continue into Stratford, head by some old friends homes and end down at the Avon river. It was already the beginning of May and my thoughts were “Shit, I’m pretty sore after 40 minutes and I’ve only got a month to prepare for 6 hours. No one I spoke with expected me to run the entire time, no one accepted for myself. The donations rolled in fast and added up quickly, motivating me to keep getting out there and getting after it! Tracy got many messages from people wanting to donation items to raffle off and use as donations, it kept her extremely busy. To this day I’m so very grateful to everyone who donated anything time, money or items, it was awesome.
The month of May flew by and with the help of many, especially Tracy for all the event planning and my oldest, Logan for being my training partner and Gavin for the encouragement and cheering me on the date arrived it was June 4th and we drove to the farm to start. A lot of my family was there to cheer on the start and run with me for the first bit. At 4 pm the imaginary gun went off and we started, Tracy and my Mom videoed the start as I was joined by my son, a couple of my brothers, sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. At the end first quarter mile were my first supporters, some of my oldest friends parents were there to cheer me on, I was touched that they came by and I even received another donation. Most of my entourage lasted until the first 10 km, Logan and I headed into town, followed by Tracy and Gavin, along with his girlfriend Lee. An hour and a half in it was just me running, everyone else following in car, my first stop in town was at my Grandfathers home, and also across from there were some of my Aunts and Uncles, next on the list was down to the cemetery to visit an old friend, taken way to soon and someone I miss dearly. Off to another friend of mine’s house, Stephanie, for a quick hello, then onto Tracy’s Aunt and Uncles house where I was met with a banner, and some friends that had driven 3 hours to be a part of it, thanks Jen and Chris. Then one last stop at my buddy Wayne’s house, there I was joined by my brother MIke and we heading to river to finish, getting there I had about an hour and a half to complete the full 6 hours.
Rounding the bend to take my first lap of the river, I was greeted by cheers as a good size group of old friends and family. I’m still overcome with happiness and emotion when I think back to all those who came out to watch a guy run around a river. Tracy and her friend broadcasted their live Friday night internet show from the river and it turned into a small, but responsible little party. I had a few other join us down there for a lap, but it was mostly Mike and myself. My friend Deb showed up and took some pictures for us, they all turned out fantastic, “Thanks for your time Deb”, you made us all look good. Friends from Brantford showed up thanks Rich and Sara and my boxing coach Jackie and his wife, I will never forget that. Blackeye boxing is a class act and a great gym full of the best people.
As darkness started to settle it drew close to 10 pm and I took the last lap around the river myself, I was cheered to the end and greeted by my wife and boys and waves of emotion, the event was over. I thanked the crowd that was left, we were still in a pandemic and everyone respected that and acted accordingly, no after party. Within about 15 minutes everyone cleared out and that was that, Tracy stayed in town that night, as we were buying a trailer the next day, so after 6 hours of running, not gonna lie I did take a few brakes, I hopped in my car with my boys and headed back to Brantford.
In total we raised over seven thousand dollars and I’d like to personal thank everyone, but then this post would go on and on, so I’ll just say “Thank You, Love you all”. This year I decided not to do the Relay for Life again, but as you all know I’m still running all the time and in some of my upcoming blogs I’ll get more into the training. This year I will be raising money for CNETS, which is the cancer organization I deal with directly. That fundraising will start in July and I’ll be soon posting on social media about it. Although it’s also virtual this year I have something planned again and just for a hint I’ll let you all know it’s gonna be “Ultra”, and I’ll be looking for some help and maybe some volunteers. It’s always hard to repeat your first years success, but here’s to trying……there is no finish line…