A Painful Reminder

1 Comment 09 May 2010

When Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake I decided I had to do something in hopes of making a difference in the lives of those affected by the tragedy. Being friends with the national director of  Team World Vision I knew that any money raised on their behalf would be used wisely to help the people of Haiti, so I decided to run the OC Marathon.  To be honest, a couple things crossed my mind at the time of making this decision.  One was, I’m about to ask people to donate $2500 to an organization other than Give Your Sole knowing that we really need the funds to continue our work too.  Second, I knew without a doubt, the people of Haiti still needed it more than we did. Lives were at stake. Children were left homeless, motherless and fatherless. Our $2500 could wait. So, I began to train and ask for money.  The following is what took place Sunday, May 2nd as I ran the OC Marathon.

Go Team World Vision

I awoke to my trusty blackberry alarm at 5:30 am to put on my race gear I had laid out the night before.  The race began in one hour from the time I rolled out of bed; no sweat. I started the day like every other day when I head out for a run.  Every runner knows, you never change the routine if you have any plans on finishing.  Pasta the night before, and nothing crazy in the morning. So far, so good.  Meanwhile, while I was getting ready, friends of mine were getting the Give Your Sole booth set up for finish line shoe collections as runners finished the 5k, half marathon and full marathon.

My family and I decided to stay the night before at a nearby hotel only to avoid the race day morning traffic and street closures. (Totally worth it, by the way!) I walked out my hotel door at 6am with a half hour to spare. Eating my banana and Clif Bar I walked to the start line with 13,000 other eager participants.  All I could think about was how great it would be if all these runners knew about Give Your Sole and our goal of making sure every homeless person in this country had shoes on their feet.

Potential Donors

As I began to stretch I worked my way towards the start line to where the announcer was, in hopes of having him share a plug about Give Your Sole and our cause.  I’d met Rudy, the announcer, at the expo a couple days prior to race day and he was very kind and supportive of our cause.  As I progressed closer to the starting line, Rudy, all of a sudden mentioned to all the participants about Give Your Sole. Wow! I couldn’t have been more grateful! Minutes later the horn sounded and we were off.  Some of us focused on the half marathon, others, the full.

As I began my run everything felt fine.  Then. As I approached mile 12. Blisters! On the bottom of each arch. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” I’ve never gotten blisters but today was a different story. This point of the race is where decisions are made. Do I go for the half marathon and finish with grace or continue on with the full marathon as promised to my donors?

Decision Time

I chose the latter. After all, I made a promise, a promise to the people of Haiti that I would run for them.  Not much after the decision was made the blisters got worse.  What came next was unexpected. Cramps. Both quads cramped at about mile 15. As if that wasn’t enough, my groin and calves cramped soon thereafter.  I had to walk off the cramps for about 1/4 mile and run 3/4 of a mile. I would do this routine the rest of the race.  Not pretty by any means. Not in my plan at all. Funny thing is, it really wasn’t ‘my’ plan anyhow.

But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. – Matthew 7:14

While the pain came and went like the tide, I realized this was not at all about me. It was about the money that everyone donated because of those in need in Haiti. My personal disappointment was far more irrelevant than what was taking place and continues to take place in Haiti. World Vision continues to work towards relief of those still suffering.  If you would like to help in some way, you can still DONATE in hopes of reaching our goal of $2500.

As I came up on the finish line, an hour later than planned, my wife and son awaited me. There they stood cheering me on as though that hour I gained meant nothing. As I hobbled towards the Give Your Sole booth bodies lay everywhere. From the looks of things you would have thought a triage unit was needed. By the time I reached my booth, I was starting to feel better. I asked the team working the booth what our count was for shoes. 140 pairs. Another disappointment or should I say, ‘personal’ disappointment.  I guess sometimes it’s not about how many but how many it will help. That reminds me….

I had hoped for more pairs, but then again, one pair can make all the difference.

Man on the street receiving a pair


- who has written 75 posts on Give Your Sole.

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1 comment

  1. Nice job Brett. Sometimes just finishing is victory enough.

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