Run Now Relay Runner
To say this journey has been epic is an understatement, to say the least.
So many amazing things have occurred so far that it is hard to know where to start. I thought I had an idea of how this journey may go, but after four days in, I can honestly say this experience has far exceeded any of my expectations.
The team motto is "Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.” We were told this several times prior to leaving Cleveland, and it has definitely proven to be very true as things during this trip seem to change almost hourly.
My van, Flight 5, had a bit of a rough start to the trip and our flexibility was tested. We went 27 hours without sleep, ran 18 miles in three days with 7 1/2 hours of sleep, had no regular schedule for eating or hydrating and ran in the rain the entire fourth leg. But just like all the other flights, we kept an open mind, persevered and conquered as we moved on to day five.
This journey is obviously about the running and the fundraising, but I have discovered that it is about so much more than that. It is about this team as well as the people we have met along the way. Of course, when we tell others what we are doing, we get the wide-eyed stares first, but those are quickly followed by words of encouragement and amazement.
My favorite story occurred Wednesday morning with an employee at Fleet Feet in Roanoke, Va., named Melissa.
Our van had stopped there for two of our team members to get some new shoes. Melissa was wearing a shirt that read "Runners for Boston" in honor of the one-year anniversary of the bombing. I inquired if those shirts were available for purchase because I thought, “How could that be any more appropriate for our cause?” I wanted to purchase them for my team members in my van.
She said they did not have any for sale, but wanted to give me hers in honor and support of what we were doing. She literally gave me the shirt off her back with tears in her eyes, and I humbly took it and wore it during my fourth leg run. These are the kinds of people we are meeting along the way, which shows that this is about so much more than running.
My team also had the honor of running the leg that occurred at 2:49 p.m. on Tuesday, which was the anniversary of exact moment of the bombing last year.
The relay was stopped at that time just outside of University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., and we were joined by the entire Run Now Relay team for a moment of silence, followed by a prayer led by Robert Green (relay runner). It was extremely moving, to say the least, and a tear or two was shed while we remembered Boston and the real reason we are on the road.
I am so proud to be a part of such a Christian community that reminds me daily of who is really in charge of this course.
I was asked to be a part of this team last fall, and was initially hesitant because of the time away from my family and because it was Easter weekend. But, after much prayer and strong encouragement from my husband, I made the commitment and boy, am I glad I did!
I cannot tell you what an honor and privilege it is to be a part of this team. To be honest, we have been pushed to the limit physically, mentally and at times, spiritually, but we just continue to remember why we are here. The bit of discomfort that we feel is nothing compared to what the people of Boston felt that day, and in the year since. Anything we can do to show them that we care, and that, as runners, we will remain strong is worth anything we are enduring as we complete our runs.
I would like to first thank God for giving me the physical ability and good health that allows me to be able to do what is required to complete this run.
Second, I would like to thank my family for allowing me to do this crazy endeavor, and for the support shown by them during my training — as well as while I am gone this week.
Last, I would like to thank our sponsors and the town of Cleveland for the support and prayers shown to us, because we are definitely feeling it out on the road.
We are headed into Washington, D.C., later today, which I am sure will prove to be exciting. We are supposed to have a group of runners from the D.C. area, and I personally cannot wait to run through the Washington Mall toward the Capitol building.
We are more than halfway finished, with over 500 miles of the 1,075 completed, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for us in the last four days, including finishing this run on that Boston Marathon finish line.
The last 26 miles of our run is the actual Boston Marathon course. As we near the finish line, I have a feeling there won’t be a dry eye on the team — I know mine won’t be.
We will remain Tennessee Tough and Boston Strong!
By DUANE GOFF
Run Now Relay Runner
The Run Now Relay sendoff from the Courthouse was great and I knew “The City with Spirit" would not disappoint.
The unknown was how those outside of our quaint town would react as we trekked through territory many of us have never seen.
We've run through rural Tennessee to the hills of Virginia, the streets of Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland as well as small towns in Delaware, and have seen beautiful landscapes and met amazing individuals along the way.
Just tonight [Wednesday] around 11:30 p.m., while running my leg of this journey through Perryman, Md., I passed a man named Al walking along the highway. He asked what I was doing. After a brief explanation, he proudly supported our efforts with a donation and promised to spread the word.
As we share our mission and tell folks along the way how the Boston bombing affected us all and how they can help, every person we come into contact with is taking up our mission as their own. They are taking ownership of a journey that is far bigger than a group of runners, far larger than a city called Cleveland.
Earlier today while visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony, my heart was overtaken with respect for those who have paid the ultimate price for our country.
Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment — “The Old Guard” — have guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every second, of every day, regardless of weather or holidays since April 6, 1948.
As we run this relay to Boston, I'll continue to remember the Changing of the Guard as the ultimate relay.
I'll remember the sacrifices that our servicemen and servicewomen have and are making, as well as everyday citizens who rise to the occasion for their country.
I'll remember that any tragedy will be met with support from the citizens of the greatest country in the world.
I'll remember that we, the United States of America, are still One Nation Under God.
We are strong, united and liberated.
We are free.