We arrived a day early to help with packet pickup, which is one of my favorite parts! It's wonderful meeting the participants, especially the younger ones who have so much enthusiasm when sharing the message of #Run3rd! I met some incredible pint-sized athletes as well as heard stories of how they encouraged their parents to run, or people that have lost large amounts of weight because they started running. I could make this whole report about them, just know they are amazing humans and I’m so lucky to have been able to chat with them for a few moments while grabbing their race bib.
Race morning was full of laughs with friends and captains that came in from out of town for this race, lots of running around before the real “running” part even started and a little bit of periscoping. I was chatting with my mom and turned to see Sean Astin standing there… What was he doing here? He had told us months ago he wouldn't be here, not to mention he had been dealing with a lot that week due to the passing of his wonderful mom, Anna, aka Patty Duke. He was here because this is his cause, and sometimes when you're in mourning, being around those that care about you is the best medicine. I couldn't agree more. We said our Hellos, and without missing a moment he gives me his phone and says, “You Periscope, right?” Yup, I do… and that was my job for the next hour. [Watch the Periscope video here!]
Sean cares so much about this group and wants to share the message of #Run3rd with the world.. which is exactly what we did at 7:30am on a Saturday. Not going to lie, it was pretty fun! Not as much fun as running the race and seeing so many familiar faces though! I cheered the whole time, ran with some of Mindy’s students, one of whom was ahead of me and said, “Oh there you are!” as if she had been waiting for me to catch up. We ran together for a bit before we parted ways to cheer on other runnings. Its moments like that one that will always stick with me from the race. Fast, slow, young, old, were all here for the same reason. Not to win, but to have fun and be healthy.
Last year, a few of us after finishing went to find the last runner and walk in with them. We did this again this year, not for us to feel good about ourselves, but to show them that they are so much more powerful than they know. We played “Eye of the Tiger” as she rounded the final corner, and she was met by Sean at the finish line to give her a well-deserved hug and medal!
After the running portion was over, awards were being given out and Sean called all of his Captains and Loyals up to the front. He gave a beautiful speech talking about power through life obstacles and what it takes to be a Hero. He presented the very first #Run3rd Hero award to my mom, Tracy Burwell!! Not many of us knew about , because, let's be honest, a few of us wouldn't have been able to keep the secret. Sean and Mom hugged, the rest of us cried… I was so proud of my mom and to see how much she affects those around her. I mean, I know she is a Hero, but I’m glad it is now official.. Looks like she is going to need a cape next. :)
Laughs, high fives, sweat, sun…so much sun…a few happy tears and encouragement for all! That pretty much sums up this race for me. Already looking forward to next year!