6/24/07

Running - Awe inspiring Sunday…

So today was the infamous, Hope & Possibility 5M race in Central Park. Sponsored by the Achilles running club, a worldwide track club that enables people with all types of disabilities to continue in their athletic components “deferred” by their handicap capabilities, the race was a well organized and awe inspiring event. Many of the usual runners in central park see hand cyclist and “Achilles” runners (I think these are runners whom run with a blind person which have a rubber band type of string that they “guide” the other runner along with) as a daily routine training (more on the weekends than on the weekdays) like any of the other runners…but to see many of them in a race, is very unusual and quite the benefit to be aspired. Which brings me to my next question to all of the runners out there…What would you do if you did not have one of your legs? Would you continue to run and train?

As I walked up to the starting line, I saw a large amount of hand cyclist at the very beginning of the start. You don’t see many of these hand cyclist at a usual road runners race, you see a handful, but not like 20-30 of them all together. I had also went to see if any of the Flyers had been running in this race. This race was one of the smaller races due to the “non-counting” factor of scored races that counted on your nine NYRR races for the marathon qualifying. So many people did not do this race. But still many people were in attendance. The large groups of TNT (Team in Training) groups used this run as a training run for many of its members, which for many of them had been their first running race.

I was also looking for my friend, JK, at the starting line, whom was doing this race for her first running race and wanted to wish her luck. With so many people, I tried to look for her at her appropriate pace, although had found out later on that she had moved up to a faster pace group because of the lack of people doing this race. (if she only knew about the pace times during larger road runner races and how much I do hate the people who do not run in their appropriate pace/pile section…but that’s just me) But this was a smaller race, so it did not matter to me because I was not running in the race either, but I could not find her. So I had left to find a spot on the course in which I could at least take pictures of those flyers whom were running in that race and also a picture for my friend JK, who needed a running picture of her to post on her TNT website.

While watching the race though, you can sense the amount of determination and strength that all of the “handicap” runners had gone through within their lives. The Achilles runners with their “running pacers” to the runners with a prosthetic engineered leg to hand cyclists, they all came out in full force to prove to themselves that they can run like the rest of us.

It just brings to question about the whole “would you, could you” question because many of us would say “yes”…but until faced with that situation, the long effects of something like that would greatly effect your decision. So, I consider myself lucky, with a healthy body. I have much respect for anyone whom still runs or stays determined with an outlook on life of still staying athletic.

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