This will be my last ever blog post here at the running site. I want to start out by saying thank you to everyone I have ever worked with in the charity world and ran along side. Been many ups and many downs but the bottom line is that we helped make a difference in the lives of families. I want to thank everyone for all of the good over the years that we did together and I am sorry that I won't be able to help anymore. As of right now my wife, Jamie Gleason will be the new director at therun4life and I will be working out of town for awhile. I am still directing along with Jamie, Trick R Trot 2012 at Falcon Park and I hope to see you out there on October 14th.
Here is a list of all that was accomplished since 2007: http://www.therun4life.org/#!past-events
Where Did Charity Start?
My first ever charity gig was a CMN shootout I created for Wal-Mart in 1996 in Syracuse. After that I just enjoyed the feeling of helping and had always dreamed of being wealthy enough to help the world. Little did I know that helping CMN from their start would lead to my own son being helped by CMN in 2002. When I attended grad school at Marylhurst University, I had learned that the system was broken and that it needed fixing. Too many unethical charities are in it for the wrong reasons. My constant drive and determination to be on the level is why we won a Gold Award from Guidestar in 2012 for Transparency. An award that 90% of other charities if not more will never receive. I put all of our figures, meetings and financials online for all to see because I believe it should be that way. I will say this pursuit does its damage on you mentally. Always trying to follow the rules while you watch many others always breaking or bending them. I truly hope that any of you out there have the best intentions going forward in the charity world.
Bye Bye to Running
My running career I guess you would call it was a great one and one that even I am shocked about. Having knee surgery at 18, I never thought I would be any good at running. One day after dealing with my sons surgery and stress, I just let it loose out there. The first two years hurt like the worst pain I had ever felt. Then In 2007 I was able to train with two amazing coaches: Don Miller and Kevin Collins. I literally went from the back of the pack to winning a race in a matter of months. I got done with training in the end of July 2007 and won my first race in August of 2007 and Presidential Gold Medalist in 2008. A feat I never thought possible. After that I went on to win a couple more, and was in the top 10% for almost 3 years straight. Near the end of my career I was able to run the Boston Marathon. A bittersweet day where I partially tore my PCL. You can read about it in one of the links below.
The Post Article http://blog.syracuse.com/healthfitness/2009/04/boston_marathon_was_great_feel.html
The Citizen http://auburnpub.com/sports/article_c3ad6a3e-3ef7-5ca0-b97f-c3ffd6233172.html
I had thought that Boston was the end of my career. I worked hard trained with a couple wonderful ladies at the YMCA and won a 10k the following September. In October I was in a major car accident and that was it for me. I did one race in July of 2010 for a friend of mine who passed with cancer and finished in the top 20 and was done for good. It was then that I started feeling strange and things changed for ever. I have since tried to make 2 comebacks and my body shuts me down each time. Dealing with Tietzes Syndrome and the effects of it are nearly impossible to run. You may be running good one day and then your chest plate moves and it hurts and you can't breathe. I ran two 5k trials in 20:03 and 21:08 after 6 weeks of training but I knew it was the end of the road for me. I am thankful for all those races I ran and all of the thousands of kids I ran for over a 3-4 year period. It was inspiring and something that I will always carry with me. So no more running for this guy but I hope that if you are a runner that you go out there and give it your all each day. Don't get hung up in the fight of the coaches who argue over this and that. Go out and run and enjoy it. That's the bottom line. If you don't, you shouldn't be doing it.
Where I Go From here?
Well no one ever knows exactly where they will end up. Heck with my luck I could have a new job one day and downsized the next. So I don't take anything for granted. All I know is that I learned a lot since I starting the R4L. I learned who are truly my friends and who had other ideals in mind. I learned more importantly the strength I had while overcoming two sick children, two car accidents, bankruptcy, and illness myself this spring. I am still here and life apparently wasn't strong enough to take me out. I hope life goes into training because it changed when it met me and my family. I love you all and I wish you the best for things to come in 2012 and beyond.
P.S. A couple of Photos that inspired me since 2007.