This morning I ran the most bittersweet run of my life. In the course of the past five days the most phenomenal response to the Sandy Hook tragedy formed in Nashville, thanks primarily to Robbie Bruce -endurance athlete and coach for X3Endurance.
On Monday morning Robbie decided to try to gather 26 fellow athletes for a weekend long run of 26 miles in honor of the 26 lives lost in CT. Money would be raised for every mile we would run, and then sent to the victims families.
I thought it sounded beautiful and said "I'm in". Little did I, or anyone realize how this would blossom into an event that would unite over 1012 runners and raise $30,000 for those affected.
Here are the event details below, which primarily circulated via Facebook. Entirely grassroots, in less than 1 week:
RUN INFO:In some way, shape, or form we have all been affected my the horrible tragedy that happened in CT this past Friday where 20 children and 6 adults lost their life. On Saturday morning, we as a running/triathlon community can show our support for those affected by doing what we do best.
We leave LP Field (Parking Lot R) at 8am. We will offer 4 loops of 6.5 miles and you can choose to run 6.5/13/19.5/26 mile routes all for one of the precious angels lost last Friday. Relay teams are offered and we ask that each person bring a $1(minimum) donation for each mile they will run or walk. All proceeds will be donated to the families of the lost in Newtown. No matter what your "training schedule" looks like, come out and run for a great cause.
HERE'S THE ROUTE: http://www.mapmyrun.com/
As this event grows and grows we can't help but feel overwhelmed by the gracious outpouring of love and support from the Nashville community. We'll need volunteers to help keeping this event organized. We are working on gathering up support for those running, but if some of you out there would like to bring food, coffee or other items to contribute we will set up a post run refreshment area. Contact Season Kaminski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We look forward to handing you each an angel's name on Saturday morning. We look forward to spreading this loving kindness to as many as possible from Nashville to Newtown and everywhere in between. We look forward to sending help to those in Newtown as they begin to rebuild, continue to cherish those lost and continue to support those who are directly affected. We look forward to sharing our miles, our stories, our hearts and our support for a town far away in distance, but close to our hearts. With open hearts, open minds and open arms we will send money for miles to Newtown.
Yesterday morning I picked up the name of the angel I would run in honor of. All runners were given one, Benjamin Wheeler was mine and my running buddies, Carrie. (I CAN'T GET IT TO CENTER!)
Carrie sent me this image and said "Here is a pic of our little guy, Ben".
His sweet, innocent smile brought waves of tears. He is the same age as Blake. Same twinkle in his big brown eyes. I cannot imagine the pain his family feels. I was so thankful to have a positive outlet for this flood of emotions, and thankful that it would be a tiny drop in a little bucket of love and hope we Nashvillians have gathered and will pour into the many broken hearts in Newtown, CT.
My friend Daniel just posted this, and I will share it because I cannot think of a better way to summarize what this beautiful day meant to everyone who gathered this morning for 26.4.26:
All day long, the sun shown on us, and as I saw it set, I thought of all those angels looking down on us running our legs off to try and do a small act to show we care. No amount of miles or money can undo the pain of their families, but no one can take away the hope and love that was shown today!
Thank you Robbie Bruce, Season Kaminski, Robert Phifer, Lee Wilson, every volunteer, every runner, and the City of Nashville. You had an impact on not only me, but the whole world. You showed us that good people are alive, well, and active. Keep moving!