Moments – The Tempo http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series Blog Thu, 17 May 2018 10:42:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 Running Like A Mother http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/running-like-a-mother/ Sun, 13 May 2018 12:20:34 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=105571 Being a mom is one of the the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I wake up tasked with...

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Being a mom is one of the the hardest things I’ve ever done. Every day I wake up tasked with the enormity of shaping, molding, and guiding an impressionable life.

It’s a terrifying responsibility.

For ten years, we have worked our hardest to show our little boy how to navigate this world, to be kind and compassionate, to work hard, and to try his best; to be humble, but to have pride in himself and the things he does. I have the honor of celebrating his triumphs, and the agony of standing back to let him make his mistakes. I get to watch him learn and discover his passions and himself. I try to give him the tools to work through his limitations and I encourage his dreams.

In doing this, I have had to take a hard look at myself. Our children are always watching, and as a mom, I have a duty to lead by example. I can’t expect anything from my son that I, myself, am unwilling to give, and I want him to absorb the best parts of how we live our lives and use those parts as he creates his own path.

So for him, my bright and sweet 10-year-old, I run. I’m not a particularly talented runner, but I enjoy it. I don’t always train efficiently or productively, but I get out there again and again to accomplish that training. My goals may not be worthy to anyone around me, but they are my goals and I work at hitting them as best I can.

It is critical for our kids to see us engage in healthy habits. They need to watch us struggle, fail, and keep pushing. We can tell them all about how to “try, try again,” but if we don’t model that action for them, it’s harder for them to grasp.

Physical fitness was never a huge part of my early life. It wasn’t a part of the daily routine and it was a struggle to incorporate an exercise regime in my adult life. However, it was important to my health, both physical and emotional, so I found a way to make it work. The lesson I hope to pass on is that being active is one of the secrets to good overall health.

In the mornings, he wakes up to find me coming home from a run or gym session. He knows I leave the house before dawn so I can get back in time to help get him out to school. I show him that I can be an engaged parent, but still make time for the personal things I find valuable to my well-being.  I offer him the chance to run with me and happily register him for races in which he shows an interest. He knows I would rather spend time having fun with him on the course than worry about a PR.

I am his biggest cheerleader and he is definitely one of mine.

What I hope he sees is that his mom doesn’t give up. That even though I’ve never won a race (or come remotely close), I get up day after day, week after week, month after month, to keep trying. It doesn’t matter if I’m tired or sore or over it – I still keep pushing. I want him to know no matter how hard things get or how discouraged I am, quitting isn’t an option. Practice makes better, and knowing you’ve done your best is the greatest reward.

On this Mother’s Day, our plan is to celebrate with a run. It will be just a few more miles on our family total and we will enjoy spending some time together in the fresh air. It’s one of the things that brings us together as a family, and I hope it’s a tradition he wants to continue as he gets older.

Our children are watching. Let’s give them something great to see.

 

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Kira Stevens: Big Easy Medal Today, Gold Medal Tomorrow http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/kira-stevens-nola/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 13:08:35 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=105452 A route to a gold medal is never easy, but for teenager Kira Stevens, it will at least go through...

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A route to a gold medal is never easy, but for teenager Kira Stevens, it will at least go through the Big Easy. Her journey to the 2020 Paralympic Games went through New Orleans this year, as the 13-year-old ran her first ever half marathon at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2.

Stevens, a seventh-grader with cerebral palsy, got the idea one morning while her mother, Mia Erickson Stevens (an IRONMAN and USA Track & Field certified coach and director for Gulf Coast Multi-Sport) was leading the team’s track practice.

“My mom was training another athlete to run the half marathon,” says Kira, who lives in Slidell, Louisiana. “We joked about me running the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans a little and then decided that it was worth trying. I was super excited to find out that I could actually register for the half marathon!” Kira also signed up to volunteer at the Health & Fitness Expo where she assisted runners at check-in.

Mia, who coaches Kira, was thrilled that her daughter wanted to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans. “Kira used to hate running. She even had a hard time walking and would always fall down.” After undergoing foot correction when seven years old, Kira was able to run moderately better. Once she discovered track meets, with their mix of competition and socializing, her performance improved significantly.

In addition to running (the 1500m is her favorite distance), Kira swims, cycles, and races in triathlons. Her typical training week includes several track sessions with the Gulf Coast Multi-Sport team and five swim and dryland workouts with the Lakeside Aquatics team. “It’s not unusual for her to train at the track in the morning and swim in the evening,” says her mother.

Kira’s training mix paid off on race day when she crossed the finish line and received her Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans medal. “I loved seeing all the athletes and the bands on the course. I did not expect,” she adds, “to get so many blisters and lose a couple of toenails.”

Completing the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon was a significant confidence booster for the teenager as she aims for two long-term goals: qualifying in track and field for the 2020 Paralympics and, then four years later, adding swimming and triathlon to track and field qualification.

“We are hopeful for the 2020 Paralympic Trials, but if she is not ready then,” Mia says, “she definitely will be ready for the 2024 Paralympics.”

“For my classification (T-37), the Paralympics only allow 100m, 200m and 400 m, so I will really need to work on my sprinting skills. I have a good base and can run a long way, but I need to work on my reaction times.”

Kira is currently training to compete at back-to-back qualifying events for the 2020 Paralympics. For the first time, Kira will race at the Desert Challenge Games, a World Para Athletics Grand Prix, this June in Tempe/Mesa, Arizona. “I’m going there to compete and qualify but also get classified internationally,” says Kira. She plans to compete in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m on the track plus several swimming competitions.

A month later, Kira will travel to the 2018 Junior Nationals in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At last year’s Junior Nationals, Kira broke numerous records, including the national record in the 1500m and 3000m track events. She also earned the record for under 14 in the 3000m, 1500m, 800m, 400m and 100m, and in the javelin, shot put and discus.

Breaking records and qualifying for the Paralympics are not her only motivations to compete at the Junior Nationals. “It has helped me stay focused on my training and meet other para-athletes who I can talk to throughout the year,” she adds. Kira also follows the careers of several professional para-athletes, including U.S. Paralympian Scout Bassett who competed in track and field at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Kira encourages other teenage girls to try a running race, even a long distance like the half marathon in New Orleans.

Why?

“You’ll get hooked after crossing the finish line!” she says.

Kira is considering adding another Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon race to her training plan for the Paralympics. In the meantime, you can follow Kira’s journey on her Facebook page.

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Beth Deloria: About the Message, Not the Miles http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/beth-deloria-100-races/ Mon, 09 Apr 2018 20:31:42 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=105397 On Sunday, April 8th, 51-year-old Greensboro, NC resident and Get Back UP Today athlete Beth Deloria ran her 100th Rock...

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On Sunday, April 8th, 51-year-old Greensboro, NC resident and Get Back UP Today athlete Beth Deloria ran her 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll race in Raleigh. While finishing 100 races seems like an incredible achievement in itself, the community outreach manager for Allard USA, Deloria has done so while battling spinal fusions and foot drop paralysis.

The lifelong athlete, who continually battles back pain, had her world come crashing down in 2004 when doctors told her that her spine could no longer support her. A long list of birth defects, conjoined nerve roots, and ruptured discs converged over time making complicated surgery necessary. The foot paralysis came as an unfortunate effect of one of the surgeries.

“I never set out to run 100 races, but it was so special to realize how many we’ve done,” Deloria reflects. She adds that her group, Get Back UP Today, also got a lot of attention: “We’ve had so many emails asking about how to get the brace that our team runs in, which means we will be able to help more people,” she says. “That’s what it’s always been for me, not about the miles or the medals but instead about the message—no matter how many times you fall, there is a way to get back up.”

Up next for the almost 52-year-old “GoGo”, the nickname her grandchildren call her because she is always on the run, is the Boston Marathon on April 16th and St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville to make 101 races by the end of April.

Take a page out of this grandma-on-the-go’s book about how to keep at it, over and over again.

Shouting a Motto

For Deloria, two mottos became essential to her while adjusting to her new life.

“The first one came from a sign I read in my doctor’s office during a particularly tough time for me. It was a Japanese proverb that read ‘Fall 7 times, get up 8.’ I fell quite often due to my newly acquired leg paralysis, and it was during one of the darkest times in my journey that I actually noticed this proverb,” Deloria says. She adds that this saying has stayed with her ever since, and provided the inspiration for the organization Get Back UP Today. The second is a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step in faith.” Deloria says that this quote has helped her to focus on the things she can control, rather than what she can’t, and reminds her that just one step can be an amazing achievement.

Finding a Village

The Raleigh Half Marathon was also Deloria’s husband Jim’s 100th RnR race. “He was never a runner before he met me (we met playing soccer), but he realized that if he wanted to spend more time with me he would have to add running to his agenda,” she said. Jim has been by Deloria’s side, helping her get back up and running again after all four of her spinal fusion surgeries. “He really doesn’t even like running, but he loves spreading the Get Back UP message with me and he loves the ‘celebratory aura’ of all the Rock ‘n’ Roll events. But sometimes I think he’d rather I’d have taken up knitting instead!”

Remembering Joy and Passion Are Always Within Reach

“Every time I reach a starting line I feel that I have already won the race,” Deloria says. “From the onset of my spinal cord injuries all the way through my latest fusion surgery just 12 weeks ago, each time I’m healthy enough to stand in the starting corrals I feel like a winner.”

Deloria says that her message to others is always “Get Back UP Today!” “It reminds me that no matter how many times we fall there will always be a way back up. We may have to change what we do or how we do it, but joy and passion are always within our reach. We may not reach the finish line as soon as we had hoped, but I hope to convey to others that they should continue to strive to reach their goals, no matter how many times they get knocked down.”

Believing That You Are More Than a Title

This runner is a firm believer that we are more than just our “titles” say we are. “By this I mean that we are more than whatever we call ourselves, or are called by others, such as “mother, wife, job title, athlete, artist, etc,” she says. “Yes, these roles and interests do help describe who we are but they do not go as far as to define us.”

Deloria has experienced first-hand what it’s like to lose the things that defined her. “I eventually learned that you must face the loss but without losing sight of the qualities within yourself that you brought to your life’s titles. For me, that meant remembering the strength, determination and discipline that I used to apply to my athletics, and using those to help find meaning and balance in my life again. I had previously defined myself by my activities, abilities, and achievements, rather than by my own unique qualities and beliefs—these are the things that can never be taken away; it took me losing my identity to actually find out who I really am.”

To find out more about the Get Back Up Today Community, head to: http://getbackuptoday.com/.

 

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Running with Purpose http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/running-with-purpose/ Wed, 06 Dec 2017 20:19:58 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104878 Caroline Veltri’s maternal grandfather, Ronald Hughes, passed away two years ago. Her paternal grandfather, Italo Veltri, died a year ago....

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Caroline Veltri’s maternal grandfather, Ronald Hughes, passed away two years ago. Her paternal grandfather, Italo Veltri, died a year ago. Both passed in the month of December.

And so when the 27-year-old Veltri stepped to the starting line at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon on Dec. 3, she did so with a purpose.

“I set out Sunday to run the fastest marathon in my life, to date, in their memory,” said Veltri.

Now comes the good part, Veltri adding, “And I did just that.”

A Denver lawyer, Veltri made her late grandfathers proud, winning the race in 2 hours, 56 minutes, 8 seconds, besting her previous PR by more than three minutes.

Veltri speaks reverently and from the heart about her grandfathers. Hughes, she said, was from Scotland.

“He was just such a gentle soul, the smartest person I ever met,” she said. “He just had such a soft way about him. He always made it known to me he was very proud of my academic accomplishments.”

Veltri has only turned serious about distance running in the past two years, so Hughes missed her recent her athletic accomplishments.

“I know he would have been really proud,” said Veltri. “If ever I was down on myself he’d tell me I was destined for greater things. He had a strong faith in God, which he definitely passed on to me.”

Italo Veltri taught PE, umpired softball, loved pasta, was a night owl, taught Caroline how to perform headstands and was a master storyteller.

“Of any person in my family,” said Caroline, “I see a lot of myself in him.”

Veltri’s running backstory is a fascinating one. She ran track and cross country in high school in Kinnelon, N.J., modestly saying, “I wasn’t very good,” but adding, “I have always loved running.”

She did not compete for the university during her undergraduate days at Cornell. Two years ago in November, she dipped her toe back in the distance running waters, finishing the Raleigh City of Oaks Half Marathon in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 31 seconds.

One year later, she returned, ran the marathon and – talk about massive improvement – won the 26.2-miler in 2:59:27. She went from clocking 10-minute miles in a half marathon to reeling off 6-minute, 50-second miles in a marathon.

Stunning.

Needless to say, the woman who practices insurance defense law is blessed with some inherent talent. She enjoys dirtying her shoes on trails and going long, running the Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon last summer.

Come January, she plans to run the Hawaii Ultra Running Team 100 on Oahu. Among her goals: meeting the Olympic Trials marathon qualifying standard of 2 hours, 45 minutes.

A reflective type, Veltri explained her passion for ultramarathons this way: “When I’m running ultras, nothing else matters but me and the natural world and I leave one cluttered by social media, skyscrapers and material possession behind. Every time that my body wants to quit I just tell myself, ‘One foot in front of the other. One step at a time.’ I think about how far I’ve come and thank God for how my struggles have inspired my strengths.”

During a phone conversation, Veltri was asked what it is about running that moves her. It’s a question she has pondered and one she took the time to recently sit down and write about.

“Through running, I have become empowered to take a genuine look at myself,” she wrote. “Who I really am, what I really want and what I really need. I’ve chosen to love my journey and to no longer to compare my journey to that of others. The journey running has taken me on is the greatest adventure of my life.”

In spirit, Ronald Hughes and Italo Veltri must be looking down, smiling at their granddaughter.

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Larry Macon Runs 2,000th Marathon at 2017 Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/larry-macon-2000th-marathon/ Mon, 04 Dec 2017 23:02:17 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104867 Seven hours, 18 minutes and 50 seconds after he set foot on the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon...

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Seven hours, 18 minutes and 50 seconds after he set foot on the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon course, Larry Macon hit the timing mat.

Confetti burst into the sky. Macon jogged beneath a balloon archway. A collection of friends and family applauded Macon’s arrival.

“In some ways,” said Macon, “it’s more glory than the achievement demanded. But I enjoyed it.”

More glory than the achievement demanded? Let others be the judge of that. Macon, a 72-year-old practicing San Antonio attorney, was celebrated because he completed his 2,000th marathon.

No, that’s not a typo. Not 200. Try 2,000.

“You think it’s hard for you to believe,” said Macon. “It’s hard for me to believe.”

Do the math. Two thousand marathons measure 52,400 miles. That’s enough to circle the Earth at the equator twice, with 2,598 leftover miles.

“It’s unfathomable, unbelievable and beyond incredible that an individual has run 2,000 marathons in their lifetime,” said Dan Cruz, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series public relations guru. “Kudos to him. There’s no question of how big of an inspiration he has been to so many runners around the world.”

Making Macon’s feat on feet all the more fascinating is that his tale began with a fib. It was a Monday morning in San Antonio and Macon was huddled with attorneys who were regaling each other with how they’d spent the weekend.

One man boasted about playing 36 holes of golf. Another said he swam two miles. Macon had not done anything athletic the past weekend but he glanced at a newspaper, saw information about an upcoming San Antonio marathon and blurted out, “I’m training for a marathon.”

Three weeks later, on Nov. 11, 1996, he jogged his first 26.2.

“Let me say, I thought that was the end of that,” said Macon. “I enjoyed it, being outside, but it was painful.”

The pain, though, subsided and six months later he jogged another marathon. In his first six years he ran 12 marathons. Nothing too over the top there. Then he discovered an organization called Marathon Maniacs, which, Macon said, now boats 14,000 members.

“I was number 120,” said Macon.

A contest was held to determine the Maniac of the Year, to be determined by who ran the most marathons. The founder of the group ran 51 marathons, nearly one a week.

“Is there anybody who can beat that,” the founder said.

“Oh, by the way,” responded Macon, “I have 59 marathons.”

And so the journey began. Macon has set five Guinness World Records for most marathons run in a year, his all-time record being 239 in 2013. He once ran a marathon 30 days in a row. All of which leads to the obvious question: Why?

Why run so many marathons?

“Number one, the people who run marathons are wonderful people,” Macon said. “They’re almost always optimistic, upbeat. I think part of it is you’ve got to be almost crazy to think you can run 26 miles. I enjoy being outside. And the third reason, I am competitive. I’m not competitive on my time, but I’m competitive about finishing marathons.”

Macon is 5 feet, 9 ½ inches tall. He weighs 140 pounds. He’s a vegetarian. He’s been blessed that he hasn’t suffered any injuries of substance. He is supported by his wife of 48 years, Jane Macon. The couple do not have children.

But the main reason Macon has been able to run 2,000 marathons comes down to something very simple.

“I like it,” he said. “I really enjoy it.”

 

Watch Macon cross the Finish Line here:

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Mitchell Ginsburg to Run 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Event in San Antonio http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/ginsburg-100-san-antonio/ Thu, 30 Nov 2017 11:27:53 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104863 A common introduction to distance running goes something like this. College graduate wants to keep in shape. Does 5K. Jumps...

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A common introduction to distance running goes something like this. College graduate wants to keep in shape. Does 5K. Jumps to 10K. Has a little too much to drink one evening and buoyed by liquid courage registers for a half marathon. Figures, hey, I’ve gone this far, might as well take the 26.2 plunge.

Then there’s 49-year-old Mitchell Ginsburg of Gaithersburg, Md., who on Sunday will run his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event at the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon.

Ginsburg loathed running before diving in back in 2003.

“The whole concept of running just for running’s sake never enticed me,” said the economist.

But in the summer of 2002, a friend’s mother died. The friend decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon in his mother’s honor. Ginsburg swallowed the bait and joined his friend.

The result?

“It was ugly, very painful,” said Ginsburg, who finished a bit shy of six hours. “Later, I found out I had bronchitis.”

A stubborn sort, Ginsburg stepped to the Marine Corps Marathon starting line again a year later. His time wasn’t much better. Again, he battled health issues.

“A sinus infection,” he said.

Not one to go down without taking three cuts, Ginsburg took the 26.2-mile challenge again in 2005, this time at Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville. This one, he knocked waaaaaaay out of the park finishing near 4 hours, 30 minutes.

Ginsburg enjoyed the experience so much he decided he was going to join the 50 States Club and now has run a marathon in all 50 states.

His marathon count has reached 117. Half marathons? Try 60-70.

Music and bling are the reasons he’s fallen hard for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

“I like the music on the course and the medals,” he said.

He’s done his share of Remix Challenges at Rock ‘n’ Roll events, collecting a mountain of medals. He used to keep them on a credenza near his office desk A person spotted the haul one time and asked, “Does that mean you won all those races?”

His marathon PR is 4:14. His 13.1 PR is 1:53.

His favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll site is Madrid.

“It’s a nice course and a beautiful city,” he said.

The best part about his Rock ‘n’ Roll experience are the people he’s met along the way, the former strangers turned friends who have joined him on running adventures. He did the Capital City Challenge, running Washington D.C. on a Saturday, then Mexico City on Sunday,

He knocked off the Tex Mex Challenge, finishing Dallas on a Sunday morning, hopping aboard a jet and running Mexico City on a Sunday evening.

So how much longer will he continue putting one foot in front of the other on Rock ‘n’ Roll courses across the globe?

Said Ginsburg, “Because of the friends I’ve met over the years, I’m going to keep doing it until I can’t.”

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Carrying the Stars and Stripes http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/carrying-stars-stripes/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:34:20 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104841 Running marathons beats up the legs. For Curtis Brake, he gave his legs and arms quite the workout while running...

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Running marathons beats up the legs. For Curtis Brake, he gave his legs and arms quite the workout while running the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  Brake, who lives in Dupont, Wash., ran the entire 26.2 miles carrying a 3-foot by 5-foot American flag.

Brake carried the flag to support wear blue: run to remember, a running organization that honors the memory of fallen military members.

After crossing the finish line, Brake was asked which hurt more, his arms or legs.

“Neither,” he said. “The flag is heavy, but it’s not as heavy as the burden and pain our military endures. Trust me, it’s a struggle (carrying the flag) but not even close to the struggle the military goes through. They don’t quit, so I can’t quit.”

Brake also ran the race in honor of Jarod Newlove, a Navy petty officer 3rd class who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Brake planned to give his marathon medal to Newlove’s two children, a son, Jordan, and daughter, Addison.

Hearing Brake’s story, a finish-line volunteer gave him two medals.

Said Brake, “Jarod’s children, they’ll be getting my medals.”

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Honoring Fallen Soldiers http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/honoring-fallen-soldiers/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:25:36 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104835 Aquil Bey could not hide his exhaustion, nor did he try. Fatigue was etched across his face. Talking was tiring,...

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Aquil Bey could not hide his exhaustion, nor did he try. Fatigue was etched across his face.

Talking was tiring, so you can imagine what it was like to walk. Like thousands of others, Bey completed the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, only the 43-year-old Bey did it wearing complete Army combat fatigues and boots, weighing him down about 45 pounds.

Bey ran the marathon, his first, with his wife, Susana. They finished in 3 hours, 46 minutes.

Bey did it it full regalia to honor the six Army soldiers who died trying to rescue Bowe “Robert” Bergdahl. Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan in 2009, was captured and later released.

“I’m a soldier,” said Bey, who served 20 years in the Army and now owns a self-defense consulting company. “I know what it’s like to follow orders. I know what it’s like to do anything for the person to your left, the person to your right. You would go through fire for them.

“I’m compelled to honor their memories.”

Minutes after the race, strangers approached Bey multiple times and thanked him for their service.

“You are fricking awesome,” said one woman.

“These guys were true warriors,” Bey said. “We can’t forget that. We have to memorialize them. This is just a small token of appreciation for everything they’ve done.”

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Popping the Question http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/popping-the-question/ Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:20:21 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104826 Steps after crossing the finish line at the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, Kyle Franks tried to stop...

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Steps after crossing the finish line at the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon, Kyle Franks tried to stop and drop to one knee, but couldn’t. Runners sprinting past the timing mat kept pushing him back.

Finally, about 20 yards down the chute, Franks moved to one side and stopped his girlfriend, Jessica Cornett, who also ran the half marathon.

“I’m really tired,” Franks said to Cornett, “but I’ve got to ask you a question.”

And with that, he dropped to his left knee.
“Are you really doing this?” said Cornett.

And with that, Franks said the four words that moved Cornett to tears: “Will you marry me?”

“Yes, of course,” replied Cornett. “I love you!”

The couple lives in Russell, Ky. Cornett, 35, works in a hospital lab. Franks, 33, is a veterinarian. Franks carried the engagement ring the entire 13.1 miles, safely tucked away in a box in his right pocket. They’ve been dating for six months, although Cornett says he’s been pursuing her for 18 months.

“He was my best friend,” said Cornett, explaining why it took a while for the relationship to turn serious. “Once you cross that line you can’t go back.”

Cornett’s engagement ring was distinct, featuring a beautiful dark blue diamond. Still stunned minutes after the race, Cornett stuck out her left hand, admired the bling and said, “It is so pretty. He did a good job.”

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Pacer Pays It Forward by Guiding Blind Runner at Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/moments/pacer-blind-runner-los-angeles/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 23:20:00 +0000 http://www.runrocknroll.com/tempo/?p=104795 By Mason Kelley For David Francis Jr., 2017 has been a year to help others. He started by working with...

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By Mason Kelley

For David Francis Jr., 2017 has been a year to help others. He started by working with his wife as she trained for her first half marathon. Then he worked with members of the Inland Empire Running Club to achieve their goals. For the past four months, he has been training with Regine Sediva, a lifelong runner who has been legally blind since birth.

“This has been my year of giving back if you will,” Francis Jr. said. “Last year, I had a lot of people helping me achieve my own personal running goals. This year, I’m paying it forward.”

But, when Francis Jr. set out on this journey, he didn’t initially plan on working with Sediva. In fact, while both runners belonged to the same running club, they had never met.

Then, one serendipitous morning, Francis Jr. was out pacing the 8:30 a.m. group. On this particular day, he was at the back of the pack.

“Regine was there running with a gentleman, and I was at the back of the group,” Francis Jr. said. “I heard the guy giving her directions.” 

Sediva’s guide was pointing out debris in the road, imperfections in the terrain, anything that may present a tripping hazard for the runner, who was diagnosed with tunnel vision at birth – she has no peripheral vision. 

Francis Jr. looked at another runner in the group.

“Is she blind?” the 39-year-old asked. 

“Yeah, she’s sight impaired,” the runner replied.

That prompted Francis Jr. to say, “Oh wow, that’s pretty cool.”

A few weeks later, Francis Jr. and Sediva were back on a 12-mile training run. When the group hit a loop up and around a hill, Sediva’s guide asked Francis Jr. if he would help Sediva navigate that portion of the course. The guide was running a half marathon the next day and wanted to save his legs.

“No problem,” Francis Jr. said. “I’ve got her. She can run with me.”

He paced Sediva just off his left side. And, when they finished the loop and stopped for a quick drink at a water station, “she just kind of stuck with me.”

When they finished the run, Sediva had a request: “Would you mind being my guide and pacer for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon?”

“Sure, I can do that,” Francis Jr. said.

The duo has been training together ever since and will compete together Sunday in the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon.

Blind Runner

“I’ve been going out to her home a couple of time a week to train,” he said. “It’s just kind of a unique thing. She’s 50. She’s white. I’m a lot younger than she is. I’m African American. So I think it’s kind of a cool story of people from different backgrounds coming together, working together to achieve a goal. She is amazing, not only as a runner, but as an inspiration to want to get out and go running.” 

For Sediva, running has always been a way to relieve stress.

“I’ve been a runner all my life,” she said, moving from junior high to high school and then at Mt. San Antonio College.

She tried gymnastics and swimming when she was younger, but it was running that really captured her attention.

“It’s something that makes me feel good,” she said. 

As an adult, she’s competed in about 15 full marathons and just as many half marathons. She competed in her first Rock ‘n’ Roll event in Las Vegas last year and ran the Boston Marathon twice.

She was about a half mile from the finish in 2013 when the course was cleared after bombs exploded at the finish. She made sure to return the next year determined to cross the finish line on an emotional day.

Blind Runner
Regine Sediva and David Francis Jr. meet Meb Keflezighi at the 2017 United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Health & Fitness Expo. Sediva ran the Boston Marathon in 2014, the same year that Keflezighi won the race.

For Sediva, running has been baked into her identity, with those in the running club becoming members of her extended family. Francis Jr. is the latest addition.

“I’m glad David is going to run with me,” she said.

While Sediva doesn’t set specific race goals, “I usually do them (half marathons) in under two (hours).” 

But, most important, she wants to enjoy the experience.

“Just have a good time,” she said. “That’s what I tell a lot of people when they find out I’m a runner and they’re asking about their first time. Just have a good time. Don’t worry about pace. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to finish.” 

And, with a new friend by her side, Sunday’s race is sure to provide another memorable chapter in her competitive career.

“Here is a person who is sight impaired and she’s not letting it stop her from going out and achieving a lot of the goals she wants to achieve,” Francis Jr. said. “She’s not letting anything hold her back, which is pretty cool. She inspires me. 

“She’s someone the world should meet.”

The post Pacer Pays It Forward by Guiding Blind Runner at Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles appeared first on The Tempo.

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