Sunday, November 13, 2011


The Dream Comes True
Somewhere between Columbia and Greenville on our way to ProCare Prosthetics in Buford, GA, I received the email I had been looking forward to ever since registering for the Boston Marathon back in September. Even though my friend Kelly Luckett had been able to confirm we were registered, part of me wanted this official word to make it real, to prove I wasn't living in some dream or coma.

I was on my laptop doing a little work when I got the message, and in a rather exuberant moment tried to put the screen in front of Jennifer, who happened to be driving around 70 m.p.h. at the time.

MI = Mobility Impaired
Mobility Impaired runners start first at Boston, before the wheelchair athletes and before the elites. This will be like a recurring running dream I have, where I am leading a race without effort. Then I am lost, running off course, sometimes through a building with no idea where the next turn is on the course. Part of this will be a déjà vu at Boston.

Boston allows each MI athlete to have two guides. In the case of the visually impaired, it is understandable that a guide is required for negotiating roadway hazards. However, as I learned from Kelly, since we MIs start first, we will be shortly overtaken by the elites and then the main field, most all who will be running far faster than us. Part of the guide's duties are to let the oncoming runners know that a MI athlete is ahead. Those faster runners will be focusing on their race and may not see the slower moving objects until too late.

From left: Ashley Kurpiel, Mike Lenhart, and Robin Hiers at G2T Camp 2011
 My guides will be my wife Jennifer and my friend Mike Lenhart. Jennifer will assist getting me to the starting line and help me find my mind when I lose it on raceday morning. As it turns out, Mike's sister is running Boston as an able-bodied athlete, and he had previously expressed a hope to go see her run. Now he has an obligation to be there, and will get to see his sister as she breezes past us later in the race. Maybe. :)

Jennifer and me at the 2011 G2T Camp
I will be running this race once again raising money for The International Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Association (IFOPA) and honoring our friend Ashley Kurpiel. We have come a long, long way in the past year with the exciting news that a drug will be in trials soon that WILL STOP this disease in its tracks. This is a finish line we can cross with your help here.

When I did fund raising at the Charleston Marathon I had no idea we were moving so quickly to end the destruction of this disease. The end is near for FOP, and we want to send it off faster with a good riddance kick in the butt as soon as possible. So please help get us over this hurdle and make a huge difference in so many people's lives?

Ashley has told me she, her family, and some other FOPers will be at Boston. I cannot imagine what that day will be like without waves of emotion overtaking me. To think of all we have been through and done together started with a few kind words from Ashley to me. Never underestimate the effect of human thought, kindness, and the spirit within.

We will get there from here.

1 comment:

  1. So excited for you! That's great that you start first - what a special moment that is sure to be.