Today I had the pleasure of running the Jared Coones Pumpkin Run. It was not a pleasure because I LOVE the 5k distance in fact I rather dislike it, remember the unathletic part? Yea, that goes with the running fast part and I just don't do that well! But anywho this morning started at 6 am and the run was at 8. I had on my lucky shorts from Nike last year (me superstitious never I also have a lucky sports bra... Both are not flattering!) and was on my way to the Pumpkin Run. But why if I dislike the 5k would I do this to myself?
This summer I had the distinct honor of playing with and helping kids cope with cancer. I had parents tell about marriage problems that cancer had caused, I had heard stories of life and loss, I have played Princess with girls in blonde wigs and held girls hands when they are crying. You do not go through this experience without coming out changed. You realize how short life is... And how we often take that for granted. You learn that even small gestures make a difference and most of all you learn about mental toughness.
The Jared Coones Pumpkin run has raised over 275k over the last 11 years for the Dream Factory, Children's Mercy Hospital and other cancer organizations. This run is held each year at Jared Coones elementary school in honor of him losing the battle with leukemia in 1998. His mom died not even 10 years later of breast cancer. Tom Coones has held the race every year to give back to the people who helped his son live throughout cancer and to honor his family that he lost. The honorary starter was a little 6 year old named Braden going through neuroblastoma while his mom faces breast cancer herself. This race was full of tear jerking moments. When Rachel a high school senior stricken with cancer crossed that finish line at 1 hour and 34 minutes and when the families that lost a loved one to cancer were introduced I was misty eyed. The moment that really took my breath away was seeing Braden's family come on stage to be introduced him in his gloves with his shiny head, dad carrying him with mom following behind with a hat on to cover the effects of her own treatment. I knew that family not them personally, but families so similar to them. It makes you so grateful for your health and that you GOT to run that day.
I ran a 23:09 still not my sub 23 but good enough for 3rd in my age group. I ran this for all of "my" kids and all of the people who will be touched by cancer this year. They are all in my thoughts and prayers today because in the end that 5 extra lbs don't matter, those 9 seconds don't matter, but the chance to live is enough.
Me with Tom Coones and Joel Nichols accepting my age group award