In 2019 I ran my first ever straight 5k in my hometown of Buffalo. I had completed a few Spartan obstacle course races, but my biggest weakness was running. I had known about the Undie Run for years because of my cousin Kevin participating in it and promoting it. I admired Kevin a lot!
When we were youger I felt that he looked up to me, but we were not the closest cousins. We saw each other a few times a year and as we grew our paths had crossed a few times but I guess this is how larger families are (we have A LOT of cousins), but when Kevin turned 28 it was my turn to look up to him.
Kevin was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and over the course of the following few years I saw him not only fight this incredible battle, but start a family, work his career, and become an advocate for those who were also diagnosed with this horrible disease.
So finally in 2019 I signed up for this 5k and went to support Kevin. I did not really think I would do all that great, but I was excited. I made the most common rookie mistake however, I started out way too fast! The excitement got to me a bit and I ran harder than I ever have. When I finally started to hit the wall about half way through I looked at those that were finishing the first half on this out and back course. These were people that at first I just thought were older or out of shape. Then I saw Kevin and his wife walking.
It hit me that many of these people were those like my cousin that were fighting for their lives. My legs and lungs were hurting and I had the thought "my pain is nothing compared to them". I realized that this pain was so insignificant and there were others going through chemo, their families struggling to pay the bills, or potentially looking at a fatal outcome and yet were out here walking, and possibly running this course with me.
I suddenly began to pick up the pace and chased down 3 people that were in front of me, eventually passing them all. My first 5k was finished in 23 minutes and change, placing me 7th overall and top of my age group!
Over the past 2 years I have continued to push myself and my self imposed limits, and each time I try to raise a little bit of money for an organization that has supported Kevin to some extent. This year I finally had the crazy idea "I am going to run the Erie Canal" and my first thought following that was "I wonder if Kevin would like another fundraiser"? Sure enough, Kevin had recently started a non-profit, The Buffalo Colon Corps, which is going to be a state wide coalition to bring more awareness, and access to colorectal cancer screening! It was a match that I could not deny.
So anyone that is reading this that thinks this is a crazy idea, he can't do it, I would never even try I want you to think for a minute. I am sure you know someone who has battled cancer at some point in your life. Would pushing your limits, crossing thresholds you never thought possible, or seeing just how far you could go put you even close to the same amount of pain that cancer has inflicted on your loved ones? If the answer is no, join me! Sign up for this event with me and over the course of 3 months go farther or faster than you ever have. When you do, create your own fundraiser and share it through your social media! Support a cause that has supported a loved one of yours, or raise more for the Buffalo Colon Corps. Do something to make an impact today!
This may be a crazy idea, and if I am being honest it scares me more than anything I have ever even thought about trying, but I am committed to it! Over the next few weeks I will post my training program that I am going to try to follow to the letter, how my coaching has come to be about, and all of the progress we have made.
I cannot wait to hear your responses, stories, experiences, and how you are working towards this goal with me! Your support will inspire me to push myself, and I know your hard work will inspire all of those we can impact just by simply running.