Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of running the NFL Kickoff 5K in Baltimore with Athletes Serving Athletes as a Wingman. I was originally paired with Ryan, who was unable to attend, so I was paired up with Kevin instead. It was an amazing experience! Team Kevin consisted of me, Kim, and our Team Captain (I think Doug was his name) and Kim and I took turns as Wingmen as we ran the 5K course around M&T Bank Stadium and on to the 50 yard line.
I had to admit, it was TOUGH…REAL tough! Somehow, I ended up with the hills (thanks Kim!) and a couple of the tight turns. No worries…Kim was first to hit a couple of the traffic cones with Kevin’s wheelchair, so I didn’t feel so bad when I almost wiped out a couple of runners. Kevin had a great time as we weaved in and out of the runners as he paved the way for us by yelling “on your left.” It actually made me feel pressured as I didn’t want to let him down by not passing the runner he was telling to get out of our way. When I struggled on the hills, Kevin encouraged me by telling me “Go for it!” “You can do it!” Imagine that…HE was encouraging ME!
I never ran a 5K as hard as I did last week and I’d do it again and again. Athletes Serving Athletes has an amazing non-profit organization that assists athletes who have disabilities cross that finish line. Their mission statement is:
Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) is a non-profit organization that brings people together to experience the joy, excitement, and thrill of competition. ASA offers innovative athletic training, supportive mentor relationships, and high quality endurance events for athletes living with disabilities. ASA uses athletic activity as a catalyst for personal development—improving physical fitness, increasing self-esteem and empowering challenged youth to meet their highest potential. We inspire all people to give of themselves and live more active lifestyles, pursuing a high quality of life and achievement.
Last Wednesday, Kevin was my inspiration and his joy and excitement was contagious from the time he yelled “OOOOO’s” during the national anthem (those from Baltimore will get it) to the time we crossed the finish line and I put the medal around his neck. I can’t wait to do it again!
For more information about Athletes Serving Athletes, visit http://www.athletesservingathletes.org/.