Good morning you Marathon Maniacs! Welcome home!
I first want to share with you the words and wisdom of our faithful coach and companion for the past two, nearly three years of training:
From Chuck to the Richard’s Marathon Team:
The Disney employee asked, "Why would you do that?" How could she understand why someone would sign up to run as another person? All I knew was I that I did it to honor him. We all knew he wanted to do Goofy. It just wasn't enough to be a 300 pound marathoner. He had to be more. When she asked me the question, I was tempted to really be Richard and say "Because I can."
In every way I was Richard for a day. My race bib said so. I had the support from "Team Harvey." They sent me off with hugs and kisses at 4 am. I had his brother by my side and all his TNT teammates. Those last words of encouragement were, "Run fast, we have to go shopping." I realized as I was pushed along the course with cheers of "Go Richard!" that I could never know what it was like to be Richard. I was only posing for a day. In life, someone is more valuable in death than they are living. It is hard to accept, but I have learned more from this man after his death than I did when we had him.
Thank you Richard, for letting me be you for a day.
If I didn't tell you this in the Reunion area Sunday, I think you should know about what happened to me and know that we as a group did a great thing that impacted more people than we anticipated.
Standing in the Corral waiting for the start, I had reached the point where I was ready to ditch my long-sleeve throw away shirt. I turned my back to the crowd as I was standing near the fence, and pulled it off trying to be careful not to snag it on the pins on my "Richard bib" on my back. A man's voice from behind me asked, "Is that THE Richard shirt?" I immediately crossed my arms over my front, turned and replied, "Yes. Why?"
He went on to explain that he had graduated from high school with Richard and that he and his wife were also running this weekend. They had read about our tribute on the Gulf Winds web site and were looking to see if they would spot any of us. I was taken by surprise and never introduced myself, or asked who they were. After culling through the Tallahassee finishers I am fairly confident I know who they are now. But, that is somewhat irrelevant. The important thing is that they were there for at least some of the same reasons we were there. Never forget that the next person you meet is really only separated from the next by six degrees. Truly.
Do you realize how many people showed up this weekend to honor Richard Harvey? Did you stop and count the number of people on the course who were either there for him or for someone who knew him?
On Saturday, 19 members of "Richard's Goofy Team" completed the Half Marathon along with 8 "Auxiliary" team members. By "Auxiliary" I mean parents, children, spouses, and friends of Richard's Team who came along for the ride by registering, training, and then completing the event because of Richard. Maybe not in whole, but at least in part because of what he meant to one of the team members.
Then on Sunday, 25 members of Richard's Goofy Team completed the Full Marathon accompanied on the course by another 6 auxiliary members. That made for a total of 14 who successfully completed the 2009 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge. You guys Rock!
Wow! Can you believe it? Can you imagine the impact we as a group could have if we focused on a cause that benefited the here and now rather than the past? Hmmm. It does make one think and ponder, does it not?
I congratulate all of you on your accomplishments over the past year to get to this place. You have done a wonderful thing. Keep it up. And, again my friends run strong. Run Safe. Find a new one and run with a purpose.