Run Now Relay Runner[Saturday] .... [Saturday] was crazy!
We launched the Run Now Relay to Boston [on Saturday]. Over 1,000 miles. The launch was amazing and beautiful. I cried a little. It has been so emotional getting ready for this trip. And, there is so much, much meaning and emotion tied to the run.
We opened the local 5K, then had an awesome sendoff in front of the Bradley County Courthouse. We even got a resolution from the state Senate.
And, of course, we ran. My team, the Blue Boston Boomerangs, covered our first 30-mile leg. We stayed under 10-minute miles for the whole 30 miles.
I won’t say the [second] day went off without a hitch. Someone (me) woke up late and was rushing to the drop-off point. Luckily, we made it in plenty of time. Just a little hectic though. Oh, and then there was the brief moment when we lost a runner in the middle of nowhere. But, all in all, [Sunday] was the greatest day. Just amazing.
All of our runs went beautifully! My leg was fantastic. I felt hydrated and great. I held a respectable pace of 9:30 through rolling Tennessee hills. I got to run with Ben [Williams] and it was just lovely.
We took some awesome railroad pictures while one of our poor teammates was running some brutal terrain. All of us had great runs (Go Blue Boston Boomerangs). The weather was warm, but our group missed running in the worst of the heat today. That was definitely a welcomed change from yesterday.
(We may have been blasting Bon Jovi singing at the top of our lungs as we encouraged Yuri [Davis] while he tackled some beautiful Tennessee hills on the way to Davey Crockett’s birth place.)
We did a lot of cheering. One of my favorite things about this run so far is being part of a team. I love supporting each other and knowing I have the support of this group.
The runners had a picnic that was donated by Panera (Bread). At that point, we had been on the road since 4 a.m. and had just finished our leg without a full meal. I always love Panera, but the picnic was extra amazing. We even got a chance to be interviewed by Johnson City TV station News Channel 5.
We also got to watch one of our teammates in another group complete his second full marathon. Yes, a full marathon. Johnny Clemmons is running a marathon a day until we get there. And, he did it so fast I couldn’t even get a good picture.
Then, the highlight of my day: I got to lie down on the finish line at the Bristol Motor Speedway (alongside multiple Run Now Relay runners). The bank on the curves was insanely steep.
Finally, we headed to downtown Bristol. Some amazing folks bought us a delicious dinner, then us gals got to take a photo standing on the state line of Tennessee and Virginia. The middle of the road is a state line.
[Sunday night] we camped in our support trailer and the guys slept in a church gym — well, except for the team running. Because, remember, someone is always running, no matter what. I’ll admit, we are tired, but in the best way. Not only have we had fun, but we’ve gotten to share with so many people why we are doing this.
We have had a blast, but this is more than fun. We are running with a cause: to stand with Boston and the running community. And, to benefit kids wounded in the bombing and help underprivileged kids in Boston have access to sports. I love that this is an adventure with purpose.
Running changed my life. It gave me confidence and strength. I hope our donation can help disadvantaged youth experience the same benefits. This adventure is bigger than us. I’m so honored to have a small role in this endeavor.
We are still short on our goal of raising $1,000 in each of the seven states we pass through. Please consider helping us out, if you haven’t done so already. Donate at www.runnowrelaylive.com.
[Monday] is our first night leg! I’m a touch nervous. We will be running through the Virginia hills. Oh my!
By Robert Green
Run Now Relay Runner
Why are you running to Boston?
This seemed to be the resounding question over the past few months. Why run with a team of 26 volunteers who live with a sense of reckless abandonment across nine states covering nearly 1,100 miles through hot, sunny valleys in the heat of the day and chilly mountains at night?
I have a better question, why not?
This run is not about shedding some extra weight, it’s not about keeping your cholesterol in check, it’s not even for some ribbon or medal to hang around your neck. There is a much higher transcending reason to run this relay from Cleveland, Tenn., to Boston. We were summoned by love and compassion to reach out to the Boston community and offer hope from their Tennessee brothers and sisters, “the Volunteers.”
The moment the bomb went off at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, the running community was stunned and shaken but not defeated by the senseless act of violence.
Our community answered the call to come to the aid of others, much like we have been known to do throughout history. We have followed in the footsteps of our legendary hero Davey Crockett, but with a new battle cry, “Remember Boston.” We have a message to deliver: love trumps and triumphs over hate, prejudice, fear and evil.
We run with a mission to declare that “love” is more contagious, more powerful and more explosive than any bomb meant for destruction and harm.
We ride in a fleet of vehicles as one runner after another hits the pavement with a determined purpose. Each clings to the words of an ancient text, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly, I do not fight like a man beating the air.”
The baton of hope is passed from one runner to the next with the unbending resolve to “finish the race” for those who were unable to make the last 400 yards in the Boston Marathon.
Our minds and hearts are racing as we contemplate the moment we are able to hand deliver the message of love and solidarity when we hand deliver a check for $50,000 split between Dream Big! and the One Step Ahead Foundation. The money was raised by the team and continues to grow as we run through each state.
OK, so now does it make more sense?
Does it make sense why a band of volunteers would take their vacation time and make the 1,075-mile trek running by foot (an estimated 2,150,000 running steps) through all kinds of weather conditions. Why the runners would continue nonstop through the late hours of the night and early morning?
We’ve been summoned to unite with not just those who run, but with all who have felt the crippling effect of someone’s hate and violence. We are a team with a message that no man runs alone.
There is an interesting fact about geese when they team up to take their annual flight. When geese fly in formation, they travel about 70 percent faster. When they fly alone or when a sick or weak goose drops out of flight formation, at least one other goose will leave formation to help and protect the weaker goose.
Another interesting fact about geese is that when the leader tires, he or she rotates to the back and into the “V,” and another goose flies forward to become the leader.
The next time you see a formation of geese, remember that it is a reward, a challenge and a privilege to be a contributing member of a team.
Well, my turn is up. I can’t wait to carry the 3 a.m. torch and lead the next leg of the journey. At the finish line love wins with the battle cry, “Remember Boston.”