Saturday, April 5, 2008

Anna’s 50 Yard Dash Race Report

I think my favorite thing about running has been sharing the experience with so many other people. Running has given me the opportunity to bond with my family and friends in a new way, unite with my community and make connections with absolute strangers (this website is a great example). I love sharing this passion with others and find myself talking about running to everyone I meet, including my clients, my colleagues and random people in the grocery store. Most importantly, running has given me the opportunity to be a role model for a little girl that will never run on her own, Anna.

Anna is my cousin’s daughter, she is 4 years old and has spina bifida. She was born with a gap in her spine and is paralyzed from the chest down. Anna is an amazing kid; she’s smart and funny with an over-active imagination and a million stories to tell. She loves swimming, crafts and horse-back riding. And most recently, she has taken up “running.”

Back in November, Anna ran her first race and was amazing. Click HERE to read all about it. She absolutely loved the excitement of it and she’s been patiently waiting all winter to run again. So, with the St. Louis Marathon this weekend and all the related activities, we signed her up for the Youth Run – 50 yard dash.

It was a hectic morning. I didn’t sleep well again; pre-race jitters for my first ever marathon tomorrow morning. I got a phone call from my mom as I was leaving the house around 9:00 a.m. saying she was at Forest Park and looking for the race in a sea of people and traffic. I got there as fast as I could, worried that I might have to park a ways from the race and scared I’d miss it. The race was to begin at 9:45. I got to the start line with a few minutes to spare and couldn’t find mom and Anna anywhere. I called and she said that they went to get food and they’d be there in a little while. Apparently she thought the race started at 10:45 and was miles away. Uh oh.

Luckily, the race was a little unorganized and kids and parents were scattered everywhere, not paying a lick of attention to the announcer trying to get them lined up. This gave mom and Anna enough time to fly into the parking lot, unload and sprint to the starting line. In a whirlwind, we got her number pinned on her and into the correct corral before the gun went off.


Of course, Anna was wearing her bunny slippers again…because bunnies are fast.


I’m not sure if she had a clue what the hell was going on, but Anna started “racing” - pushing her wheels as fast and hard as she could. She’s very shy, but the crowd support and cheering was fantastic and she loved every minute of it. She kept looking around at the crowd and the other kids and smiling as she pushed and pushed. The course was slightly uphill, to her disadvantage, but she finished victoriously and lined up to get her medal and goodie bag.



Anna proudly wore that medal and showed it off to everyone that stopped to talk to her about it. She told everyone that she won because she was so fast and her prize was getting to go to the zoo. Congratulations Anna!! I know that finishing my marathon tomorrow will be an amazing experience, I can only hope that it's going to be nearly as wonderful as running with you. I can’t wait until our next race!!



3 comments:

  1. You beautiful girls...you make me cry! Go, Anna--you rock, girlfriend!

    :)

    And best of luck to you tomorrow. I am SO excited for you. I know you will do well. I cannot wait to read your race report! Sleep well tonite and have a gangbusters day tomorrow.

    :D

    k

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  2. Well done on your second race, Anna! Great report, Sara. Thanks for it and the great photos.

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  3. Sara what a GREAT post! I got choked up--she's a cute little girl, and she looks so happy to be there! You're a good role model for supporting her, and she's learning from an early age that she still CAN be an athlete, despite her condition. Encourage her to stick with it!

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