When you do something big like this for a charity you find out the most wonderful things about people’s spirits, about generosity and kindness. It makes me feel good about the human race (bad pun intended). Here are my most touching examples.
Early this month, I shared my campaign news with my massage therapist Katherine Tidman, who I have been seeing for 4+ years, including the year I traveled to The Gambia as a volunteer. I expected her to be happy for me. She went a step further and responded with: “I want to come with you. You should have your massage therapist there.” And she meant it. At this very moment, she is trying to fundraise for her expenses and plans to take one month off paid-work to be with me. She’s a beautiful person.
My large extended family were the first people (aside from my husband) that I told about this adventure back in October. They live on PEI so it was via email. One by one, they began to quickly write back, telling me that they were booking their hotel rooms for May right away. They can’t all come to Gambia but bet your hat they’ll be with me on Bluenose weekend for my big charity race event; running and walking next to me. Six families are coming. For me and for the kids of Africa. Their generosity- I feel it in my heart. I think about it when I run and I feel like I can float.
My running partners are the best. McKim and I train and race well side by side. I proposed to McKim that I would run the Fredericton Half Marathon with him if he ran the Bluenose Full Marathon with me. In a runner’s world, this is not really a fair deal. And the Bluenose Full- we’ve both been there, done that. It’s a very tough course. But McKim said yes without a moment’s hesitation. My fast training partner Mike knows the owners of The Trail Shop so I asked him to set up a meeting for me. He got back to me a few days later. Not only had he set up the meeting, he had already pitched my proposal and talked The Trail Shop into supporting my campaign.
My aunt’s sister Karen sent my campaign documents to her Cabot Trail Relay Team in Fredericton. Gail, the captain, who I don’t know, responded via email with a donation promise as well as news that she had shared my campaign materials with the relay team and also with the Fredericton Capital City Road Runners Club. Welcome Freddy audience and to Gail, who I’ve never met, you are amazing.
Finally, my most touching story comes from The Gambia. In December, I asked Nyakassi, NSGA Country Director, to get in touch with Gambia’s running club, the Brufut Marathon Association http://brufut-mra.org. I was thinking that it would be cool if we could find some runners to join me for parts of the expedition. We heard back from founding member Max Jallow, who is also co-appointed with the Government Sports Council . Max received his undergraduate degree in The Gambia in 1999, through the NSGA and Saint Mary’s University Extension Program which operated for almost 10 years before the University of The Gambia opened. Max wrote to us: “I will give special attention to this event because I cannot repay the NSGA for their contribution towards my life and career.” Max wants to send his staff to the communities along the South Bank Road to promote my run. He wants to organize a police escort. He wants to organize a kick-off event in Basse. He will represent The Gambian Government. And he says it will be a great pleasure to serve his nation. Oh, and he can also find some runners to join me.
To all of you who have surprised and deeply touched me with your generosity in these last few months, please know that you make my feet lighter during my 70+ km training weeks.
Training Log- weekly mileage
Week 8 = 66km
Week 9 = 70km
Week 10 = 75km