This is the week I am supposed to rest, relax and store up a bit of glycogen. That formula is in every runner’s training plan along with the advice to load up on carbohydrates and I should follow that advice. Sunday I run the Disney Marathon along with other families and friends participating in this race as well as the 5K, Half Marathon in Orlando. Oh yeah, there’ll be another fifty thousand people running all events, maybe to cheer us on and support the Run for our Sons Team and maybe not. Either way, we’ll have plenty of company both on the route and from the hundreds of spectators along the way. Unfortunately my plans for rest and relaxation won’t be so easy to accomplish.
This is the eighth time I’ve run in Orlando in either the half or full marathon as a way to raise money for Duchenne muscular dystrophy program supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. These families are all committed to helping change life for those living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy; some like me are part of the original team Kimberly Galberaith persuaded to consider this form of fund raising in 2004. We spend two or three months appealing to family, friends and anyone we think of to sponsor our efforts. It’s not easy asking others for money, yet research has a price and Duchenne muscular dystrophy isn’t one of the first conditions people think about when they think about supporting a cause. People need a connection. Those donors support people like my family and the others on the Run for our Sons Team because they know us and we convince them this is a way to help. It’s one way I can contribute. For many of my supporters, taking part in a marathon shows commitment. I’m sure the others running on the Run for our Sons Team will agree, it isn’t first on their list of things to do, but it is on their list.
Everyone’s preparation is different. Some take running seriously and train all year while others make a trip to the mailbox with new running shoes and call it good. That is the nature of this effort, simply getting people from many backgrounds together to support a common cause. Each Team member has their own plan, goal and expectations. It’s the reason why each chooses to run, ending Duchenne, which binds us together.
Over the weekend my family and I will see other Team members in familiar lime green “RFOS” T-shirts at the hotel and many locations throughout Orlando. Some make a vacation of the trip with their sons. Alice and I bring Matthew and Patrick to give them a warm weather break for the cold Maine winter. We join others by the hotel pool, for breakfast, dinner or a beer and again at the race. Besides raising the money, families invest in this time together with others who understand their circumstances. We gain strength from one another, much like attending Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s Annual Conference, yet without the stress and sense of urgency we experience trying to understand all the latest research. The Run for our Sons program not only gives us a way to support research, but also to spend time with other families and support and learn from each other.
Between traveling and transferring Matthew and Patrick many more times than usual, eating on the run and getting less sleep, I hope to find a few minutes to rest. Running 26.2 miles isn’t easy and it will be nice to be ready. But, that’s only part of the experience. Like the nature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, this weekend impacts those who participate in many different ways and many of them good. I look forward to seeing these families knowing we’re doing what we can to help.
The Run for our Sons Team is growing and can always use more members. Maybe Orlando is not convenient or a marathon isn’t where you want to start, but there’s sure to be a race nearby you can join to help. There is a bit of satisfaction when we cross the finish line realizing what we accomplish for the sake of our sons and all those living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. I invite you to look at the Run for our Sons website and consider being part of this Team.