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Make It Real

I’ve run the finish of the MS Run the US – 2013 Relay before. I’ve run it thousands of times. The clarity of the experience is so vivid that I can feel the breeze rush across my face as my hands grip the adult disability stroller carrying my mom in front of me. I see the George Washington Bridge rise before us as we cross the threshold between New Jersey and New York, and I glide effortlessly behind my mom as the runners that have joined us take their turn propelling the woman who has propelled us. As the image in my head nears the Finish Line banner growing before us, my heart wells up with so much love and emotion that the only escape is through tears. I cry every time.

The finish line image first came to me, as my images often do, while running at home. That first experience was well over a year ago, and if I’m going to be perfectly honest, at that time, I didn’t really know with my whole heart if that image would be something I would experience in reality. The pieces of this Relay puzzle were vast and wide and deep, spread out so far across space and time that I wasn’t sure if I had the resources to piece them together in a coherent picture. But the image of the finish with my mom inspired me. I had to try to make it real with everything I had to give.

For me personally thee most significant difference between running across America myself and coordinating a team of runners and sponsors for the Relay was doubt. Vast and wide and deep doubt. It is a wonderful thing to challenge yourself individually to a great task and achieve it. Your will is all it takes. It is a far more monumental thing to challenge others to a great task and then help them achieve it. Their will is what it takes. And their will is not in my control.

I owe this 2013 Relay team, other key individuals, and our sponsors everything for believing in this event. My words are far too simple to shape my love for each of you for helping me accomplish this epic goal. This year, this experience, this journey, and this non-profit have taught me so, SO much about life and love and change that it certainly doesn’t seem fair to keep it all to myself. I do plan on sharing.

But first we have a finishing segment to run with my mom. Finally, after imagining the day thousands of times, the experience will be exactly what I want it to be. It will be real.



  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 9:03 PM
  • September 3, 2013