THANKSGIVING DAY RACE

The Race Day Starter announced to the +17000 participants the race was about to begin and the 'Thanksgiving Day Race' in Cincinnati, Ohio was officially declared the largest THANKSGIVING DAY RACE IN THE WORLD! The runners and walkers took their position at the starting line, anticipating the start of the race. I hugged my wife, put on my 'RUNFORMECOACH.COM' shirt, gloves, and hat, and took my position in line.  I couldn't help, but suddenly feel what seemed to be a common bond to the thousands of people around me. We all felt an array of emotions related to the reasons why we would give up a day to sleep late, and enjoy the warmth of our homes and conversations with our families. As I looked around, it became simple to see why people would come out and walk and run with a wind-chill temperature of 27 degrees.

       I observed thousands of people that displayed banners, pictures, and symbols of support for loved ones that had passed, including brothers, sisters, mom, dads, co-workers, and military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice that should never be forgotten.

I witnessed those that represented my group, who were determined to help bring attention and  raise money to support the various charities, foundations, and institutions that provide the research and support for the families with loved ones that are holding on with HoPE, that a cure and more information can be found, to ease their suffering and help them lead normal lives.
   The next thing I knew, the Starter announced to the runners, "Get set, Go!" I took one last look over my shoulder at my wife, who was in the process of handing out brochures, pens, and business cards for 'Families for HoPE" which provides support, encouragement, and helps educate families with a loved one affected by Holoprosencephaly.  (For more information, go to
www.FamiliesforHoPE.org. 
The race finally started and the pace was set very early for the runners. Once I reached the 4.5 mile marker, I suddenly realized that I could improve my time another day, but I could never recapture the moments I observed along the route, as we ran through the streets of Cincinnati and then across the Ohio River into Kentucky. I saw runners with tears in their eyes, pointing to the heavens as if to say, "I love you, I miss you, and this race is for you!"

       At the 5 mile marker, I observed a large gathering of bystanders, all dressed in the same attire, holding up signs, and yelling and cheering for a runner next to me. She acknowledged her appreciation for them coming out to support her by raising her hands and waving to the crowd. Once we passed the group, she told me that was her family and she was running to support her sister who was suffering from cancer and needed all of the strength she could find, to help her get through this time in her life. I told her my family would pray for her family.
Just prior to the bridge that would lead the runners back across the Ohio River into Ohio, the streets in Kentucky were lined with well-wishers, greeters, and people offering encouragement to help us finish the race. Once we crossed the bridge into Ohio, the streets were filled with people cheering, giving HIGH-FIVES to the runners, and thanking them for their efforts. Many were reading our signs, observing our attire, and yelling support for our charities and foundations as we passed by. As I approached the final turn toward the finish line, I couldn't help but notice what appeared to be a Mom and Dad, with two small children. The mom holding a small child that reminded me of Abby. I couldn't help but to allow my eyes to look into the eyes of the mother who remained silent, but I could feel her support and the love that she had for the child. As I made the turn I could hear the father yelling at the top of his voice,  ' Run For Her Coach, Run For Her!' I gave him the thumbs-up and finished the race. Coach has ran every Thanksgiving Day race in Cincinnati since Abby was born.


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