3 Miracle Runners To Emulate: Fauja Singh, Jennie Finch & Meb Keflezighi
BELIEVE ME, ANYONE CAN RUN
Many people have disputed me on this but I stand my ground. I’m convinced of it because I’ve seen it all. I’ve watched the handicap, the elderly, the obese, the frail, cancer survivors, trauma victims, and even the Eiffel Tower (a long way from home) run the New York marathon.
I call him Mr. Eiffel Tower. I saw him at the 2009 ING New York City Marathon carrying his costume to the starting point before he officially put it on. It wasn’t easy for him to carry and probably harder to run inside of it. But he did it. He put his mind to it and viola--Parisian miracle brought to life!
In my mind, a miracle is the determination to do an incredible thing and the will to see it through from start to finish, no matter how trying the experience. A miracle is often defined as something that wouldn't ordinarily happen. But the truth is miracles happen everyday. Miracles aren't impossible. They just take work!
It’s not impossible to run. I’ve seen people without legs run, the blind and even the sick. I get emotional just thinking about it. There are so many challenged and incredibly brave runners that fill me with amazement, hope and pride in humankind. They may be strangers but when I see them run and hear their stories, they're next of kin.
I call them miracle runners because they restore our faith in everything that’s possible. They make you think about what you CAN instead of CAN'T do, and make you itch to do it NOW. This year there are 3 miracles runners that I want to point out to you: Fauja Singh, Jennie Finch and Meb Keflezighi. They're beyond inspiring and their stories will definitely get you thinking about your New Year's Resolutions and how you can achieve something extraordinary and life changing in 2012.
3 MIRACLE RUNNERS TO EMULATE
1. Fauja Singh
You may have heard of a 100-year-old man from northern India who finished the Toronto Marathon in 8 hours, 11 minutes. Well, that’s not even his best time. He’s been running since his 80’s and he’s no slow poke. In 2003 in his nineties, he ran a London and Toronto marathon in under 6 hours. But it’s not about his time or his age. He started running to deal with the loss of his wife and son. It gave him the will to live. He now raises money through his runs to help those in need live as long as he has. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.
2. Jennie Finch
We know her as one hell of a softball player. She’s a 2-time Olympian athlete and one of People Magazine’s most beautiful. But who knew that being pretty could be so irritating? For Jennie it’s always been an issue because she’d rather be noticed for her sport than her looks. And she decided to prove it by going outside her athletic comfort zone to run the 2011 New York Marathon. She started dead last and for every runner she passed Timex donated $1 to the New York Road Runners Youth Program. Jennie passed 30,000 runners that day.
Before her run, she told me that one of her goals is to help women find beauty in an active lifestyle. Coming from someone who’s spent a lifetime being beautiful, these words might seem unconvincing. But I realized they were genuine when she talked about wearing USA across her chest at the 2004 Olympics. She wants young girls to dream big because there’s no greater feeling than one of huge accomplishment. Jennie goes beyond role model--she's a miracle-maker.
2. Meb Keflezighi
He’s one of the fastest runners in the world, as well as one of the most open-minded. Meb ran this year’s 2011 New York Marathon in Sketchers, and he may not have won but he ran his best time ever. Sketchers isn’t exactly known for making superior running shoes so at first I didn’t quite understand why he teamed up with them. But after chatting with him a bit, I realized that Meb believes in the underdog because he knows what it feels like to be one. He credits running with helping him navigate through many rough patches in his life (including language and cultural barriers when he first moved to the US with his family) and wrote Run To Overcome to encourage others to use running as a way to reach their full potential. Meb really loves his Sketchers GOrun shoes (which are surprisingly sleek) but shoes don’t make miracles happen. People do.
ANYONE CAN MAKE A MIRACLE HAPPEN
All it takes is figuring out a way that works for you to make it a reality. For example, everyone has their own running style and must find their own groove. Once you get the hang of it, knowing that you can run gives you the power to do anything. I know it sounds cheesy, but just accept it!
When you run, you embark on a journey. You exchange your legs for wheels, your arms for wings, and you disengage from everything that holds you back. It’s like flying. The handicapped might describe it another way but I know it can't be all that different. Because this looks like flying to me:
So, back to my point of "anyone can make a miracle happen". Running can make you feel invincible. All 3 miracle runners I've covered above will undoubtedly tell you that. But the not-so-secret-way to become a miracle runner is using that power to make a difference in someone elses life. I recommend making it one of your New Year's Resolutions for 2012. Do a short run for charity or maybe even attempt a marathon. No matter how you choose to do it, consider running for people in need. I promise it'll be one of the greatest miracles you make happen.
RUNNING CHANGED MY LIFE
It all started with Team Continuum and a man named Paul Nicholls. He founded Team Continuum and made me part of it's family (that's us in the pic below the day before one of my NY Marathon races). Paul sadly passed away 2 years ago but he taught me so much about being a miracle runner and ever since, I've had the itch to create change and make the world a better place. Do you want to be a better person? Go farther in life? See the world beyond your scope and find people who inspire you? Then become a miracle runner and MAKE IT HAPPEN.
THE MIRACLE RUNNER GIVEAWAY
Enter to win the Miracle Runner Starter Kit shown below. One lucky winner will be selected on Dec 13th 2011.
But first, I'm going to make you do some work!
- Follow me on Twitter HERE
- Follow me on Facebook HERE
- Leave a comment below with your Miracle Resolution for 2012
The Miracle Runner Starter Kit includes some of my favorite training gear and will get you moving on miracle-makin'! Here's what you get in the kit:
- GIVE Apparel Meaning's amazingly warm & structured hoodie. GIVE is a meaningful brand because they donate 100 liters of clean drinking water for every item sold to the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program. You won't find a more comfortable cold weather hoodie! Check out GIVE's Facebook page HERE!
- PureLime Compression Sports Bra with a built in heart rate sensor. Just snap your heart rate monitor right on and go!
- Ergo Sports Timer - perfect for timing your training sprints!
Can't wait to read your miracle resolutions!