Red clay for days and Ayers Rock as my backdrop
2013 Big 5 Marathon is the wildest of them all!
To read the full cover story, go to: MY Big 5 Marathon Run (Run4Papa)
This was the hardest race of my life! 10 times harder than the Great Wall of China!
I was nervous. And if you saw what I witnessed during our inspection drive the day before the race, you would be as well. Eager to see this course, I sat shotgun next to the ranger who took our group on quite the extensive journey. We departed from the start line at precisely 10:11 a.m.
When we returned from the 26.2 mile trek, it was exactly 1:11 p.m.!
What I saw on that excursion made my insides nauseous, kinda like watching Bizarre foods on the travel channel, except you are the bizarre food. During the first six miles of the drive, I was smiling and admiring the beauty that is Entabeni animal reserve without a care in the world. That became short lived. As we approached Mile 9, I glanced over at the ranger and said, “Who the heck designed this incredible course!?” At Mile 16 (2 hours into the drive), I mumbled under my breath, “this is nuts.” When we reached Mile 21, I think I was just shaking my head and dead silent. There was no forgiving territory. None.
Needless to say, I did not sleep much the night before the race. I was fully aware tomorrow would be the toughest physical and mental challenge of my lifetime. And like all challenges, I was ready to conquer the Big 5 Marathon in South Africa. At least, I kept trying to convince myself over and over and over again. IF only it were that simple…
#R4P on the move
To make a donation in honor of Papa, go to: PPA Research and Education Fund (Run4Papa)
What was it like to run the 2013 Boston Marathon?
I never imagined that I would come up .4 miles short from completing my first Boston Marathon. When the bombings went off, a boston bomb squad officer pulled me aside and said, “Your race is over!”
From a running perspective, I was in denial. I wanted to finish the race and wasn’t thinking clearly as I was sprinting toward the finish life. From a real world perspective, I was thankful to be alive, and sad for all those that were killed and injured in the blasts.
I will never be the same again…
BOSTON — At least two Charlotteans were among those injured in the Boston Marathon explosions Monday afternoon, according to a family member.
Nicole Gross, 31, a personal trainer at Charlotte Athletic Club, was at the finish line with her husband Michael when the explosions went off; they were waiting for her mother to complete the 26.2-mile race. The couple was separated in the blast.
Michael was released from the hospital Tuesday after receiving treatment for burns suffered in the blast.
NBC Charlotte was told Michael is focusing now on his wife, Nicole, who is now recovering from surgery.
“As many of you have read and seen, Nicole Gross and Erika Brannock (Nicole’s sister from Maryland) sustained severe injuries during the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Both Nicole and Erika’s injuries have required multiple surgeries. They remain hospitalized and anticipate long recoveries,” the Gross family said in a statement.
Both women remain hospitalized. Brannock had her left leg amputated below the knee. Gross suffered a severed Achilles tendon and two broken legs.
“You know, when you get the news that a tragedy like this happened in our country, on our soil, it hits home because your family members are involved,” said Brian.
He said his brother, who is the general manager at Charlotte Athletic Club, has burns and other injuries to his head from the blast. Michael is a former Charlotte Firefighter in SouthPark, Brian says, and there has been an outpouring of support from local firefighters.
A Boston Globe photographer snapped a picture of Nicole on the ground just seconds after the blast. Looking at it for the first time, Brian said, “Just to see the debris and to see Nicole like that is traumatizing to me [at first].”
Nicole is expected to be released to come home later in the week.
“You know, you wonder why people do this. I’m the type of person who wants to fix things, to help people, and right now I’m kind of stuck,” said Brian.
Nicole’s sister, Erika, was with them during the race and lost her leg from the knee down, according to Brian.
“Her sister is at a different hospital, they were able to locate her last night, it took all day,” Brian said Tuesday morning to NBC Charlotte. “She is in critical condition, both legs were injured. From what I understand, my brother said, one of her leg’s was amputated from the knee down. The other, well, they are just watching it right now.”
Brian said he was at work when he first heard about the bombings, and shortly after that his phone and e-mail was flooded with concerned family and friends.
“I did end up hearing, shortly after the bombs took place, that my brother, Nicole and her sister, Erika, were injured. Erika and Nicole, Micheal was not able to find them.”
The Gross family said they’re thankful for all the love and support they have received from the Charlotte and Boston communities.
“In tragic times such as this, the outpouring of assistance offers from family, friends, and others, and their thoughts and prayers have been wonderfully overwhelming and are greatly appreciated.
“The caregivers at the scene and the hospitals, and the efforts of local, state, and federal agencies, have been professional and comforting during the worst of times,” the family said in a statement.
Charlotte runner shaken after witnessing bombings
Charlotte runner Denise Derkowski already was wearing her finisher’s medal when she heard the explosion just five minutes after completing her race.
“Nobody knew what it was,” said Derkowski, 47. “Then when I saw the smoke, I was like, ‘That is not right.’ But it was surreal. After running that far, I was just like, ‘That can’t be what I think it is.’ And then I saw the second one I’m like, ‘This is not good…’ ”
Mark Ulrich, a Charlotte software architect, had finished earlier Monday afternoon and was back in his hotel getting ready to celebrate his first Boston finish with friends when the first explosion went off.
“It was loud. It sounded almost like a transformer blowing, but it was louder, and we were like, ‘That sounded like a bomb … like something blew up,’ ” said Ulrich, 40. When he and his friends looked out the window of his room at the Westin Copley Place, about half a block from the finish line, “we could see a big puff of white smoke.”
Like Derkowski, he was much more worried about the second boom.
“It’s kind of like the World Trade Center (attacks) – when it happens once you’re like, ‘Oh, maybe it was just something weird.’ Then when it happens twice, you’re like, ‘No, probably not,’ ” said Ulrich by cellphone; sirens could easily be heard in the background.
“We turned on the TV and it took about 10 minutes for them to pick up, but there were instantly sirens everywhere, and you could tell that they had blocked it all off and there was no more finishers coming through. At that point we knew: Something bad happened.”
Dave Munger, 46, of Davidson, didn’t hear the explosions from the park bench he was sitting on in Boston Common, a nearby public park. But not long after, he heard lots of sirens.
“It just puts everything in perspective. I had a lousy race, but it’s like who cares at this point,” said Munger. “Mainly what we’re doing is trying to find out on Facebook if our friends are OK. … Maybe we’ll try to find someplace that’s open for dinner, and that’s gonna be that. It’s tragic, and it’s just such a horrible kind of blight on what’s supposed to be a really great day.”
The Charlotte Observer contributed to this story.
Click on image below to view video
Bill Rodgers, 4-Time Boston Marathon Winner, Supports Run4Papa
Would you pledge $1 a mile? What about for 26.2 miles?
My “Papa,” a pediatrician of 50 years, was recently diagnosed with dementia. Since I’ll sleep plenty when I am dead, I figured why not do anything and everything possible to raise awareness for this vicious disease.
I NEED YOUR HELP!
Our Goal: Fund the 1st National dementia speech therapy trial in history!
In exactly 40 days and 40 nights, I will be running the Boston Marathon.
By pledging only $1/mile, you will be supporting An Average Person Doing Extraordinary Things
$1/mile = $26.20
$2/mile = $52.40
$5/mile = $131
$10/mile = $262
Be part of the solution: DONATE NOW
Thank you for your support,
Running Against Dementia
Arthur’s Inspirational Transformation
If this story can inspire someone you know, please share it with them!
Arthur’s story is highlighted from the beginning, in the upcoming documentary, INSPIRED: The Movie. http://www.inspiredthemovie.com
(Thanks to filmmaker Steve Yu for putting this inspirational video together!)
Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again.
He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to give it a try — he couldn’t do traditional, higher impact exercise, so he tried DDP YOGA and sent an email to Dallas telling him his story.
Dallas was so moved by his story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with Arthur throughout his journey – he encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible. Even though doctors told him walking would never happen, Arthur was persistent. He fell many times, but kept going.
Arthur was getting stronger rapidly, and he was losing weight at an incredible rate! Because of DDP’s specialized workout, he gained tremendous balance and flexibility — which gave him hope that maybe someday, he’d be able to walk again.
His story is proof, that we cannot place limits on what we are capable of doing, because we often do not know our own potential. Niether Arthur, nor Dallas knew what he would go on to accomplish, but this video speaks for itself. In less than a year, Arthur completely transformed his life. If only he had known what he was capable of, 15 years earlier.
Do not waste any time thinking you are stuck – you can take control over your life, and change it faster than you might think.
Hopefully this story can inspire you to follow your dreams – whatever they may be.
Anything is Possible!
For more information about DDP YOGA, visit http://bit.ly/Kqewdp
To contact Arthur or Dallas Page about this incredible story, please visit http://www.ddpbang.com and contact them.
For those of you that haven’t seen this, it is one of the most heart touching videos to grace the surface of the internet!
Presenting Arthur Boorman.