Friday, August 13, 2010

I Wil Run 26.2 Miles For Elizabeth And Emily Fideler

For many years, I have been wanting to become a regular member of a local running club. Unlike most individuals, I can not simply pick one and show up on the days of the club's fun run, introduce myself, and start running. I must reach out to the person in charge, introduce myself, explain that I lost my sight, run with the use of a sighted guide, tell how I use a rope/tether, ask if there will be any potential risks, and whether the person could make an announcement on my behalf to get club members to volunteer to guide me. For the most part, I receive warm receptions from the club representatives. They tell me immediately that this is a new issue for which they have no experience, but they are willing to work with me as best they can to ensure my needs are met in the hope that my experience is a positive one. The two organizations with which I have run over the last few years, Lincoln Park Pacers and Fleet Feet Running Club, have truly gone above and beyond to welcome me with open arms. At first, members are curious, but seem to be nervous about asking me questions first about my not having sight then about guiding, but once they get comfortable, members are always wanting to know how they can help out. A third organization, Universal Sole, had their employees put out the word to the Chicago Area Runners Association and elsewhere to see if someone could help out if I joined their club. Eventually, I was contacted by a CARA member who also worked at a non profit called Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association who asked if I wish to join GLASA at a couple events. I was unable to make the first couple events to which I was invited, but I ran in GLASA's Twilight 5K and was guided by the very person who had first reached out to me. Keri Schindler. She was and is a wonderful person who is passionate about the work she does bringing to life various athletic events and social gatherings for individuals with physical and visual impairments. It was a privilege to be guided by her for the 5K. We remained in contact and when she asked if I would be interested in running the Chicago Marathon in 2010 as part of Team GLASA, I immediately responded with a resounding YES!

It is a thrill to know that on October 10, 2010 I will be making my marathon debut in my home town race. I grew up watching the TV coverage on a yearly basis. I still watch or listen to the coverage on radio each year. I use to think anyone who trains all those months then runs 26.2 miles in one day must be crazy. Now I will become one too. Adding to my excitement is that as a member of Team GLASA I get to raise funds and awareness for Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association while running for two of GLASA's rock star athletes. Sixteen year old twins, Elizabeth and Emily Fideler credit the staff at GLASA with helping them find their self confidence through the various sports they play and through the continued support the staff members offer. Both young women are special people who will continue to shine as part of GLASA so long as there are individuals like me and you willing to donate our time, effort, and money to ensure GLASA can continue to provide Elizabeth and Emily opportunities to build on their accomplishments in sports and especially in life. So I ask that all take the time to log on to the link I provide at the conclusion of this post to read more about my efforts to raise awareness and funds for GLASA and run the Chicago Marathon on behalf of the Fideler twins!

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