Saturday, July 16, 2016

Runners World Classic Weekend - The Celebrity Mile - A Day Filled with Magic

A dear friend and member of my running family, Kelly told me about the Runners World Classic Weekend happening this weekend. I knew that life was just a little too hectic to fit one more thing in so I told her I'd help spread the word but there was no way I could see us getting up there for the event. Of course Kelly totally understood. And then I "just happened" to see Tom Licciardello's Facebook post putting out the call for volunteers for the Runners World Classic Weekend. How could we say no to our running family....We looked over the volunteer jobs and I thought volunteering for the Celebrity Mile might be a good spot for us. At the time I did not know that Tom's wife Lyn would be our Team Leader or the magic that was going to happen once we arrived on the Merrimack College Campus.

Our first stop was at the Student Center to pick up our volunteer t shirts. We walked into the Expo and were greeted by Anthony Raynor's warm smile and green eyes. We first met Anthony at the Finish at the 50 Expo last year. I was heart broken that they weren't at this year's Finish at the 50 Expo thinking I would have to wait until January to be reunited with the Race Director for the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. Warm hugs and smiles all around and we were introduced to Elizabeth founder of a new company, "Runaway Bermuda." We chatted. I was able to get my Bermuda Marathon Weekend Postcard for my refrigerator to replace our 2016 card, a pink pen and goosebumps realizing that once again I am going to train for the Bermuda Half Marathon.

As we walked toward the Celebrity Mile Tent we had to pass through "Charity Village." Dana Ewan Seigel was standing underneath the "Voices of Hope" tent! We met Dana through our dear friend Jordan Rich a few years ago watching them in a performance of "Love Letters" to benefit "Voices of Hope" that benefits Mass General Hospital Cancer Center.

We went to the Celebrity Mile Tent and reunited with our Strider family. There was this cool lobster ice sculpture:

and everyone worked together as a team to get the tent ready to greet our guests.

Once the set up was complete and we were waiting for the arrival of the celebrities, I asked if anyone had seen our dear friends the DiLorenzos. Tom suggested I check her posts on Facebook to see where she might be. Sure enough she was posting Live from the Finish Line. It was so great to be reunited with her and to see the boys.

Tom waited to see if he could catch a glimpse of Paul finishing the 10K.

It's always a special day when Geoffrey Smith is in the house and we took this fun selfie:

We had so much fun being able to greet the celebrities, get their swag bags, t shirts and bibs and snap a few photos. Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans was incredibly generous with his time and kept thanking us for volunteering. I was honored and humbled to meet Bill Richard who also kept thanking us for all we did today. You could see how much he has healed and how proud he was to have a solid representation of Team MR8 at the event. I got goosebumps when I saw them gathered before the Celebrity Mile and the lengthy applause Bill received during the introduction. It's always a joy when I get to see Dave McGillvray who has inspired my life and running in so many ways.

Jeff Bauman arrived along with Adriane Haslet-Davis, Carlos and Mel. The media surrounded them and the energy was electric as Jeff was about to participate in his first road race since 4/15/13 walking his first mile. I was blessed and honored to talk with him before he ventured out on his challenge. We had met on the first anniversary of 4/15 at his book signing where I shared my journey with him and he was moved to tears to hear what is possible and then again on the 2nd anniversary of 4/15 as I was just in the beginning of my running comeback. I was thrilled to let him know I'd run the Bermuda Half Marathon in January.

Our dear friend David Brown was part of the Celebrity Mile along with friends we've met along the many miles on the road of life -- Amby Burfoot, Steve Cooper, Becca Pizzi and John Young just to name a few. Here are the celebrities gathered before the mile run:

After we saw the celebrities run the first loop, we headed toward the finish line and cheered on the celebrities. The crowd went wild as Jeff Bauman with Carlos in a wheelchair recovering from foot surgery and Melida came toward the finish line. Dave McGillvray had us clear a path saying, "He has one more lap to go," and Jeff echoed, "I have one more lap to go."

Dave encouraged the celebrities and volunteers to walk the 2nd lap with Jeff. Talk about magic!

As we neared the finish line, Tom captured this video of Jeff completing his first mile walk:

Three years ago Carlos pushed Jeff in a wheelchair and saved his life. Today Jeff pushed Carlos and as Dave McGillvray said, "It could not have been scripted better."

The whole day could not have been scripted better as we walked as a Boston Strong community celebrating healing, resilience, strength; as a community that gives back through running and weaves a tapestry of love that only gets stronger with greater resolve in the face of terrorist actions. As the brilliant July sun shined brightly, we as a community shined our light:

It was a day of love, of joy, of magic and one truly orchestrated by the Divine.

To your health and wellness,

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