5/16/2009 Columbus, OH (8.0 miles) – Komen Race for the Cure

This was the most awesome day ever! As I approached the corner of Broad and High Streets I saw more and more people. I thought I understood the number of people in the Komen Race for the Cure when I was at the corner of Broad and Front waiting to start the race. But, I finally understood when I was finally in the race and all you could see was a river of people filling the road from side-to-side for as far ahead as I could see. I completed the race in over 40 minutes – slower than the Alzheimer’s 5K mainly because it took me the extra time to get to the starting line!

I drank a bottle of water and went back to the starting line to ride with the walkers. This is when the Race for the Cure hit me hard! During the race, I mostly saw people with running numbers. Note: I didn’t receive one since I registered late on race day and they had run out of numbers and shirts well before I arrived! The walkers had numbers but also wore pink papers pinned to their backs saying, “In celebration of my mother”, “In celebration of my sister-in-law”, and “In memory of my aunt”. The one that got me the most was a young woman carrying her daughter who couldn’t have been more than 2 years old. Her paper said, “In celebration of Me!” I’m learning from these events that cancer (arthritis or any other medical condition) can strike any one at any age, no matter who you are or what you do!

I saw several other women that had the telltale thin hair as a result of chemotherapy. My heart was aching but I was also very hopeful. Hopeful, because at the beginning of the walk, the speaker was honoring survivors of “6 years”, “17 years’, and even “30 years”. She also talked about looking forward to the day when we can all meet again for the last race to celebrate the fact that everyone has been cured! I sure hope that day comes in my lifetime.

I found out later that over 45,000 people participated. It was amazing how the whole event worked. There were several bands playing for over 2-hours along the course plus almost a whole block of bikers revving their engines on the sidewalk and giving people high fives. On the second time around I was dancing (as best you can on a unicycle) and singing as I came up to the first band singing Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker”. Luckily the lead singer got to a stopping point (guitar/drum solo) because she busted out laughing when I got closer! I also had a great time with the kids. Many were riding on shoulders of parents and I asked them, “How did you get so tall?” They had a great time with that. All in all, I had a pretty good time and had many pictures taken with individuals and groups. Hopefully they can share the pictures with me on Facebook.

I ended the day with a mob (okay maybe just a pack) of girls circling me and asking a ton of questions about me and myunicycle. They got some group pictures and I handed them each a Mophe racing picture. These girls volunteered the whole day to hand out bananas and water to runners and walkers. Volunteers like these, and all the ones along the route, make a huge difference in how much more charities can do. I make sure to spend time with these unsung heros!


See image from Flickr.

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