Archive for the ‘inspiring stories’ Category

De Javu For Huckabee

Posted: February 21, 2008 in inspiring stories

On Tuesday John Mccain continued to pull away from our marathon man, Mike Huckabee. Huckabee who has previously run New York marathon and Little Rock Marathon and now training for Bostone marathon, must surely be familiar with the agony of trying to catch up with a runner who is fast ahead of you.

At last year’s Nairobi marathon, there was this unorthodox runner ahead of me, everytime he got at a hilly section, he would run up in a zig zag manner. I tried to catch up with him to ask him why the zig zag but everytime I got up the hill he disappeared ahead. I never caught up with the runner and at the finish, its never easy to find one soul in a mass of 15,000 +. I still dont know whether running zig zag saves energy.

Deena Kastor Lesson on how to run from behind

If Huckabee needs a lesson on how to run from behind he needs to look at inspiring performance of American, Deena Kastor, the marathon bronze winner at 2004 Athen Olympics games.

I remember watching the event live on TV as the quartet of Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi, Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba and Ethiopia’s Elfenesh Atemu lead for most of the distance. Only a brave man would have bet against this three running away with the three medals.

But as the runners neared the finish it was obvious Ethiopia’s Atemu was falling a victim of the humidity that had earlier forced the race favourite Paula Radcliffe to retire.

After Atemu ran out of gas, Deena couldnt believe her luck as she zoomed past Atemu to snatch the bronze medal.

The moral of the story for Huckabee, Luck favours the prepared. Keep marching, you never know your rival might trip.

For a bio on Deena Kastor visit her official site www.deenakastor.com

Finishing a marathon lives you feeling like that...finished. Tim Borland ran 63 marathons in 63 days. On Sept. 3 2007, Tim Borland set out on a cross-country tour. But this was no ordinary tour. Borland started in California, 63 days later, November 4, he finished New York Marathon in 3:29:42. Running world magazine was at New York and did a video to capture this heroic moment.
 

Raising money

WAHOOOO! that was the roar of all sufferers of ataxia-telangiectasia, a disease that combines the worst symptoms of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, cancer and immune deficiencies. Tim was running to raise $2 million to help find a cure for the disease.

Conquering killer Chicago

Enroute to New York Tim also ran the killer Chicago Marathon, remember the race that had to be called off after the heat became unbearable and one runner died. His Chicago marathon time, 4 hrs 16 mins.

The A-T cure team covered the the whole tour on video on their website.

At first I thought Tim, was no ordinary guy but I checked for more information I discovered he is an ordinary guy who showed us 63 marathons "YOU CAN DO IT"

He is 31 years, married with two kids, before this incredible tour he was a personal trainer in Carlifornia.

I find it hard training for one marathon in October, So how did he plan for 63 marathons in 63 days?

The following are some of his answers in an interview with USAtoday

On Physical Training

Running 15 miles a day

Food

He ate high-quality, good-sized meals, which included oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, salmon, chicken, fruits and vegetables.

Shoes

This is a runners ultimate gear, 10 pairs of Asics Gel Nimbus, broken-in prior to the Tour, running three or four times in each pair.

63 marathon is no joke but Tim reminds us  "Everything is a learning process," . "If you don't put yourself out there, you're not going to learn. This was a risk, but there's such a reward. Because of my faith, my confidence in the people around me and my relationship with Stacy Sims,(his personal coach), I believe God will provide for my needs and allow me to be successful."

Touch a childs life by Supporting the fundraising of A-T Cure, by visiting their website

Claire Markwardt’s horrific fall in the final stretch of the Ohio state high school cross country championship has to be the most inspiring story of the month if not the year.

Nothing heroic about falling in a race, but when you fall and crawl  the final 45 feet to the finish line, you are a hero.

According to media reports she narrates how the horrific drama unfolded, as she entered the stadium at Columbus’ Scioto Downs, with about 400 meters to go, “she heard her left leg crack, she thought it was just a simple muscle pull and kept running” because, as she says “There was a runner from one of our rival schools right in front of me, and I kept staring at the back of her jersey and pushing myself to catch her.”

But some 200 meters later, Markwardt heard the leg crack again and she then fell down infront of the crowds. One of Markwardt’s teammates, unaware of what had happened, encouraged her to get up. She tried, using her right leg. But as soon as she shifted weight to the left, the loudest crack yet came. She just couldnt stand on her feet.  “At that point, I knew what had happened. I knew my leg was broken pretty badly. And I knew I couldn’t get up again. So I started crawling,” she said.

Since the accident she has had surgery and doctors have told her she will be on crutches for six to eight weeks. I wish her a quick recovery.

Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese is leading a one man Eritrean army against  big brother Ethiopia. Eritrea and Ethiopia were once a single country but split in a bitter divorce in 1993. Since then there has been an ongoing cold war between the two countries. Things got thick last year when Ethiopia invaded Somali to overthrow an Eritrean backed Islamic Goverment accused of Terrorism.

Big Brother

Ethipia is bigger and wealthier than Eritrea. In running Ethiopia is blessed with world famous athletes like, Gebre Sellassie, Bekele among many. The arrival of talented Zersenay Tadese is a sign that Eritrea is emerging from the shadow of big brother.

Coming of age

During this year’s IAAF Cross country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya,  Zersenay Tadese beat Kenenisa Bekele in the 12K run. Bekele wilted under the heat, he watched from behind as the Eritrean powered himself to win the event.

One Big Happy Family

Two weeks ago he won in the 21K IAAF World Road Running Championship in Udine, Italy. Hundreds of flag waving Eritrean fans cheered him on. At the end he summed-up the inspiring atmosphere. “Today it felt like the whole of Eritrea was running with me” on the streets of Udine. “The support of them (the Eritrean fans) was very important to me.”

In a country that is desperate for a national hero, he could be the mordern day messiah who inspires a new generation of runners.

Fans of formula one will be interested to know Heikki Kovalainen successfuly participated in 2007 New York marathon.  He wastn favourite to win here but he is favourite to repalce Fernando Alonso at Mclaren Mercedes. He finished the 42km course in a time of 3:36.56 seconds, almost an hour and a half behind the winner.

His target before the marathon was to finish under four hours, which was enough to beat the time set by another formula one driver Jorna Trulli.

Another driver running at New York Marathon was Alex Zarnadi who was participating in the wheel chair category. If you remember correctly, he wasnt much of a success in formula one but he got much sympathies after his racing career was cut short by an accident.

 The 41-year-old Italian, who lost the use of his legs following a crash in Champ Car race in 2001 with Canadian Alex Tagliani. The impact of the crash and the injuries he sustained left him in a coma for a week.

He showed a great fighting spirit when he completed his first marathon of this kind in 1:33.17. That was more than 15 minutes behind the winner, but well within the time he had set for himself prior to taking part in the race. He finished fourth.

Zanardi’s result is impressive considering he had never used a handcycle before and had less than a month to prepare for the 26.2-mile challenge.

Just like any other runner he suffered pre race butterflies, “I was so nervous that I don’t think I slept more than three hours last night,” he tells the New York times. I’ve been in better shape, but I’m not demolished.” He managed his fears to finish fourth, thats the key, you cant eliminate fear but you can manage it.

Immediately after Kara Goucher, Osaka 10,000m bronze medallist , won the Great North run half mile in England, a race where she beat the local favourite Paula Radcriffe, she was named USA Athlete of the week. It has been a tough road to the top.

An early death in the family, disqualifiactions, near death of her coach and flirtation with quiting the sport. Are obstacles this courageous woman has overcome.

Seven days before her fourth birthday, Kara’s father, Mirko Grgas was killed by a drunk driver at 6:30 a.m. on Harlem River Drive near 142nd Street in New York City.

Kara’s grandparents became surrogate parents and that bond remains strong. Her family and that of husband, Adam Goucher, are the foundations of Kara’s life.  Kara and Adam make frequent visits to their respective parent’s homes, and it’s clear that Kara’s grandparents had a major role in shaping her values and encouraging her in her athletic and academic pursuits.

At high school,  she was disqulified at a qualifying meet for going to the Minnesota state championships. She was found to have crossed the start line before the firing gun.

Her coach, Alberto Salazar nearly died from a heart attack.  It was Salazar who had rescued her from a series of injuries that seemed about to end her career prematurely after college. The injury made her doubt about her abilities as a pro runner, at a time when she could have easily said goodbye to the sport, Salazar stepped in, “He believed in me right away,” Goucher said.  “I didn’t have to do anything to prove myself.  He never gave up.  He was always positive.  He said just get your health back.  He was excited to work with me.”

With the bronze medal and the win over Radcliffe at the half marathon, she is harvesting the fruits of her labour and looking to a bright future, I wish her well.

A “Special” Olympic Game

Posted: October 15, 2007 in inspiring stories

If you are not aware the special Olympics just ended in Shanghai China. Before this years games I personally couldn’t tell the difference between Paralympics and the special Olympics.

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics, which like the regular Olympics takes place every four years, provides people with intellectual disabilities the chance to realize their potential and develop physical fitness.

The paralympics are different because only athlete with physical disabilities participate.

Building bridges

According to the organization’s official information, the vision of these Olympics is to “embrace the diversity of all individuals’ abilities worldwide and celebrate all differences. Through these World Games, Special Olympics athletes transcend the boundaries of geography, nationality, political philosophy, gender, age, culture and religion. It is the common pursuit of achievement, the shared moment of victory, which brings even the most diverse people together.”

This year’s games drew an estimated 10,000 people to China’s largest city. While the number of athletes competing totaled 7,291 – competitors ranged in age from eight to 69 – delegations also included coaches, specialists, volunteers and family members from 160 countries.

Hope and dreams

Today, Tim Shriver, is the chairman of the Special Olympics movement, and son of its founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The late US President J. F. Kennedy is his uncle. When he famously said “dont think what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” Eunice Shriver listened and went out to found the special olympics. She has given which was once a forgotten group opportunity, hope and joy of sports.

I watched pictures from the game and they were good.