Hell, where do I begin? Let me take it back to when this SpeedForNeed thing first kicked off. I was hooked from the start!! Being at the first event on July 4th until now when I watch everyone’s videos, I still get the same feeling. This year ToolTime informed me that I had a new role, SFN regional Q for F3 Gastonia. I can’t explain how excited this made me!!! Many of you know me and know that when I take on a role or anything that I do, I give 110% in every aspect. The first 2018 SFN event in Gastonia was on the schedule for April 14th. It really seemed like the event was so far away and would never get here, then the closer it got the more excitement there was. Now it’s race day, the stage is set. ToolTime, my M, and I arrive at the Rotary Pavilion in Ole’ Blue pulling a pine needle trailer(as Tolkien described it) with two badass racing chairs. Thanks to all my F3 brothers and the supporters that helped set up the tent and get everything in check. The Track Commanders James and Luka arrived, now it’s show time. Coming into this I wanted to do one thing throughout the event, get a lot of footage of everyone on the course. I felt like Tolkien Jr. during the event with all the interval running I was doing. Hopefully with all the footage we got throughout the event it will create memories for a lifetime. That is was what this is about!!! I want to personally thank Jim Dunn and the Cardona family for giving F3 Gastonia the opportunity. I also want to thank everyone that helped this event be a success!! Sorry for the long BB but it’s really hard to put into words what this means to me!! Please take time to read ToolTime and Stroganoff’s take away from the weekend.
As many of you know SpeedForNeed has been a passion of mine since last year when I first saw a tweet about it. I remember sending J.R.R Tolkien a private message that said ” I have to be a part of this. I have to push”. Shortly after I found myself as the Regional Q for Gastonia! However I still hadn’t pushed a Track Commander. As a matter of fact I pushed a Korean War Vet for a very short distance in the Charlotte marathon relay last year. So this year when the opportunity was given to me by Vuvuzela to push Luka his 2.0 I was extremely excited. Running that race with Luka ahead of me the whole time was something that you can only truly understand once you’re able to do it. Luka pushed me men ….it was all about him….nothing else mattered just Luka getting across that finish line . I had a conversation just before we lined up to start with Vuvuzela and how Luka would communicate. he said to me ” If Luka his kicking his legs he is happy and having fun.” I took the information in and went over to the starting line…the countdown happened and we were off…..however it was on a hill on 6th street that Luka did it….I saw the hill and said to him ” Luka were going to crush this”….going down was easy….however as we started to go back up it quickly became apparent that this was going to hurt….then it happened…..Luka kicked both of his legs up in the air and moved them around ….it was all I needed ,Luka had given me the strength to crush that hill. To be honest after that I was on cloud nine! This young boy had strengthened me, made me stronger, because it was about him. I will cherish that moment until the day I die. Thank you Vuvuzela for allowing me the honor of racing with your son. He truly is a special boy.
After running and carrying a flag at the Christmastown 5k in late November with Speed for Need & F3, I was psyched and a little nervous about being a driver for Speed for Need at the Community Foundation Run. My small amount of anxiety was relieved when I met James and his grandfather Jim on Saturday morning and looked around at all of my F3 brothers getting ready to run. I confirmed a few of the PAX to run with me in case I needed some relief and to carry the Gashouse flag. James was unbelievable with his infectious smile and generally calm demeanor. After some good tutoring from Tooltime and Pizza Man, I was ready to get after it.
After arriving at the start line with James, Luka and the group, I took a few steps forward to get a picture back toward the group. It was an impressive sight to see so many of our PAX there to help carry us through.
The excitement for me personally grew as the countdown started thanks to Hunchback and we were off. As we started moving, James threw both of his arms out as if he was flying, it was terrific. A Gazette photographer caught this moment and if you have not seen this picture, please look out for it. I think it captures the entire day for me.
We were off. I went out too fast….really Stroganoff, I’ve done this before. The excitement of the moment with James and all our F3 PAX, I just took off, not as fast as Tooltime however. We kept a good pace up as runners passed us but I had F3 guys all around me. Whoopee was there to help push along the way, Slaw carrying the Flag, Roscoe to my right, it was terrific. Pizza Man, Hipaa and Spider Monkey with the video. I’m pretty sure Pizza Man got in some serious interval training while going back and forth between the chariots. After we crested the first big hill (after about 1.7 miles) I was personally spent and handed off to Whoopee and somewhere toward the finish line Roscoe took over the flag. We continued at a good pace as we made the last turn to head up South St. I could hear the crowd cheering James on. I’m pretty sure he lifted us up to the finish. There is a great shot of us running through the finish line, Whoopee on the chariot’s main handles, myself pushing on the left side handle, Roscoe carrying the flag and Tyson to my left (Tyson had come back to help push us up that last hill). This moment was also captured by a Gazette videographer, look for it on their website.
That was quite a moment for me personally and it took quite a while to get the smile off of my face. Smiles all around, pats on the back, James smiling, his Grandfather thanking us and telling stories, friends from the community patting us on the back, well earned sweat, gratitude…..I could go on and on. This was just another terrific moment for me since getting involved with F3. However, this was different. It was about James and Luka. After we awarded the medals to James and Luka, I had the great pleasure of picking him up out of his chariot and getting him back into his own chair. He relaxed just enough to make it easy for me to get him comfortably situated. He looked up at me and smiled. This is what Speed for Need is about. I did not really know until that moment. It was an extremely impactful 2 – 3 hours for me, I hope it was also for James and his Grandfather. I will not soon forget this day and am grateful for F3, F3 Gastonia, Pizza Man for the opportunity, Speed for Need and all the Gastonia PAX. When can we do this again? Until the next one. Aye!!
Once again, I want to thank everyone that helped this event be a success!! This would not have been possible without each and every one of you!!!
Until next time Pizza Man is OOOUUUUTTTTT!!!!!