Two years ago, D & I were honored and blessed to meet double amputee 9 year old Cody McCasland at Winter’s Family Beach Fest 5K held at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. two days after, I went into the hospital for pneumonia. With my wife and my granddaughter in my mind, I focused on positive waves. I also thought of Cody's strength and incredible spirit! Since then, I have been blessed with personal growth never imagined.
This past Saturday, Gianna, D & I witnessed another true inspiration, Hunter Hill. He was registered in the 9-10 Year Old 1 Mile. (4 laps around Pepin Stadium at University of Tampa) He was announced over the P.A. system as he entered his last lap. Halfway through, I took a photo of him, looked him dead in the eye, and told him "YOU are the Man!" "See you at the finish line!"
Like I did with Gianna, I dashed across the infield, hearing the announcer inviting all to welcome Hunter, the last runner of the day still on the track, at the finish line!
His dad behind him (in the red hat), Hunter crossed that finish line in victory!
Just missing Susan Harmeling, Executive Director for Gasparilla Distance Classic Association Inc., placing the medal on Hunter, I stood with three other members of the Board. All of us sharing tears and not being able to speak.
I watched the finish to most of the races which had at least 3-4 flights within. I looked in amazement at the determination coming from those little faces. I was emotional at every finish line. I was blessed to witness, learn, and be inspired by all 1700 of those children. I was proud that my Granddaughter was a part of it all.
The day swept excuses from me and amplified my belief. IF you truly cross that finish line after giving it your all, you have won your race! In life, and on the track, you are a winner!