Thursday, 16 June 2016

Ratanak 2016 5km Walkathon

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Three weeks of insanity are over for me. In that time I ran 100 miles or 163 km from Mississauga to Buffalo. I than ran the full 26.2 mile or 42.2km Buffalo Marathon in near record heat. This is a shirt sold boasting of the temperature without the humidity. 
Last weekend I was part of a team that helped organize and coordinate the 5km walkathon at Erindale Park in Mississauga.
Looking back I realize how the month of March always seems to be a low point for me. Training for my spring marathon has me physically exhausted. Laying the ground work for the walkathon has me mentally exhausted. On a particular demanding day I wondered not for the first, and certainly not for the last would this be my final year?

The Friday before the walk my beautiful wife Gloria sent me a message about what Paul (co organizer) and myself were going to do about Saturday`s weather? I had stayed away from checking the weather as it is out of my control. Looking up the forecast I saw it called for severe weather between 5 am to 10 am. This was the worst possible forecast. The event is booked eight months in advance. We trust in God to give us the perfect day. Thinking about the possibility of lightning in a heavily wooded area with 140 participants was not a comforting thought.
Many people started praying. I would like to say I was unaffected, but that would be a lie. I checked the weather network many times during the day and was relieved in the evening when the forecast started changing a little. God as He always does came through. We had a very hot, humid day in which many times a participant would mention to me how hot it was. Compared to the original forecast I gladly accepted the humidity.

The day of the walk itself is always so positive! I lost track of how many times someone came up to me and thanked me for the event itself. I would in turn thank them for although I love my fellow volunteers of the Ratanak core group our walkathon would seem pretty hollow without the participants.

Jessika Mak is a symbol of me to what his day is all about. Her smile is contagious! She is passionate, compassionate, and driven to make a difference to those in Cambodia. She prayed for the event itself, and through her shaking voice and tears reminded us again of the agony the ones in Cambodia have endured and how it is a honour to be a part of something that alleviates this suffering.

For my speech I talked about the day June 11 in History and used examples of great events from the past that brought freedom on this day, as well as events that represented great acts of evil, and oppression. I mentioned how today many acts of good and evil would take place around the world and that is nice to take part in something positive that we may never truly know the full effect.  
I also mentioned how the world is always looking for individual heroes. This sometimes discourages regular people from becoming involved in some of the world`s problems, we think of the greatness of the problem compared to our limited skills and we do nothing.
In total I ran 205 km in five days. At the walkathon 140 people walked a total of 700 km in less than one hour.
Collectively a group of people can make a far larger impact than one individual.

Most participants took their time and enjoyed their walk through such a beautiful park. A 14 year old cross country runner blazed his way to first place, setting a new course record.
A Mississauga Councillor showed up and blessed our event on twitter. She also wants to give publicity to our future events in a forum I had never considered. Thank you Chris Fonseca.

At a core group meeting leading up to the walk I asked members to submit what they felt should be the financial goal of this walkathon. Most estimates were very conservative, one person said "whatever goal Larry sets we should follow."
As in the past I do set the goal. There is not a complicated process of charts, graphs, or trends. My thought process has been until we do not reach the goal we must raise the bar each year.
Last year I set the goal of $25 252 and somehow with God`s help we were able to surpass it.
This year I set the most aggressive goal ever $30 252. 
To date $18 000 has been raised with a possible huge donation to come in August.

Half empty or half full?
For me even if we do not raise another dollar the glass is full. At the walkathon I saw many new faces which encourages me for the future. 34 people who attended were 18 years of age or under, again these young people are the future. We gave our all and whatever the thermometer finally stops at is the number that God intended for us.
Many times in life we do not know how close to a major breakthrough we were approaching, but we quit. 
This is my triumphant picture of my recent Buffalo Marathon, taken in my Hotel room.

What this picture does not tell or show was one of the many moments in every marathon especially the one in Buffalo that I feel like quitting. I think of a sign held up in a recent race "pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever."

This picture that was taken by a photographer in Buffalo captures a very tough moment when I wondered about continuing. At such moments whether in life or a marathon I remember a statement from Brian McConaghy many years ago. Brian talked about committing to the young women for Ratanak International programs. "We cannot accept a woman into our program and than turn her out before her healing is complete because the funding runs out." I took this as a personal challenge. I feel whatever I commit to I must finish; because if I don`t possibly the well being of a young woman is at stake.

I did not quit and my thoughts of March are long gone. I look forward to running two more marathons in hopefully cooler weather and also continuing to be a part of bringing freedom to those in Cambodia through our annual walkathon.



No comments:

Post a Comment