We run three major events each year. The Mayor’s Cup Regatta, The Auction for Access Gala, and our Run/Roll for Access. The Regatta and the Gala are truly big events with hundreds of attendees. The Run for Access is smaller with a 20-30 participants but the impact is equal to one in which hundreds of people run or push.
At about 8:45 on the morning of October 2nd, our first runner, Joe Reidy, started out on his 1.5 mile loop around Jamaica Pond. About 15 of us cheered his start and off he went holding his father, Norm’s, right hand. Five minutes later, Joe was about 150 yards away, walking steadily. He would walk like this for another 2 hours and 40 minutes. Soon after a group of four who were running a half marathon distance of 13 miles set off to run 9 laps on the same course at Joe. Now about 25 people had gathered and all cheered for this start as they ran after Joe. Shortly after, my son, Josh, and I walked at a similar pace and style as Joey did earlier with his father. Again people cheered and we were off. In all, 19 of us started off at different times based on our training estimates. We ran together on the same course aiming to end at nearly the same time as a way of equally honoring the training and effort of all of us. The last to start was our friend, Karen Smyers, the legendary triathlete.
This event is unlike any other event any of us will ever know. Some run 9 laps for a 13 miles, some run one lap, others run as far as they can in 2 hours and others run 5K’s or 10K’s. The point is that we all run a distance that requires training and we all accomplish something that, given our uniqueness, makes it a compelling feat. The spirit of the day is remarkable. Everyone is mostly competing with themselves and everyone is encouraging every other runner. Being passed by faster runners actually feels good for the support and comradery that is felt. We are, in a way, all on the same team while running/walking our own race. We are collectively trying to create a body of athleticism that is remarkable.
At AccesSport we say that either all of us have a disability or none have a disability. We all have challenges that make each day simply challenging. On that course some of us raced against conditions like cerebral palsy and head injury, while others overcame age, arthritis, fatigue, depression, or simply aches or joint pain. One runner even walked being eight months pregnant. We pushed each other to excel, and that makes this a one of a kind major event. Below are the names of those who ran/walked, their times, and their distances in alpha order.
Brian Abramson, Mark Scheier, Craig Levy 2:10;35, 13.5 mile relay
Emily Abramson, Alison Levy, Rebecca Scheier 1:12:48, 5K
Judy Ashton 1:34:05, 7.2K
Chris Chu 2:0:45, 13.5 mile
Dan Gurian 38:19, 5K
Karen Gurian 23:18, 5K
Sudha Kumar 1:07:39, 7.2K
Josh Lilley 1:16:03, 1.5 miles
Jean Lilley 2:15:19, 13.5 miles
Michael Lindgren 31:50, 5K
Nicole Love 2:0:45, 13.5 mile
Joe Reidy 2:39:42, 1.5 miles*
Alex Scheier 1:56:12, 13.5 mile
Karen Smyers 48:19, 10K
Rey Vazquez 1:01:34, 7.2K
Mark Young 1:19:17, 7.2K
* Joey took almost a whole hour off of his time from last year, largely in part due to his committed training on the AccesSportAmerica Gait Trainer.