Big Heart: Complete Stranger to Comrade

Big Heart: Complete Stranger to Comrade

First, I am not a marathon participant, but rather a volunteer.

Second, the marathon allows me to take my love of bicycling and turn it into the high lite of my year.

Being able to escort the wheel-chaired athletes in the completion of something I can’t fathom. We both train. We’re both on wheels. We both cover the same distance. And yet, they do it with their arms, lungs, and heart so big I’m constantly in awe. My story is about a big heart.

I’ve long forgotten my athlete’s name, but not his caring…for me. On my third year as a marathon bike escort. I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew. The man I blindly teamed up with pushed me. Pushed me hard. Pushed me the entire race. I remember cycling back into a nasty hairpin turn back in the woods. On the way in, who escorts the wheel-chair leader was coming out. Followed shortly by another team. Once we made the hairpin and started out, it hit me. Holy &%#! I think we’re running third. The pace continued. I backed off as we approached the finish line. I saw him cross and disappear in the crowd. I never saw him again after that. All I knew was he had gotten my best.

The next year, my guy was in a hand-pushed upright chair, and excuse me for saying, the pace was nowhere near the same. At this time let me inform everyone that I am a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic. I take extra precautions when preparing for this event. Still I was not prepared for what was about to transpire. Because of the much slower pace and total time involved, I had used up all my jells, bars, and Gatorade. I was literally running on empty. Coming back on Kauffman, my blood sugar crashed and so did I. The last thing I remember is an image of my wheeler cresting the next hill.

I always wear a Medic Alert on my wrist, so the EMT’s were aware. I was in and out for the next hour. When I came to, and stayed ‘to’, my guy was there. Next to me in the First Aid tent checking up on me. A total stranger 4 hours ago. He had my bike, my helmet, and my health in mind. Thank you and God bless you wheel-chaired comrade.

Written by: Don Smith


Related Pages:

Charity Partners
Air Force Marathon 2021

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