"If you want to run, then run a mile. If you want to experience another life, then run a marathon."
- Emil Zatopek, Olympic Champion
Back in January, I made a post (26.2 to the New You) that I was about to embark on a journey known as "The Marathon Experience". I wanted to challenge myself, physically and mentally, in a way that I never had before. Raising money for the Autism Society of Oregon's "Take a Break" program was also something that I wanted to accomplish during this experience. Little did I know that it would be one of the biggest life changing experiences that I have had to date.
The Portland Marathon
This past Sunday, October 5th, I finished the the 42nd annual Portland Marathon, along with 6,427 other individuals. Leading up to this point, I had logged over 500 miles during my training and raised over $1,100 for the Autism Society of Oregon. I learned many things over the course of those 500 miles. I had learned that runners are of all ages, body types, and back grounds. I learned how my body responds to running 10+ miles in a given time, and then recently found out how it feels after running/walking a marathon. I learned how people come together and support each other to help one another accomplish something great. But it wasn't during my training or during my race that taught me the most memorable thing during my "marathon experience". That moment came when I least expected it to at time that was no different than any other day.
The Day I Will Never Forget
It was just another day at work. I woke up and drove to Lewis & Clark College for another morning football practice. Continued my day and trained several clients and was prepping for another one to arrive, then it happened. My last client of the day showed up for his session, but there something was different. That day he walked into the athletic facility holding a bag with $90, all one dollar bills, and then simply handed it to me. All that he said was, "Hi Ryan. This is for your run." I was baffled and speechless. I thanked him for his generosity and then began his session.
Once his session was underway, I quickly stepped aside and called his mother to make sure she knew about the money and that he was donating it. She acknowledged that she knew about the money and that it was her son's idea. Saving money and then donating to charities was something he had done before. She had told him that I was training for a marathon and about how I was raising money for the Autism Society of Oregon. My marathon was rapidly approaching and he decided that he wanted to support me in my efforts. There are several reasons why I will never forget that specific donation, but one of the most prevalent is because it was his donation that put me over my $1,000 goal.
The Break Down
26.2 miles. 461.12 football fields (goal line to goal line). 1,537 college basketball courts. 384 times around the base paths on a baseball diamond. There are a lot of ways to break down a marathon, but for me running a marathon was more than the distance. It became more than just challenging myself physically and mentally. It was truly about the charitable spirit shown by everyone that supported me throughout this experience. No better example than the selfless act made by one of my very own clients.
Thank you for all of your support and love. It was much appreciated!
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CFNS, is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He is President of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well as by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) as a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.