Liam Gets His Blade
Last week was yet another chapter in the special relationship I've built with my I Run 4 Michael buddy Liam and his family. As I wrote (HERE,) after the Carlsbad 5000 in April, Liam's parents and I decided we needed to add more running to their lives by starting a fund raise to get him his own Team Hoyt running chair ("blade.")
Serendipity intervened and a chance meeting with Marine Sergeant, blogger (RunFreeRun.com), and ultrarunner Maggie Seymour and Jim Pathman from Team Hoyt San Diego lead to Maggie fully funding Liam's blade. Maggie's first "gift" recipient as part of her RunFreeRun 3,300 mile coast-to-coast run was Liam's "badass" blade.
My logistics were minor in comparison to Maggie's but I wanted to fly from (home in) Denver to San Diego for the presentation of the blade. I also wanted to add something a bit more personal and special than 2" block lettering to his rig. Leading up to the event, I created graphics for the chair itself and the wheel covers. A combination of my OCD, preparation, and panic ensued as the chair showed up only a few days before her launch event at Liberty Station in Point Loma (San Diego,) California. Leading up to that point, I worked with Jim and the team from RunningChairs.com to work with the design and available space for graphics and located a local company to complete the vinyl graphics for one "hot" chair.
|Applying "speed" decals the day before presentation in San Diego|
This would be the third time I have been able to meet Liam and his amazing parents, Joan and Fabian. In typical fashion, Liam once again made a trip to the hospital with lung issues leading up to the blade presentation and start of Maggie's epic run. He was out of the hospital for our Saturday event, but showed up not looking like himself and running a fever. This expedited plan had been in motion for several weeks and particularly Liam's mom was not going to be denied. Balloons inflated, Maggie's team had her support fan loaded and after the final graphics application the day before, the blade was ready for Liam.
|Maggie greeting Joan and Liam|
While most of the press was at ComicCon that weekend, there was a great turnout for the start of Maggie's 3,300 mile journey and as planned, Liam and I shared the first 5.5 miles with her team winding up and down some wicked hills (note to self, we need to enhance the braking system for the downhill part,) and liberally doused Liam's hot head with water. Liam set a PR that day in distance as he'd only run once before in the Carlsbad 5000. We ended our portion as many runners do with food and beer at noon. Liam drifted in and out of sleep afterward in the restaurant (just like I do on my couch at home after a strenuous run.)
Mom cried, I hugged Liam as much as I could, and again (like many runners) we celebrated by taking in some live music (brother Tim was performing) in Del Mar that evening. Also like many runners, we immediately went to "what's our next race?!" Distance is a bit of an issue in that Liam is in San Diego and I live in Denver, but we have an October race planned at the Colorado State University 5K Homecoming weekend race. In the meantime, many are anxious to push Liam around in his chair and mom and dad ran again as they did when they were younger before having Liam. His normal (albeit crazy expensive) wheelchair is not built for running but his Hoyt blade is built for speed. I was pleased to see Facebook photos of Mom, Dad, and Liam running together the week after I'd left.
|Joan and Fabian Running Again with son Liam|
Meanwhile...as of my tapping on my keyboard in an air-conditioned room, Maggie was halfway between Quartzsite and Brenda, Arizona. I can't handle sitting under a "misting spray" in August in Arizona. This badass woman is running across that hot rock to get to Virginia Beach in 100 days. Total respect and total appreciation. You can donate to Maggie's cause to get more kids like Liam in a running chair at RunFreeRun.com.