Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
I used to be amazed or surprised by the commitment of F3 Nation to rally and support a cause. I’m no longer surprised (that would suggest I did not expect much from this loosely organized group of men). But each and every time I am impressed and inspired by the force of will that F3 Nation brings to the community.
Over 50 people registered with the F3Nation team ahead of the race.
Another 10+ signed up day of the race. And estimate 10 more running with bibs not linked to the team.
Add in supporters on the sidelines, family members, pets and we likely had over 100 F3 Nation affiliated folks as part of the event.
And we are just getting started.
The Wake Up Call
What kind of 14 year old really wants to get out of bed at 6:30AM on a holiday? While he is truly a one of a kind, Owen Farr resembles your typical teenager when it comes to an early wake up call (not a fan). “Hey dad, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s go to Duck Donuts after the race.” (Another typical teenage boy request)
In the car he is finally awake and starts to ask questions – who is going to be there? How far are we running? Can Harry (the dog) run with us?
Owen checked out a couple of photos but the racing chariot is much more impressive in person. Once seated he realizes that the ride is a huge upgrade over his regular wheelchair. Comfortable seat, securely strapped in, no anxiety that Dad will flip the thing over coming around a corner or down a hill. And the SpeedForNeed decoration looks awesome. This machine ain’t no jogging stroller – it is the wheelchair equivalent of a high tech road bike. Smooth on the road, tracks straight, feels good.
The Low Five
The F3 pax embracing Owen stands out as the best moment of the morning. From men whom I’ve known for years to men that I never met before 7/4/2017 – everyone took time to speak to Owen, introduce themselves and encourage him while we ran together. Guys reaching out to shake his hand, offer a fist bump or a high 5. The kid can barely lift his arms up to reciprocate but he enjoys the attention. We are tremendously blessed to receive support from friends, church, school and family members. These communities embrace Owen for who he is. But it is also true that in some situations Owen feels excluded at times – his physical and social differences stand out, without question. On 7/4/2017 F3Nation lifted Owen up without regard to his ability to run fast, lead a workout, be loud, or funny or or crazy. The pax stepped up and said welcome brother, we are here to celebrate with you. Can’t reach over your head for a high five? Then I’ll come down to meet you.
I’ve run faster. But never before did I experience the kind of camaraderie that was out on that race course. At the beginning I was mostly nervous that I would trip, or crash into the curb, or possibly take out Material Girl’s achilles tendon with the chariot. Once we got going I mostly felt joy, love and celebration. I had the easy part – just follow Owen and hang on. Guys all around carrying shovel flags, leading the way, cheering Owen along. He had a great time. Loved hearing the support around him, love seeing the crowds (especially if they brought out their dogs). I think String Bean’s photo captured the moment better than anything that I will write here. Check out @nataliesfoy on Twitter.
The Road Ahead
I’ve notably avoided mentioning individuals – mostly because I worry about leaving someone out. But every single F3er there is a part of SpeedForNeed. Our progress in just a few short months is outstanding. The American 4 Miler provided a great opportunity to celebrate accomplishments to date. But as I noted in the BOM, 7/4/2017 was merely the first step. Let’s have everyone who stepped up to support SFN take the next step. Find a race and someone to push. Maybe it is a family member. Maybe it is a neighbor. Perhaps it is someone you have not met yet. The need is there. SFN is harnessing the power of F3Nation to reach across our communities and impact lives. In our prayers we often ask God to help those in need. How does God answer those prayers? By putting each of us in the world to make a difference every day.
Watch it. Share it.
What’s next? Let’s do it.
F3 – Nash (Pilot & Father for 2.0 Track Commander Owen)