We had a big achievement unlock this summer. Zacharie and Charlie both joined Team Diabetes for the first time. They raised money, ran races, and pushed themselves to acheive things bigger than they thought possible.
It’s an epic thing to watch your kids raise the bar, and this summer it was done over and over and over again.
First it was Team Diabetes Gold Coast. We had a family goal of raising $30 000 and everyone would participate in a race. I’d run the half marathon, my wife and the boys would run shorter fun runs. As always, connections through branded content on this site raised most of the money, but the boys did get out and add more than $1000 to the total when we ran a community clothing drive in response to #TheGivingEffect challenge by TELUS.
They collected clothes, loaded the truck, and helped raise awareness in our community for the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clothesline program.
But that was just one step. When we got to Australia, they had to run.
This was the first big race my boys had ever done. They’ve done the Terry Fox Run at school for a few years, but that was just a few laps of the school yard. This was their first, on a start line, with a number, on a team, race; in a foreign country, no less!
Charlie was first up for the 2k. A few minutes late to the start after a last second visit to the porta potties, he pushed my wife aside from running with him, to do things “on my own!”
He was awesome.
Zacharie would run his 4k by himself. He squeezed out to the start line, and this being his first ever race, he didn’t realize that slower runners go back in the queue. He was on the start line with kids a few years older and much faster than he.
The race started down a slight hill and I was so nervous he’d trip and get trampled in his first real race. But he stayed with the long strides of the big kids and did it with a smile.
I was so proud when crossed the finished line. So proud.
And so, when the chance came to run in another Team Diabetes event at the end of the summer, a short 5k around a golf course to raise money for Camp Jean Nelson, I had Zacharie come along.
It was a cold, early start, but he did it again. We ran together, hatched some Pokemon Go eggs, and had a great morning.
“Omg, Dad, that was so hard and fun at the same time,” Zacharie beamed after beating me out by a nose in a sprint to the finish.
One of the race starters was Akeem Haynes, member of Canada’s bronze medal winning 4x100m relay team at the Rio Olympics. Zacharie was shy to say hello at first, but after the run, he went over to get a picture, hold the medal, and flash a big grin.
Afterwards, at the breakfast, Zacharie sat with Akeem and chatted his ear off for half an hour about Pokemon, animals, and other random 9 yr old topics.
At one point Z was explaining how he’s actually faster than Akeem and his teammate, Andre DeGrasse, because they can only run quickly over short distances (like cheetahs), while Zacharie can run 5 kilometres.
— Classroom Champions (@ClassroomChamps) September 4, 2016
When Zacharie and I were walking to the start of the race he said he was tired but that was okay “because I’ll get a medal at the end of the race.” He loves the one he won in Australia and is looking to build a collection. I explained that it was quite a small race, and it was likely there would be no medals handed out.< Then he goes and meets Akeem Haynes and wears an Olympic bronze medal.
It was so awesome to witness. And now I’m hooked.
Through the fall and next spring, I’ll be looking for 5k runs that we can do together. I’ll be looking for more opportunities where we can volunteer as a family.
I am so proud of my sons for rising to the huge challenge I set for them this year. I’m proud of the size of their hearts and desire to give back and how they’re willing to challenge their bodies to stay healthy.