|Posted on September 12, 2017 at 12:00 AM|
This #200RaceMission is and never was truly about me. I didn't want this to be a look at me, I'm so awesome mission. I have been and continued to be humbled by this whole experience. Sometimes, I wonder, if we all do get caught up in the muscles, the look, the speed, the art of being and maintaining staying fit. I can tell you this, the determination, the will, the uncanny ability to just go above and beyond to finish anything should never be overlooked. Sometimes, there is more to our story. Where is all this going? Well, I just spent a good hour at the Stef Ripple website looking up who is Stefanie Ashdown, the woman a race I recently ran is named after. I definitely was intrigued wondering who was this woman and why? are how? our path's crossed at the September 9th, 2017, Stefanie Ashdown "Do Your Best" 5K. Basically, I saw a 5K race that I could run while on my way crossing the Bay Bridge to run the Savage Race. That was how I ended up at this particular 5K. Here is the scene, or the last mile from my view. While running, I had my sights set on catching folks as I paced myself. Sometimes, I feel faster, when I have someone else to catch. As I made my way through the various amazing runners, I pulled into second place with my heart set on catching the next "Adult." In the distance, I saw what looked to be a kid, a fast kid, a kid running way faster than I could've at that age. I assumed he had to be young like 12, well he was 13 years old. As I tried to close in on him, we came upon a hill that was definitely a quad burner, but this kid didn't stop. That's when I started to ask myself who was this kid? Maybe some future local track star just out for a leisurely 5K stroll...lol. Then, I started to try my second attempt at catching him with about .7 of a mile left. Wrong, this kid looked over his shoulder and saw me, and then put in a burst of speed that made it seem like we were still on Mile 1. But, he reluctantly vomited while running, ever so briefly. Nevertheless, that didn't stop him from regaining his stride with the finish line in his sights. As we rounded the corner approaching the school and the finish line. He completely stopped about 6 feet from the finish line and starts to vomit again. So, I proceeded to yell "Keep Going." I wanted him to win. I mean who wouldn't have wanted to see this mightly runner win. Seriously, he was fast. He regained his composure and crossed the finish line. He then proceeded to vomit again after he finished. Regardless, of how he felt, or what he was thinking, all I know is once he did, the whole crowd erupted like he was famous. I mean you would have thought he was Bruno Mars walking in the grocery store. I mean the crowd was that loud. Here is the backstory of this beautiful moment, the 13 year old "kid" was the son of Stefanie Ashdown. His name is Owen Ashdown. Sadly, Stefanie Ashdown passed away due to ovarian cancer in May of 2017. So, this race, this event, this epic run highlighted by her amazing 13 year old son giving his all was, for me, a random chance in history to witness an amazing story fold before my eye's. I never got a chance to meet Stefanie Ashdown of Severna Park, Maryland. I never saw her run all her races, compete at the highest level in numerous races. But, I met a few family members who introduced themselves to me at the end, plus reached out to me via social media. Young Mr. Owen is in great company. He ran an amazing race. I was proud of him. For the encore of screaming fans, when they handed out awards for 1st Overall Winner, Owen Ashdown got the loudest cheers and applause I have ever heard at any race. Thank you Stef Ripple, volunteers, runners, and so many others. Thank you Stefanie Ashdown and her amazing family. Of course, I have to single out and thank Owen Ashdown. Your story, your heart, your mission along with your family's perseverance inspires indivdiuals like me.