After 20 years of competitive cycling, I started running in 2004 as part of my rehab for a shattered ankle. I was told at the time that I would lose the motion in my ankle needed for pedaling, and that running and walking would be painful if not impossible. That was all I needed to hear. Six months after getting out of my walking cast, I ran my first marathon, and fell in love with running.
In 2011, I ran my 60th marathon (26.2 miles), and to date, I've completed over 25 ultramarathons (31-100 miles). My finish times will probably never be in the competitive range. In fact, I would be considered a pretty slow runner to most of you with a best marathon time of 4 hours and 23 minutes. But I'm out there doing something that I love, and no medal or finish position can take the place of the feeling of freedom that you get from running.
In 2007, I decided to take my purpose for running in a different direction. Instead of running just for myself to see how well could place, and as a result of the attacks on September 11th, 2001, I began running for those who I consider my heroes. My heroes being the many fallen soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers who have given me my freedom, and who make my world a safer place to enjoy that freedom. I would carry the America flag every step of every race from that day forward with pride... for all of them. "Strides Of Pride" was born.
Strides Of Pride, Inc. was founded as a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and remembering our fallen soldiers and first responders by participation in running events across America. We are currently awaiting approval of 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status. In the meantime, I continue to run marathons, ultramarathons, and other running events across the country carrying the American flag, and I dedicate nearly every race that is marathon distance or greater to a fallen soldier, firefighter, police officer, or EMS worker.
I am putting-together two large events that will continue to honor our fallen heroes. I am planning to run 3000+ miles across America to honor the 3000 victims of September 11th, 2001. The run, "3000 Miles For 3000 Victims - Run Across America" is my way of ensuring that we as Americans never forget those victims who perished that day, or those first responders and rescue workers who continue battling illness to this day from being exposed to the toxic environment surrounding the area where the attack took place.
I've always wanted to put together an event to honor and remember the fallen soldiers from the Kansas City metro area. In 2011 with enormous help from the community of Lake Quivira, KS, we held the first annual "24 Hours for 24 Heroes Run & Walk" on Memorial Day weekend to honor and remember 24 fallen soldiers from the metro area. My hope is that this will become an annual event in Kansas City, and remind all of us what the Memorial Day weekend is really about.
From there, I want to continue to honor my heroes through running, and come up with even more ways to never let us forget our fallen soldiers, firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers.