We made a difference. We ran. I now say thanks.

Were you driving along the south shore of the Ottawa river last weekend? Did you see an occasional runner, maybe in a neat-o blue race t-shirt? Or some people clanging cowbells and being obnoxious in the chill wind? That was us. The Sears Great Canadian Run started at 7:30 a.m. at the Aviation Museum in Ottawa. It wound it’s way along the river to the far ferry, across and back to the Fairmont Montebello. It covered 100K. It inspired people to do things they hadn’t before. To care. To fundraise. To show up.

As a team we raised over $8,400. As individuals we learned so much. We didn’t all know each other prior to the race. People signed on, agreed to participate based on a sense of adventure and reassurances it would be great. In the months leading up to the race, people expressed varying anxieties – about having to fundraise, or about doing something like this with someone they’d never met before – but these fears abated as the team solidified and as the Run drew near. Everyone was 100% behind the big picture of trying to make a difference for children who are facing cancer. As we stood in the chill morning, ready to start the Run a 12 year-old cancer survivor matter-of-factly described her pain and her ordeal having bone cancer. When her voice cracked as she thanked us for caring and wanting to make a difference there was not a dry eye in the run chute. Then we were off.

We did it in 10 hours, 6 minutes which was a much better time than we thought we could do. People ran more than they had signed on for. Even at times for other teams. Everyone brought a dimension to the day that made our team incredible. The bike marshal said he thought we looked like the team that was having the most fun. Even though we lost runners a couple of times, were cold, were car sick we proudly wore the mantle of Deep Fried Butter and we made a difference.

I have people I need to thank:

Roger, or Agent Bauer as we affectionately call him. Patient and unflappable. Even when facing seven hours in a van full of women. At one point we weren’t sure where he went, thought he disappeared to avoid the shoe and fashion talk. He had gone to run the next runner in to the checkpoint. He’s that kind of good guy.

Shaun, our route master. He figured out who was running, when based on their preferences. He then mapped that to the shuttle vehicles for who was riding where, when. Not an easy task with 11 runners. He then ran an entirely uphill, windy leg that was mis-labelled as moderate but truly sucked. And he never stopped smiling.

Amber. She runs like it’s as easy as blinking and logged the farthest distance for us – even covering a leg we didn’t realize we had missed! She had the toughest leg (climbed to 6,000 feet something?) and ran late in the day, when energy was low. She was strength and a megawatt smile, sweet and inspiring determination. She got a text her child scored a goal in hockey, and said she could have run the whole way after that. Speaks to the size of her heart.

Tracey. Fashionista, fitness professional, little engine that could. She ran 10K, had a 40 minute break then ran 7 for another team. I’ve known her since we were 8 and she continually impresses me with her strength, her resilience, and her sense of humour! She thinks I am good for her spirit. It is so the other way around.

Kobie. Ill for a month prior, she kept her leg and ran it in to the ferry dock with a small pause to find her inhaler in the ditch! She also was integral for the one team-wide fundraiser, where she coordinated donations to shave Shaun’s head and did a washer toss. Her heart is as big as the moon, and she’s always very patient with my mad hatter ideas.

Allison, my cheerleader. We all have friends we would be lost without. Allison has never had to look away when I am at my lowest point. She started running expressly for this relay, and she fundraised even when there was a chance a health issue could keep her from running. She also got lost. No on purpose, but perhaps by design of the universe for the humour it brought to the day and the grace she showed for having had it happen to her!

Dawn. Spiritually the most evolved woman I know, she is lit from within as Nick the cutie race marshal noted. She is my Louise, my PEI perfect island companion and we have logged another epic adventure now with the relay. Not sure what’s next, just know I’m in for whatever comes up, and she will be too. Dawn got the press in our hometown to write an article bringing the relay profile. She attracts positive attention like that!

April the sunburst. Some people have energy and enthusiasm to spare – they light up people on either side of them with their natural tendency to see what’s great in any situation. April is a poster child for positivity. As a child, she for sure had report cards that said she played well with other children. She organized food and snacks for the day. We ate like kings!

Lynn, the first of our Ottawa connection. She got our race kits, saving us time and hassle the morning of the Run. She also showed up on Twitter in the months up to the race, which is of course, a very huge happy thing for me! @sweaterlady27 also fought car sickness without saying anything – my hero.

Kim. A determined runner, she has dragged my sorry butt around our neighbourhood more times than I can count. I’m just not that driven to sweat. She fundraised like a demon and committed from the moment we signed up at Ottawa Race weekend in May.  Communications master also got us set up in a Facebook group.

Sears Great Canadian Run team. I don’t just crush on Sara the Communications Manager because she said she enjoyed my blog and tweets. She pushed out information and kept a heartbeat to an event that spanned six provinces, three months, and all for the first time – this was the inaugural year! I wish I had been less sweaty and wind-blown to meet Clay the Event Director, but that part of the Run team took the time to introduce themselves in person brought a familiar feel to the relay – that was as genuine and authentic as our effort to make a difference. Congratulations and thank you to the volunteers and event staff. You provided people like us on Deep Fried Butter an opportunity to step outside our everyday routines. Stretching our wings as fundraisers was less intimidating with the supports you had in place. Seeing so clearly how we were contributing – how we were helping – was the most important gift you gave us. For that we say thanks.

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2 Responses to We made a difference. We ran. I now say thanks.

  1. April :) says:

    Julie, you forgot to mention one person: yourself!
    Julie Einarson: Julie is the kind of person who dares to set impossible goals and actually achieves them. With her trusty iPad in hand, she wrangled together a fabulous team of people and led the way to pursue this adventurous run. She is a go-getter who motivates a team with her charismatic ways. In life, we should always try to surround ourselves with people who make us want to be better people- and Julie is definitely one of those people! Keep an eye on this girl because I am certain she will continue to out-do herself. Thanks for bringing us all together for a fantastic weekend of fresh air and a good cause!

    • *whispers* thank you. Honestly – it’s always about big picture, helping others.. this will fill me up, keep me going on days I wonder if it makes sense to keep up with onwards. I’m so glad we met. I hope we cross paths again soon!

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