run2gether pairs captains and crew members to participate in races throughout central Indiana. On Saturday, April 22nd, run2gether takes on the Carmel Marathon Races. One of our founding crew members, Tom Waddleton, will participate and describes his experiences with run2gether.

I have run entire races knowing that my job was to finish behind the person with whom I trained and raced. He or she was the captain of the team and our job as the crew was to finish as a team with the captain leading the way. Running a race while pushing a jogger has given me some of my best moments of running.

The captain of the team has different abilities than me and running a race on their own is not one of their abilities. But, their experience of the race can be the same.  I’ve seen the same pre-race excitement during warm-up.  There is a similar anticipation at the start line as we often stand in the cold and dark. The wind pushes against them as we start on often crowded streets. People are cheering and wanting to talk.  And then there’s the finish line with rowdy people who get extra loud when they see our team coming.  A medal gets placed around their neck along with all of the competitors and the team celebrates the finish.

My “Why JMF?” moment came about in the summer of 2014 when I learned JMF wanted to start a summer running program for children of all abilities. I’ve been a runner for years and this was a chance to have fun and give back to a worthy cause. I’ll admit to sometimes feeling selfish when I spend a lot of time running.  This was an opportunity to help others. During that program, I met Kiara, a high school student with cerebral palsy. Kiara doesn’t have the use of her legs and participated in the program with a wheelchair. She has an infectious smile and great enthusiasm. For that year’s JMF 5K, I asked Kiara if she’d like to team up and do the race together. With an announcer and large crowd encouraging her, she got out of the jogger 50 yards from the finish and used a walker to cross the line under her own power.

In April 2015, we teamed up again to run the Carmel Marathon. This race was longer and more of a challenge so we ran several long runs together to prepare. Our first run was almost two hours and it was less than 20 degrees outside. I thought Kiara might cancel or decide she wanted to shorten the workout but she bundled up and braved the cold weather teaching me a bit about toughness. The marathon experience is a bucket list item for many runners. Kiara accomplished this in just her second race and we had a blast doing it.

I am really excited that the run2gether program was started by JMF and it is growing. There is a lot of interest in the running community and we’ve had many participants in races of all distances. To participate in a race as part of a team with a captain is very different, and offers a unique and rewarding experience.

Post written by: Tom Waddleton, run2gether Crew Member