I’ve only run two races as an angel, but I need to get something off my chest. I don’t normally rant in my little space on the inter webs, but today I will.
It is out of pure ignorance that I have heard from fellow runners while running with an Angel say, “Now that’s the way to run a (fill in the distance)!”- as though to say that riding would be easier. DO NOT EVER SAY THIS TO A TEAM WITH A WHEELCHAIR IN A RACE!!
The person pushing is connected to the rider, on occasion the parent, and these words are painful. They would give anything to see their child running beside them. Because of whatever disability, they are unable to run. They don’t ride out of choice but out of necessity. The person pushing is working harder than you can understand to make the race possible for the rider.
The rider, no matter how able they appear to you, can’t run. It isn’t safe for them to run. Or they wouldn’t be able to sustain the distance. Or they aren’t able to even walk. But they can hear you. They would gladly leap out of the chair to be able to run alongside you.
So no… that’s not the way you run a race. But through big hearts, fundraising and partnerships with the special needs community – runners are able to make the dream of inclusion possible for others.
For the rider, the pusher and the parent – they pray, hope, fundraise and bring awareness to the special needs community to one day see these kids and adults walk or even run these races on their own.
Today you have the ability to run. Don’t take it for granted. And don’t let me hear you say, “Now that’s the way to run a race!” – I’ll personally smack you!