If you have not already read part 1 of the Gasparilla Journey please read it first!
A gentleman in the team freedom group offered to push Kathy (see part one!) if they were able to find an adult size cart or stroller that would fit her. They found one and he pushed her for the 1st mile, but there were eight others that took a mile and pushed Kathy during the 15 K race. The gracious race director heard of Kathy’s story and what they wanted to do – they allowed her to be a registered participant with a race bib and everything! Forgot to mention, at our dinner Susan, the Race Director for Gasparilla, came and shared a few words. She was overwhelmed by the number of people in the room. She knew there was this group raising money and running, but I don’t think she knew how many!
On Saturday morning I was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4:30 in the morning to make the journey down to Tampa. I met up with my strider family for a group photo before heading towards the start line. I also met up with Sarah, who I ran with during the 15K. We pushed each other and kept each other going to a new PR. She had not run a 15K distance before, so she had an immediate PR! After completing the 15K I came back around to the finish line to watch Kathy and the other team freedom members cross the finish line. As they came around the corner and into my field of view I could see an empty cart and all 10 people walking arm in arm to the finish line. Yes, you heard me right Kathy walked across the finish line! I could not contain my emotions. To watch Kathy walk across that finish line was unbelievable! She wasn’t just walking for her, she was walking for the girls that are not free yet!
Both days of running were a success for me personally. I had a four minute PR in the 15K (1:42:19) and a three minute PR (56:45) in the 8K over my times from last year. All Team Freedom members wore these black and green shirts and green headbands, pictured below. They were all over the course. I had tons of people ask me while I was running, “What’s Team Freedom?” It was a great way to spread awareness for human trafficking!
After the 8K on Sunday, I had breakfast with some of my Strider family and got to share all the Team Freedom was with them. There are so many Striders and I got to meet two new ones at breakfast. I call them my Strider Family because that is what they are – my CRAZY running family. If you live anywhere in the north Tampa area and are looking for a running club – join us! Click here for more details!
Check out the bling! Gasparilla always does an amazing job with the medals!
Part 3: Gasparilla History and Virtual Run Results! Coming Soon!