Monday, May 12, 2014

ALS and the Cleveland Marathon

Just over a month ago,  the Cleveland Marathon posted the following on their Facebook Status:

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
April 8 ·
RUNNERS - We are assisting the organization - Dream Days, - in finding interested participants to assist them for our race on Sunday, May 18th. Dream Days is an organization dedicated to planning, facilitating and providing events for those with developmental and physical disabilities and other chronic conditions. The idea to have marathon runners push special needs individuals in specially-designed running chairs stemmed from seeing the Hoyts, where the father competes in marathons and triathlons with his son who has cerebral palsy. If you are interested, please contact, Executive Director, Jonathan Schulz directly at

Shortly after the Cleveland Marathon posted this status "short" Emily shared said status with our Sunday morning running group.  My initial thought was that I wouldn't be able to push someone for 26.2 miles so I simply put the idea in the back of my mind for future reference.  Fast forward to our Sunday morning long run that week and "short" Emily and "tall" Emily showed up for our 18 mile long run with a stroller in tow to "test the waters".  As we set out on our long journey, the Emilys shared what they would be doing with Mellisa and I.  By the middle of said long run, Mellisa and I had committed to joining the push team with the Emilys. 

Several weeks went by and we hadn't heard anything in regards to who we would be pushing and what their special need was.  We then received an email and found out that they were having a hard time finding special needs participants for the race.  The Executive Director of Dream Days was shocked by this as he thought finding the runners to push the participants would be the hardest part.  The very next day we were given our Team Captain!  We would be pushing Barry Winovich who is in the fight of his life battling ALS.  "Short" Emily sent us this video link so we could get to know our captain a little better.  Needless to say, there were many tears shed and even more gratitude to have been given the honor to push such an amazing individual.  In watching the video, we learned that Barry founded Bright Side of the Road Foundation because he chose to "start living". 

Yesterday marked our final long run prior to the Cleveland Marathon on May 18.  We did a lot of soul searching and talking about Barry and life in general as well as what our ultimate goal for Sunday will be. In the end the goal is simple......get Barry across the finish line of another 26.2 mile journey.  There will be a lot of prayer, determination, sweat, and probably a few tears.  Inevitably there will be pain but our pain is only temporary compared to the challenging journey that Barry and his family are on.  This marathon is not about us, it's about Barry Winovich, a truly inspirational soul.  With God's grace and Barry's will to fight, we will succeed.

If you are out on the course Sunday morning and see us in our mint green tanks, pushing a specially designed running stroller, please cheer for Team Barry.

Source:  Google Images

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Barry Winovich YOU inspire ME!!


  1. This is so aweseome! I can't wait to hear the recap!

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