“Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
Runners. I don’t really get them. I admire them greatly. I sometimes wish I were one. They are fit, have cool t-shirts from all the 5K’s and 10K’s they’ve done, they can eat whatever they want. The only way I get one of those cool t-shirts is if my son decides to “donate” one and it mysteriously ends up in my drawer. Somehow I doubt that anyone believes that I managed to run a marathon though.
TWENTY-SIX-POINT-TWO MILES. That is not “running” … that is suffering.
Now imagine running 5 of those in one week … in the summer … in familiar and unfamiliar parts of the U.S. Ummmm … no thank you.
But that is just what this group of people sitting around my table are doing: running and managing a relay from Los Angeles (the city of angels you know) to New York to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis research. One runner for each of 17 160-mile segments is accompanied by crew members who handle the driving of the RV and the crew car, buy groceries, make meals, administer first aid, monitor the route, take pictures, post to social media, and maybe most importantly run and walk segments with the runner to provide unlimited encouragement and support.
May I introduce you to this week’s MS Run the US runner and crew!
- Rachel – previous multiple-time runner and crew member
- Amy – Community Engagement Manager, previous multiple-time runner, and emergency crew member
- Dave – Amy’s friend and devoted supporter
- Cornelia – crew member, driver, dedicated photographer
- Marty – my husband and host
- Curt – first-time runner (Des Moines to Davenport) and record-setting fundraiser
- Me – hostess
- Nick – my son, not pictured/taking picture
How did they end up in my home? You can call it coincidence. I call it a blessing.
As with many blessings, it starts with some unexpected news. Last year, one of my best friends, Heidi, sent me a link to a fundraising page asking for financial support for a run she was doing. I went to the page and there found out that this friend was not only going to be running 150 miles across Utah in one week (in 2015) for MS but that she had been diagnosed with MS herself almost 10 years earlier. It was something she had chosen not to share with those outside her immediate circle. This race prompted her to share her story in hopes of creating hope. (You can read her inspiring story here.) Yep … she’s incredible.
So as I was reading about this relay on the website, I discovered the runners and crew would be coming right through Des Moines and they were always looking for donations of food/meals. As “coincidence” would have it, they stay at a campground one mile south of our house. I couldn’t be on the route to cheer for Heidi in Utah but I could feed her fellow runners and her crew. I cannot imagine what they put their bodies through or what they have sacrificed to be a part of this mission. I can, however, cook. I can give them my Iowa best. So, for the second year in a row, these incredible people took a seat at our table.
We ate family-style with plates of Balsamic-Garlic Crusted Pork Loin, a tray of fresh vegetables and hummus, and bowls of roasted potatoes and cantaloupe with blueberries. When feeding runners, give them protein and good carbs and follow it with a light dessert … strawberry cream puffs.
We ate and listened to their stories …some funny and some frightening. We learned of their connections to MS and why they do what they do. We made new friends. And we prayed for their success and safety. It’s a great cause, led by greater people. I highly recommend that you follow the links above to visit their site and learn more about the group. Who knows…maybe their route runs near you!
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