Well here we are. Most of us training for both the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon are in taper mode as race day is just a few weeks away. We're counting down the days, and we're anticipating the excitement of that glorious Sunday morning. I know I've said it before, but I still find it funny that as a kid my buddy Arron would also say, "come on a run with me," but I would just look at him like he's crazy. Over 20 years later, I'm about to run marathon number 4.
Although it baffles me, it also still makes me smile a lot. I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish since I began running, and I'm also proud of all the good we've been able to do for the Mario Lemieux Foundation with each fundraising campaign. I always set the main goal to raise $2500, in hopes that we can exceed that goal. We've done so every year, and this year is no different. We've been able to raise $3615 to date, and I'm still hopeful that we can hit $4000 raised come race day. I'm honored and humbled by everyone's generosity each and every year. I can mainly only say thank you, so....THANK YOU! Over the course of five years, you all have helped raise a total of $17,349! HOLY MOLY! I mean really, HOLY MOLY! (Did I mention HOLY MOLY?) Again, this is outstanding and I could never have done this without any of your help. That is why I say that WE have done this, as a team, because WE DID!
Anyhow, as I've done every year, and will continue to do so as long as I can, I'd like to dedicate my miles on race day. I've seen a lot of sadness posted on Facebook the last few months, as well as years. This one is a rough one but still one that I wish to type. With that being said, here are my 26 miles, with 26 dedications.
Mile 1 - Mrs. Donna Koffler. Normally, I dedicate mile 1 to three people who I will always continue to honor. But this time, I wanted Mrs. K to have mile 1 all to herself. I've been thinking about Mrs. K a lot lately. It's mainly because I wanted to tell her that I met this really awesome chica name Edyta. My family loves her, and of course I do too. I'm 100 percent positive you would as well. She'll also be running her first marathon on the 6th. I know you've watched over me a few times, but don't worry about me this go round. Do me a favor and watch over her. Keep whispering in her ear to keep going, no matter how hard it may get. I know she'll be able to finish, but just in case she needs that extra push, give her a nudge for me, OK? Thank you.
Mile 2 - Lou Majetic and Cy Clark. You guys didn't think I forgot about you, did you? Nope. Always going to dedicate a mile to you. God bless you both.
Mile 3 - Phillip Droulia. Philip, you were just recently called upon and no longer with us. I've only met you once, but I've hung out with your sister many times as I'm very close with her best friend Bonnie. You sister and mom have always spoken very highly of you and are super proud of you. Rest in peace young man, and always be the angel they need to watch over their shoulders.
Mile 4 - Marie "Sue" Bivona. Sue, we all miss you here at BCD Travel, and the news of your passing was something none of us wanted to hear. Thank you for always being you, and thank you for always keeping in touch with everyone after your retirement. We miss you, and we'll always remember you.
Mile 5 - Ken and Joyce Freeman. Mr. Freeman was one of my Scout Masters growing up, and I was friends with his daughter Kim as well. The Freeman's just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently, and I still owe them a card. So for now, happy 50th! Mile 5 is for the both of you.
Mile 6 - The Humboldt Broncos. #sticksoutforhumbolt Most of you have already heard of the tragedy that befell the team. There really is not much more I can say except that I hope the young men that were lost in the accident are resting in peace, as well.
Mile 7 - Alex Homerosky. Alex's brother Matt was a bartender I had met while DJing so many years ago in down town Pittsburgh. I've not seen you in many years Matt, and I'm sorry for the loss of your brother.
Mile 8 - Melissa Jo Rose. I've not met Melissa and just know that she was a friend of my friend Danielle Fitzpatrick. I'm glad that you are in a better place now, and I know my friend misses you. RIP.
Mile 9 - Terry Whitworth. I've not seen you in quite some time either Noelle, and I'm truly sorry for your mom's passing. My condolences to you and your family. RIP.
Mile 10 - Janet Polen. Janet was the mom of another friend from high school. Jim, may your mom rest in peace, also.
Mile 11 - Dolores Yanosick. Dolores' granddaughter Kelly graduated from RMU many "Moons" (see what I did there) ago. I met Kelly and her sorority sisters while DJing at McCoy's place, and still see Kelly often, but usually at a race. Just this past weekend I saw her at the Pirates 5k/10k and she told her dad, "don't let that pink hair pass you up!" She also told me to make sure he wasn't behind me. Kelly is one fast little bugger, though! I'm super proud of her and all her racing accomplishments, and I'd like to dedicate this mile to her late grandmother.
Mile 12 - Robert J. Morrow. Hi Mr. Morrow. I work with your daughter here at BCD Travel. I know you know this, but she's pretty awesome. She's been with BCD way longer than I have, and she's taught me and others a lot. I also know that she misses you very much since your passing. We'll take care of her here for you. RIP, sir.
Mile 13 - Dorothy Egan. Dorthy was my friend Amy's grandma. I don't have to tell anyone who Amy is as everyone has seen plenty pictures of our running group. Never met Amy's grandma but may she RIP.
Mile 14 - Stanley "Butch" Sieracki. My friend Jill and old roommate Adam lost their father recently. I've never met Mr. Sieracki, but this is the best way I can think of to honor him. Watch over us all Butch.
Mile 15 - Justin Tyburski. Justin was the cousin to my roommate's brother in law Chris Zona and and his sister Dr. Elizabeth Zona. RIP Justin.
Mile 16 - Debbie Carasone. Debbie was a friend of my sister Jodi, and the God Mother of my niece Marissa. I did not know her personally, but I know she was near and dear to their hearts. I'm glad you are no longer in paid Debbie. RIP.
|My sister Jodi and Debbie|
Mile 18 - Stanley Frank Konarski "Stush." Stanley was the father of another one of my co-workers, Susan Sullivan. I've know Susan for as long as I've been in travel. I'm truly sorry for the loss of her father. RIP Stush.
Mile 19 - Margaret Oberleitner. Ms. Oberleitner was the grandmother of another friend from high school, Jamie Stiffler Richardson. RIP.
Mile 20 - Marlene Bell. Marlene is the sister to Beverly Goldberg and aunt of Adam F. Goldberg. I LOVE The Goldbergs show on ABC. I love my child hood in the 80s. When I watch the show, I can relate to Adam's character a lot. I'm 3 years older, but it seems like if we grew up in the same area, we'd for sure have hung out. What he did with a video camera growing up, I used to do with my boom box and a tape cassette. Of course he was smart enough to keep everything and come up with a great idea in Hollywood, and I'm just a singer in a cover band (with a full time job so no worries!) Adam's mom reminds me a lot of my mom, just with more swearing (according to TV anyway. I'm the one with the mouth in the family. Just don't tell my mom.) Anyhow I've interacted with both on Twitter, and it's nice to be able to treat them both as they treat their fans: we're all just normal people doing different things in life. Two of the nicest people I have not met, and I know that the loss of Marlene was hard for them based on what I had seen when they talked about her. Marlene gets mile 20. RIP Ms. Bell. (PS - Adam, your mom still needs her blue check mark on Twitter.)
Mile 21 - The RMU Men's Basketball Team and The RMU Cheerleading Team. Thank all of you young folks for doing so much for Jimmy Spagnolo, his sister Lily, and their family. They appreciate all that you have done, and I know those of us that have met Jimmy and his family do as well. You are our future, and you are all doing some great things, with so many more great things in your futures. Thank you. (Photo credits: Lacie Spagnolo)
Mile 22 - Robert Lee Lancaster. Robert was the brother of one of my running coaches, Suzanne Lancaster-Natter. Robert passed away a few years ago as well. Robert, coach has taught me and so many other "newbies" on some of the best ways to not only run, but enjoy ourselves while doing so. She's an endless ball of energy, and always keeps us smiling and going. I wanted to find a way to repay her, so this mile is for you. RIP.
Mile 23 - Tony Bowen Sr. and Garnet Weaverling Tony was the brother of one of my team members, Phyllis Troy. He passed away unexpectedly just recently. My condolences to Phyllis and her family. RIP Tony. Ms. Weaverling was the Aunt of another of my team members, Stephanie Yuhas. I know Stephanie was very close to her aunt. May she too, rest in peace.
Mile 24 - Mildred Weber. Mildred is the grandmother of an SCRR member that I've gotten to chat with a few times, Jessica Curcy. Sbe had recently passed. RIP. While I'm at it, I'd like to add your dad to this mile Jess. I don't know his name but I saw that you posted he had been recently diagnosed with cancer. He gets to share this mile with your grandma.
Mile 25 - My brother Jason. You've had a rough go for a lot of the past 5 -10 years. I know it hasn't been easy. I know we also didn't hang out a lot when you were little. Once I moved on from high school to college, and then to the Navy, I wasn't around as much as I could have, and should have been. But, I've always said you are one of the smartest people I know. You're one of the most artistic. You're also one of the most passionate. You have grown so much in the last two or three years, and more so in the last year. You're headed in the right direction, and no matter how hard it may get, or even how much you may be tempted to swerve from your current course, stay on the path you're on right now. You're doing big things. You're doing great things. I'm proud of you each and every day, and I love ya kid. (Even tough you're gonna be 39, you're still a kid to me.)
|We need to recreate this one!|
There are .2 miles left! We'll leave the last .2 for all my friends and family who will be cheering us all on to the end.
For those of you I may have forgotten, I'm sorry. There will be other races, and I hope to remember you all when the time comes.
With that, let's keep on running Pittsburgh.
The Running Jedi
#26miles26dedications #teamlemieux #runpgh #10yearsrunning
PS - I wanted to do a special dedication to Jimmy and our friend Deanna. If you missed the video, please watch below (and 'til the end.)
PPS - You can still donate to the Mario Lemieux foundation below by clicking the link! Everyone that donates is entered into a drawing for a signed Mario Lemieux Hockey Helmet!
Also be sure to check out the following pages:
I'm Praying For Jimmy Spagnolo:
Wheels, Wings, and Wishes: