Running with Passion ... Purpose
It's been said that "motivation is where you find it."
When you relate that to a worldwide endurance sports community like the one XTERRA has established through the years, that could mean “finding it” in a remote lake in the Austrian Alps, on a forest trail in Bend, Oregon, or on the rugged slopes of a dormant volcano in Maui.
Moreover, when you apply that statement to a sport whose very motto is to “Live More” – you’ll find motivation, even inspiration, everywhere.
There is something about the challenge; the drive and commitment it takes to prepare for and conquer mind-and-body bending competitions like a grueling off-road triathlon or trail run, that crystallizes motivation. As a result, with every race XTERRA produces come magnificent stories of everyday people making a difference not only in their own lives, but the lives of others.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems ultimately appropriate to give thanks to those in our community who make us want to be better people. Here are just a few examples from the field of athletes running in the upcoming XTERRA Trail Running World Championship (Kualoa Ranch, Dec. 6).
Cheryl Moore. Moore’s motivation is Lt. Roslyn “Roz” Schulte (pictured), a friend and Air Force co-worker that was killed in Afghanistan this May when her vehicle drove over an IED.
“I worked with Roz here in Hawaii for about a year on a base-wide volunteer project for the National Bone Marrow registry, and she was the first person I knew that was killed in combat and I took it pretty hard,” said Moore. “Over the next several months, whenever I ran, I thought of Roz, and will run the XTERRA half-marathon on Dec. 6 in her memory. She was an amazing, young Air Force officer who sacrificed her life for our country and she will not be forgotten.”
Moore shared the website - www.runningforroz.com – that outlines the Roslyn Shulte Memorial Fund that will create a distinguished leadership award for a female cadet at the Air Force Academy.
David Hanaumi. This 28-year-old from Anaheim, California is racing for “Veterans for Sarcoma” and his friend Kirk Offel who is battling sarcoma in his leg. “I will be wearing one of his team jerseys and will have my brother and sister in law running with me as well. Just trying to spread the word and fight this nasty disease,” said Hanaumi. For more info, visit www.veteransforsarcoma.com.
Devin Rettke. Devine is a 15-year-old with Type 1 diabetes, and he’s running to inspire other kids with diabetes to “dream big.” Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease also known as juvenile diabetes. It is not reversible and there is presently no cure. There are more than 5,000 type 1 diabetics in Hawai'i. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Hawaii Chapter is the beneficiary for XTERRA Trail Run Worlds, and for those interested in taking part but just don't run, there is also an adventure walk (see description at right).
Samantha Blanch. This 19-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 15-years-old, after years of high-level gymnastics and track and field competitions. To correct a 50-degree curve in her spine, doctors inserted two metal rods on either side of her spine. “She could have so easily just given up after the operation,” said her mom Penny. “But after rehabilitating, she was back into athletics and became such a strong runner that she was chosen to represent New Zealand at the World Mountain Running championships in Italy this year. She really is an inspiration to us all.” Samantha is running to prove to herself and everyone else that obstacles can be overcome, and anything is possible.
Ed Fattoumy. Ed is racing to promote the Challenged Athletes Foundation (and event sponsor Paul Mitchell will have a hair cut-a-thon at the race to raise money for the CAF). The 43-year-old Honolulu resident emigrated from Morocco to Hawai‘i 10 years ago and became a physically challenged athlete himself after being hit by a car while riding his bike along Kalanianaole Highway. The accident nearly killed him and left him with spinal cord damage. The effects, similar to that of Spinal Stenosis - a condition due to narrowing of the spinal cord causing nerve pinching which leads to persistent pain in the buttocks, limping, lack of feeling in the lower extremities, and decreased physical activity, hasn’t stopped him from winning the physically challenged division of the grueling XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon three times, but it has made things just a little tougher. His spirit and strength is an inspiration to all who know him.
Nick Kaiser. This 55-year-old astronomer at the University of Hawaii has perhaps the most ambitious professional and personal to-do list on the planet. At work, Kaiser is tasked with saving the world from killer asteroids (seriously, he’s the head of the Pan-STARRS project that discovers asteroids and comets that might collide with Earth) and at play, he’s raced in every major swim, run, and triathlon held in Hawaii this year, including… The HURT 100k, Maui Marathon, Lavaman Triathlon, Honolulu Triathlon, Ironman Honu 70.3 triathlon, Tinman Triathlon, MountainMan Triathlon, Kauai Marathon, Ironman World Championship in Kona, and XTERRA World Championship in Maui. In just a couple weeks he’ll tackle the grueling XTERRA Trail Run Worlds half-marathon, and then a week later will run in the Honolulu Marathon. “I’m an obsessive type. I took up competitive running in 2004 when I realized I was good at distance racing and just wanted to see how far I could take it, and, I hope it will keep me alive longer,” said Kaiser. You know what they say, what doesn’t kill ya…
REMEMBERING MICHELA ROSSI
Michela Rossi (pictured above), a 37-year-old from L'Aquila, Italy, was one of the 283 casualties in the devastating earthquake in central Italy earlier this year. Rossi finished 3rd in her age group at the inaugural XTERRA Trail Running World Championship in Hawaii last December, and went on to race in the Honolulu Marathon the following weekend. She will be missed, but not forgotten.
MEET KC CARLBERG
Kristin “KC” Carlberg, a 46-year-old from Honolulu, races not only to celebrate her own life (she survived Ovarian Cancer) but to lead by example and inspire the countless women she touches each year as the owner of Try Fitness, an organization dedicated to women’s health and fitness. Carlberg (pictured above) puts on the Na Wahine Sprint Triathlon, Hawaii’s largest all-women’s triathlon, and has been racing here in Hawaii for 20 years. She has improved the quality of life for hundreds of women by helping them to realize their physical, emotional and spiritual potential. If you know someone that should meet KC, send them to www.tryfitnesshawaii.com.
MEET LORENN WALKER
This 57-year-old from Waialua has been racing with XTERRA for more than a decade, and has been in the top three of her age group at the XTERRA off-road triathlon World Championship for an unprecedented 11 straight years. A few years back she came into the bike-to-run transition with two of the fingers going in the wrong direction (she had dislocated them in a bike crash at about mile 12). “I was unable to work the break on my bike, but rather than drop out of the race, I chose to carry my bike and run with it," said Walker. After refusing medical attention at the bike-to-run transition Lorenn ran the 6+ miles to finish the race and has been part of XTERRA lore ever since. “Before every race I spend a few minutes getting focused and centered on the moment. I stop to remember the people who are gone from the planet now who touched my life--like my brother Kent who died when I was 12 and Rell Sunn the great Hawaiian surfer who died a few years ago after a long battle with breast cancer."
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