Yesterday was such an incredible day. We started the day with a 20 mile run from Saint Marc. The first few hours in the dark were tough for me, it was hot and I was tired and sore. As the sun came up and we got closer to Guilbert, scenery of mountains and blue ocean waters had me in awe of this beautiful country that I have the privilege of experiencing on foot. God sure did some fine work when he created Haiti and every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to be here!
After the day’s run, we all loaded onto the bus to visit Menelas where we would get the chance to meet the family members that this run is all about. And wow, what an impact those few hours would have on me. As I got off the bus, I was greeted with hugs, handshakes, and smiles. It was a party and I was overcome with emotion as I could see and feel how grateful they are that we are running for them. I suddenly forgot about the pain and fatigue that I had been feeling earlier in the day and was able to look into the eyes of the people I am running for. It was the refresh and reminder I needed before heading into the last miles of this run. As we were loading back onto the bus for our next stop, Viv called Cam and me over and told us that the child we 1:1 sponsor had just gotten there and we would be able to meet him. Carlo and his dad walked over and it was one of the best experiences to get to embrace this little boy for the first time after a year and a half of getting to know him through letters. He was shy and did not want to say much but his dad hugged me tightly and said to me, “Thank you for what you are doing for my family. You are making a difference for us.”
This is why I run. This is why I fundraise. It’s not about how many miles I can run, it’s about how many people can be impacted because of the run. It’s about showcasing the beauty of Haiti and its people. So now, it’s time to get out there and finish strong!
Haiti is beautiful. Today I was finally able to get out there to run, and I had so much fun! My first scheduled relay day on Run Day 2, I was pulled from the course because of getting sick multiple times. Probably something I ate, not really sure, but I do know it was an experience I would not like to have again. After 2 days of barely eating and lots of rehydrating, I decided I was going to get back out there today to see if I could rally some strength to get the day completed.
We had a delay in starting this morning which meant we would be in the sun a lot more. But God was watching out for us and we got hours of cloud coverage and some slight rain to keep us a little cooler. I started with a group of 4 which grew to 6 and we were able to crush through the first 30k together. This group of runners was definitely needed for me to get through my first market experience running into Saint Marc a little after 20k in. Motos, cars, trucks, and people were everywhere, none of which paying any attention to us or where we were running. I took the approach to follow behind some others because I was distracted and becoming mentally exhausted knowing where to go.
Once through the market, we started to spread out a bit and I ended up running the last few hours pretty much by myself. We got back into the countryside of Saint Marc and I was able to interact with many locals as we shared “Bonjours” and kids would run beside me for a few minutes at a time yelling “blanco”. By this time, the sun was out and I was starting to get tired so the encouragement was very much welcomed! Most people were happy to see me running by, greeting me with cheers and high fives. There were also a handful of others would yell at me or motos would try to run me off the road. These were the moments when I would focus on the views over rice fields of mountains or water and remind myself that this run is about showcasing the beauty of Haiti, not my discomforts of running through a foreign town. I love sharing smiles and short greetings with the locals while running. And I am so thankful for the hard work our crew puts in to get us to the finish line.
I was so happy to get to that finish line and be greeted by my team and a group of students from the local school. Today was great, and I am so happy to be here for the people of Haiti.