Barefoot Rick's Surf City Marathon Report - February 3, 2008

Most certainly, I had been looking forward to Surf City Marathon weekend since registering for the event in early January. Not only was I going to run a marathon in beautiful, sunny Southern California, but I would have the opportunity to meet all the fabulous people with Free Wheelchair Mission (FWCM) and the Run for Mobility. (Did I say "sunny"? We'll revisit that statement in a moment.) Ever since receiving my first email from those involved with the mission back in November, my heart has been moved and stirred for the tens of thousands that FWCM is reaching with free wheelchairs. I jumped at the chance to join them in Huntington Beach for the event and did my best to raise funds and awareness for this awesome organization.

I usually run "light" the week before a marathon, so on the Tuesday before the marathon, I went for a run in our wintry conditions here in the Kansas City area. It was a usual lunchtime run with nothing particularly different from many others. After returning to work and sitting at my computer for a while, I stood up and experienced severe pain behind my right knee. I could barely walk! I nursed it for the next few days, only running a mile a day just to calibrate how it was healing. It didn't look promising for Sunday's marathon. I could run, but albeit SLOWLY. I felt confident that I could run and finish, but it would be a slow one.

   
(Left) - Expo Speakers Schedule (Right) - Barefoot Ken Bob and Barefoot Larry

Limping through airports on Friday (connecting in Salt Lake City) I arrived in Long Beach late that evening. The next morning, I did a one miler on Sunset Beach and it was okay, but still hurting. I was scheduled to speak at noon at the expo, so I picked up Ken Bob Saxton and we made our way to the festivities. After picking up my packet, we were joined by a few others including Barefoot Larry who had come out to hear my talk on barefoot running. We all hung out for a while after the speaking gig. I meandered around the expo and spent a good amount of time talking to our guest speaker for the FWCM banquet that evening, NFL quarterback Jay Schroeder. Afterwards, I went back to the hotel to get ready for the FWCM banquet that evening.

   

The banquet was everything and more that I expected. John Sexton who introduced me to FWCM and Run for Mobility greeted me. He and his fiancÚ, Michelle, were gracious hosts to me that evening, allowing me to sit at their head table. It was fantastic meeting Bret Trowbridge, Ashley Herron, and especially Don Schoendorfer -- the man with the vision that started FWCM. I'm sure I am forgetting others but there were just so many wonderful people with a heart for the crippled of this world. Listening to Jay give his talk was great. He touched our hearts with his love for Jesus and the mission. In my opinion, the best parts were watching the videos of those who literally crawled sometimes miles to receive a wheelchair, and the joy, gratitude, and restored dignity in their faces as they sat in their new wheelchair. (What a fantastic thing to totally change someone's life for $48.35!). Then, it was equally wonderful watching people raise their hands making pledges to provide wheelchairs to change peoples lives! Praise God!

   
(Left) - Jay Schroeder and BR (Right) - Ashley Herron


John Sexton and Michelle

   
(Left) - Don Schoendorfer and Brett Trowbridge (Right) Me and Don   

I slipped out after the banquet ended about 8:15 p.m. and headed back to my hotel to put some ice on my knee and to get a good night sleep. I woke up about 4:30 and looking outside it was raining. No matter, I thought. I love running in the rain! Ken Bob came over to the hotel from his condo across the street and we drove to the race start in Huntington Beach. The wind had picked up tremendously and we headed to the start line with our respective poncho/trash bags to keep some of the driving rain off of us. The wind was relentless, coming in from the ocean at about 30 to 35 mph and temps in the high 40s -- low 50s. One SOCAL guy told me "Yeah, this is about as bad as it gets down here in paradise!" As I mentioned before, it was not a beautiful sunny day.

As we started through the chute, I saw John Sexton running along the sidelines asking how was my leg? I told him it was okay and that I was just going to take it slow. The first few miles went back into some residential areas and some park trails which were somewhat protected from the frontal assault of the ocean wind. Once we got to mile 7 or so, it was all along the Pacific Coast Highway and on the bike trail that parallels it. I saw Barefoot Ken Bob a few times (he stayed about 10 to 15 minutes ahead of me throughout the course), Barefoot Larry, Barefoot Michae among others. In the attempt to make this as brief as possible, I will just say that I stuck to my game plan of running slow. I usually run an 8.5 minute pace. This day, I averaged a 10:54 minute pace! Regardless of my time, I was determined not to walk but to just keep on running. "Inch by inch it's a cinch". I was encouraging myself along the way as I have encouraged so many others in past marathons.

By mile 16, the rain and wind had dissipated somewhat, however it would blow in waves of rain from time to time throughout the remaining of the course. I was most happy to see the finish line and I didn't care that I was going to run a 4 hour, 45 minute marathon. Although it was my personal slowest, I still finished in one piece and was very grateful to be able to run when so many others in the world are only able to crawl! I feel so humbled after an event like this knowing that those of us "running for mobility" who either run, walk, or crawl across the finish line are making a such a huge difference for others.

My goal is to raise $10,000 this year for FWCM. At this writing, I have raised $1400. If you would like to change a life, please go to my donation page HERE! God bless!

Factoids:

Finish Time - 4:45:27
52nd Marathon
34th Consecutive Barefoot Marathon Since April 2004
Slowest Marathon to date
*Ran the entire distance

*I am a marathon runner and do not prescribe to a run/walk method for MY marathons. Likewise, I do not judge anyone else for "finishing" a marathon in whatever way they can propel themselves across the finish line, whether it be walking, crawling, etc. All marathon finishes are notable in their own regard.

 

Bib:   1003
Name:   Rick Roeber
Gender:   M
Age:   52
Hometown:   Lees Summit MO
Place Overall:   701   out of   1069
Men:   478   out of   660
M 50-54:   52   out of   80
AgeGrade:   49.72%   Place:  637
FINISH:   4:45:27   pace:   10:54
3 Mile:   30:23   pace:   10:08
6 Mile:   1:01:50   pace:   10:19
12 Mile:   2:04:16   pace:   10:22
20 Mile:   3:33:34   pace:   10:41
Chip Time:   4:45:27  
Gun Time:   4:46:54  

 

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