Tag: Outreach



18 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

“Not above you, not beneath you but with you!” – Lions Toast

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

Randy installed as President of the Hudson, NH chapter of the Lions.

On July 1 Tracy and I began our one-year terms serving our Hudson NH Lions Club as Secretary and President. Why in the world would we put this additional honor and responsibility to our already busy schedules? Well, many have questioned my sanity for some time but I think the answer is a good one.

We both have been active members because the people who make up our club and most Lions clubs are simply caring, fun, and committed to making a positive difference in their community and towards easing the challenges of blindness. I’m constantly astounded when I hear reports of over 60,000 meals provided to those in need here in our community via the Anne Marie House we support. I’m proud of the benefit we bring to many aspiring college students who receive our annual scholarships. I’m touched with the number of members attending to support physically and fiscally events like Vision weekend, Lions Sight and Hearing, Camp Pride, and so many other community activities and needs. Visit the website and I think you too may be astounded at how much our one club manages. That alone is enough for me to want to lend my efforts as I’m able when they have need of my service and moreso when I consider that we are just one club of thousands. I believe Lions International represents the largest service organization in the world with roughly 1.4 million members.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Recent Lions scholarship recipients are honored. Pictured: Randy Pierce, Autumn, Carolyn Nichols, Anthony Holzhauser, Timothy Campbell and PCC Roger LaTulippe, Scholarship chair.

Despite the strength of the membership locally and beyond, the reality is that maintaining membership and the ability to continue the great work requires people to step up and become fellow members, to volunteer their efforts at an event  and at times to take leadership roles. It is no surprise that as with every organization there are times when it feels like additional work.

There are times when we are tired and times when we disagree. Overall we create and maintain an attitude and atmosphere of support, encouragement and working together to create a team able to accomplish far more than we can do as individuals. We even manage to have a lot of fun along the way whether it’s a Cruise on the Mt. Washington, Cow Pie Bingo at Old Home Days one of the greatest gifts, giving the work or donation which changes a life in need.

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

Old Home Days and Cow Pie Bingo!

As President, this year my motto is “Pride on the Path” for the drive to celebrate the work we do together, the inner community of our club and the journey we choose to take together. As part of my 2020 Vision Quest mission I strive to encourage us all to reach our Peak Potential and yet I realize the moments on our peaks are created by the work we make along the path.

So perhaps you might wish to join us for a meeting and understand more of what we accomplish. Perhaps you may wish to join us as a Lion or perhaps you are one of the many who are already helping us to do the great work or fun moments along the way. I hope you’ll at least consider how many people strive to make a positive impact in many different ways. Consider a well placed thank you to someone making your world better and think what heights we could reach by being part of a team with that in mind.

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4 Jul 15

By Randy Pierce

Fireworks

Happy Independence Day from 2020 Vision Quest!

David Letterman may have retired but we can still have a little summertime fun while reflecting upon the top things 2020 Vision Quest has meant to me. Perhaps you’ll have a different order or a few new items to share with us?

10. “Watching” fireworks on July 4, 2010…
…from atop Mt. Washington on our first hike of our quest!

9. The Peak Potential event of  2012
My Dad died that very morning and I needed all the love and support given to me by our community to get me through that night. We had so much to celebrate from the year and folks helped me do that while barely holding it all together.

8. Our final steps to the summit of Flume for our All-Season 48 finish
This was all the more special as Tracy, John, Quinn, and I shared the moment and those final steps together!

7. Ringing the bell for Oberto’s Hero of Summer at the Tough Mudder in LA!
A slightly selfish moment of appreciation for an accomplishment and experience which only happens when you are willing to truly reach beyond comfort zones with all that you can give to the experience!

6. National Championship at the California International Marathon 
Really? This takes sixth? It might even be lower except the teamwork and pride with Jose elevated the experience tremendously as did Tracy’s finish on the same day.

5. Atop Cannon Mountain for the final peak of my single Winter 48 completion
I still hear “Beautiful Day” playing and the cheers and laughter of a perfect winter day.

4. The Boston Marathon
Not just the finish but the entire experience leading to it, through it, and even the aftermath. I worked very hard for the goal and with a purpose well reported elsewhere. The pinnacle moment for me was cresting Heartbreak Hill but I applaud the entire experience.

3. Quinn’s legacy of achievement, dedication, and devotion
Hard to believe this isn’t number one as the boy is certainly top in my heart always. His impact to 2020 Vision Quest will always be integral to our success.

2. Feeling the steady growth and considerable support of an inspired community of friends old and new
I did not have the vision to fully appreciate how many people and places would find our work resonates so well for them.We’ve accomplished so much together and for me the lesson is clear that it’s always the people who matter the most… and for me pups are people too!

And the #1 aspect of 2020 Vision Quest for me thus far has been:

1. Knowing the positive impact of our school presentations on over 42,000 students and counting!
I never realized how much this part of the quest would positively impact our world and me personally. It is the heart of our entire mission to me. When the work is overwhelming in various ways or other challenges emerge, I always come back to the letters from students and teachers to build my strength and my belief that what we do is worth every bit of effort and more.

The truth is there are so many other worthy moments from learning to ski with Brent Bell, Century bicycle rides, Owl’s Head slide, Mt. Welch, Ms. Autumn’s arrival, and so many more. Hiking with Tedy Bruschi didn’t make this list? Winning an Emmy Award with Willem Lang and Windows to the Wild? What about the release of “Four More Feet” and the incredible friendship of Justin and Dina? Well, that’s why maybe all of you might share a different moment or aspect of what we do. I can tell you that handing a donation to Guiding Eyes and NHAB every year is an important foundation of our mission and one from which I take a great amount of joy as well.

The reality is we are now over half way to the year 2020 from our inception and I could not be prouder of the team and community helping us to reach for and achieve this dream every day. Thank you and Happy Independence Day to all of us celebrating our independence in so many varied ways.

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27 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

I am thrilled to have been invited to provide a TEDx Talk and certainly believe the result is a video well worth watching. I deliver several of the more poignant messages I believe are simply valuable to any of us in our lives. I share a few of the more fun anecdotal demonstrations of those messages and the comfort with which I can present to any audience. The conference theme emphasized “community” while my presentation put its focus primarily upon “Reaching our Peak Potential.”

“…it rocked the entire audience of 130 people. There were farmers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, artists from young to old… Everyone felt that Randy was talking to them. It was a profound experience.”
– Celeste Barr, Beaver Brook Association

I hope all of you reading this are already aware that we provide corporate presentations and keynote addresses. I also hope you will consider sharing this with every appropriate business and organization who might benefit from having us visit. We believe that the success of our charity directly depends on our ability to earn an honorarium to 2020 Vision Quest by providing such presentations. We are confident it’s a great value and significant benefit to those who attend our presentations as well as ensuring the work we do with students will continue. It must all begin with the choice you make to refer us or invite us to such presentation opportunities.

Once you experience our TEDx Talk above and realize how many more messages we will deliver powerfully to each presentation, I hope you won’t delay in helping us with this outreach. It’s simply an idea worth sharing, which is the motto of TED. Given that, I’ll leave you with the mission statement for TED and simply share how very proud and fortunate I feel for being a part of the TEDx community. Thank you to TEDx Amoskeag Millyard and to many others who have believed in the benefit of my presentations. I hope you too will be part of that team.

The TED Talk  Mission: Spread ideas

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

 

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14 Jun 15

By Randy Pierce

Tickets are now available for our Sixth Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction!

When: Saturday, November 14, 2015
Where: Puritan Backroom ConferenceCenter
245 Hooksett Road
Manchester, NH 03104 

Attendees have fun at the Peak Potential 2014!

Attendees having fun at the Peak Potential 2014!

Our Peak Potential Dinner and Auction is so very much more than an incredible celebration, it is the essential event for our achieving a successful year. We have already reached over 42,000 students, donated over 124,00.00 to Guiding Eyes for the Blind and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind while creating a tremendous amount of awareness through our many achievements and accomplishments. The honors and accolades have been incredible and yet the heart of our work is the community we build and share together. This is the time to bring all of you together to celebrate and support our vision!

So save the date, or better still, purchase your ticket(s) or table right away! It’s so easy to put this aside for a bit where it might be forgotten, but it’s so beneficial to us and you to make that choice right now! In fact, purchasing a table from now until August 14 will get you the absolute lowest price for a table/ticket and help ensure our event success. Our sponsors and auction donors are treasured partners we continue to grow and they are always encouraged by our history of selling out, the sooner the better!

Last year's Peak Potential staff

Peak Potential staff 2014. This year, friends both new and old join our Peak Potential staff!

My dear and cherished friend Kim Kett-Johnson shared her experience at last year’s event on our blog: Paying it Forward. What should you expect of your experience this year? We’ve grown our team of event volunteers, changed to an exciting new venue and I have personally taken on the role of coordinating this event. It will as always be a fun and festive environment which provides a night out amongst like-minded friends from many different aspects of supporting the 2020 Vision Quest. With the full venue entirely for our use and filled with such a community of support, we’ll ensure the thousands of hours given annually to our cause continue to change the world around us in positive and powerful ways.

Beautiful art at Peak Potential 2013 silent auction

Our silent auction items are some of our biggest draws.

The Peak Potential team has already begun to collect auction items that are the central feature of this event. Last year we had spirited live and silent auctions at the event, which we plan to continue as it generated some fantastic activity. We look forward to posting all the amazing items donated by local individuals and businesses on Facebook for you all to preview before the event.

As always, if you or a connection of yours might be interested in donating to our auction, we would love to hear from you! Email Sarah Toney.

Whether you are part of our often-returning community or new to the Peak Potential event, we will do everything we can to ensure you the best experience possible. If you are unable to join us for the evening, there are still so many things you can do to help ensure our success. Whether connecting us to a sponsor or donor directly or sharing the opportunity of this event and/or our charity, you can be  an essential part of our progress forward.

I welcome and encourage any and all questions, comments and feedback. Thank you for all the incredible support in the past and I hope we continue to earn your support going forward while providing the opportunity to celebrate great community and an ever growing list of accomplishments we achieve together.

Randy Pierce
President of 2020 Vision Quest

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30 May 15

Introduction from Randy:

There are so many great organizatons who make choices to have a positive difference. As blindness arrived unexpectedly to my life so too did the realization of how many  positive connections it would help create. Such people and groups rarely receive enough attention for their kindness and choices. I hope to help a little this week and I think you too may be moved and maybe even help them along the path…

****

On a cold winter night in 1873, Anna Boyd Ellington, Mary Comfort Leonard, and Eva Webb Dodd created their “club of mutual helpfulness”. This club has grown to an organization of more than 200,000 members, including this one, dedicated to fulfilling Anna, Mary, and Eva’s original motto to “Do Good”.

Around 60 years later, the idea of doing good took on a new form when Ruth Billow, a Delta Gamma who was blind, asked our membership to adopt sight conservation and aide to the blind as our international philanthropy. Many things about Delta Gamma have changed over the years, but our dedication to Service for Sight has not.

I began to take our philanthropy to heart while I was a collegian at DePauw, and even more so now in my career as Development Specialist for the Delta Gamma Foundation, where I am fortunate enough to work with several amazing groups every day.

The Delta Gamma Foundation is extremely proud of the partnerships we have been able to create with both the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI). This year, Delta Gamma sponsored two marathon experiences for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through these organizations.

These partnerships have allowed me to meet some outstanding people, both Delta Gammas and non-Delta Gammas. One such non-Delta Gamma is Randy Pierce, who I first met in Sacramento for the National Marathon Championships and saw again in Boston this spring.

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon.

Our partnership with USABA also provided the opportunity for a Delta Gamma alumna, Vaungaylyn, to run in the marathon as a sighted guide for a U.S. Navy Veteran. Vaungaylyn registered her run through the Delta Gamma Foundation’s Anchor Run for the Blind program, which allows Delta Gammas to raise funds for veterans with visual impairments through fundraising runs all across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to sponsorship support, Delta Gammas provided more than 100 hours of service for the USABA’s National Marathon Championships in December, and more than 200 for MABVI’s Team With A Vision in Boston.

Not only do our members strive to “Do Good” by providing service, but they also raise awareness and funds through the Delta Gamma Foundation. Last year, we provided more than $200,000 dollars to 32 organizations all over the U.S. and Canada that aid the blind or visually impaired.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura
O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston.

Through these marathons, Delta Gammas have been able to establish meaningful, continuous service opportunities to aid the blind or visually impaired communities in their areas. I’ve also learned a lot along these journeys, too. I’ve learned about being brave, and trusting others. I’ve learned that something as small as serving a family dinner or walking new friends back from a pizza party can make a big difference for them, and for you.

We receive a lot of thanks for participating as sponsors and volunteers throughout the weekend, but really we should be thanking the athletes and organizations with which we work. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and serve such inspiring athletes. Thank you for showing us that disability does not mean inability. Thank you for showing us that you can have vision without sight. Thank you for inspiring and motivating us to “Do Good”.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist
Delta Gamma Foundation

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10 May 15

By Randy Pierce

Save the Date: Saturday, November 14, 2015
New Venue: Puritan Conference Center, Manchester NH

The Sixth Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction is a gala event which is the largest yearly fundraiser to support the work of 2020 Vision Quest. After five fantastic years at the Derryfield, we are moving just a few miles away to a venue which will better meet the needs of our ever growing event. We’ll be keeping all the same best aspects of our event, but we’ll have more space and exclusive access to the venue which increases our ability to make it even better.

I am confident the additions to our volunteer staff, the venue change, and an incredibly exciting year of accomplishments could make this the best event yet. We need you, our incredibly supportive community, to continue to help us grow and strengthen this most important event. Save the date and return to our website for more information coming very soon!

Randy Pierce
Founder and President of 2020 Vision Quest

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5 May 15

By Randy Pierce

Randy and Christine powering through the second half of the Marathon.

On Saturday, June 6 at 10 a.m. our team will begin to gather for the 12th annual “Walk for Sight.” I’ve walked the short 3k route  every time and yet still no sight…*but*… I have a host of memories of people, pups and experiences while we’ve raised funds for both NHAB and 2020 Vision Quest at the same time.

It’s an inexpensive way to spend part of the day and I very much hope to spend it with you. Just one month left to join the team and fund raise means we are behind as Tough Mudders, marathons, and mayhem have kept me over-busy. I do hope, you’ll help pick me up anyhow and join our team or support me directly or perhaps support one of the other walkers on our team.

I’m not asking you to run a marathon or run at all! I’m not at risk to lose my tail this year and happily neither is Autumn *but* we are at risk of not achieving the success which is so essential to us without your help. So please don’t delay: join us for a low-cost family friendly event.

Whether you raise money as a walker, sponsor a walker, or simply join in the experience, every little bit helps. Thank you for the 11 years of past support in various ways and I hope to see you June 6!

Randy, Greg, and Christine after a successful finish!

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2 May 15

By Greg Neault

Greg and Laura starting out their blind race.

Greg and Laura celebrating their blind race.

“I once was blind, but now I see.” How many times have these words crossed my eyes and ears? But never before have they elicited the response from me that they do now.

Saturday morning found me waking early with a 5k to run at 8am. Not an entirely unusual activity for me on a weekend in the warmer months. But this race was different.

This race I ran blindfolded and remained blindfolded for 6 hours past the finish line. One might say, “Why would you want to run blindfolded?” A legitimate question, for sure.

For one, it was a fundraising event. We were raising much needed revenue for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, helping them to continue their work assisting people to make a successful transition into a life affected by vision loss. The race offered a challenge and a new experience, which I always enjoy. But prime among my motivations for embarking on such an endeavor was to gain perspective.

For three years I have been guiding Randy Pierce through hikes, road races, and obstacle courses. This race provided me with an opportunity to experience life on the other end of the guide/guided relationship. I had high hopes that it would teach me some things about the way I guide and the way Randy experiences that guiding, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I walked into it with preconceived notions as to what the difficulties would be. It was a very large 5k, 10,000 runners strong, in an urban environment with lots of background noise to challenge communications with my guide. I have no experience running blind, and was unaware of how my balance and sense of direction would fare without my eyes to aid them. My confidence level was also a concern. Would I be hesitant to run at a normal pace without my sight?

Greg and Laura run through the streets.

Greg and Laura make great progress.

Race day brought surprising results. The weather was nice, the crowd energetic, the runners forgiving of my missteps and my guide more than able. Only a few noise disruptions to otherwise fluid communication and very successful and respectable 9:45 pace over 3.1 miles.

As welcome as those surprises were, there were some not so welcome, but equally surprising nuances to my adventure. Our post-race activities included a walk around Boston Common, lunch at the Beer Works, gelato in Boston’s famed North End and a subway trip back to our parked car.

Having transitioned from Laura (my race guide) to Loren (my post-race guide), we met with some adversity. Loren had little experience navigating the streets of Boston. Though I have been known to wander Boston somewhat regularly, I had no experience navigating blind. Randy has provided me with direction on numerous occasions, but his path finding is based more around distance, number of blocks traveled and street names. My typical navigation is focused more, as you might guess, on visual landmarks. Unable to see these landmarks, I was forced to describe them to Loren and subject to her interpretation of my articulations. Some missed cues as to our current location led to some frustrations when my directions proved unfruitful after two attempts.

Lunch brought some new challenges as well. Some condescension from our waitress when I misspoke my beer selection coupled with my previously accrued navigation frustrations led to a curt response from me. Fortunately I was blindfolded, so my looks were unable to kill!

One lesson learned over lunch was the utility of a same-sex guide. The public restroom can be a scary place when you’re on your own! I’ve frequented the Beer Works for years, so I’m fairly familiar with the layout of the restroom. That didn’t stop me from spending a few minutes trying to find the hand dryer, imagining all the while the look on the face of the next patron to walk in and discover me blindfolded and scouring the walls with my hands.

My experience with the Blindfolded Challenge was enlightening in many ways. My theories about impending struggles were way off base, and challenges arose where I thought smooth sailing would prevail. When I look back at our recent California Tough Mudder trip, I think of all the focus I placed on the event. In retrospect, I see more obstacles and challenge in the travel, the airport, and the commute than I do in the mud, the hills, and the walls.

Group shot of the runners.

The runners together! Building trust is a key lesson of the day.

The next epiphany was that of trust. The first time I put the blindfold on and WALKED around a track, I questioned my ability to run the race. It was awkward, I felt unstable, and I was more than a bit nervous for myself, my guide, and the general public! I felt unsure as we navigated a track with scant few others using it. How was I going to fare on a street course with 10,000 other runners?! Taking into consideration that I had the benefit of seeing the track immediately before running it, I’m in awe of Randy yet again. The miles of mud, rocks, roots, and potholes of our past endeavors jump out at me and my chest gets a little tight just thinking about it. I watched Randy put his trust in Loren and Sky, whom he had never met previous to our Tough Mudder adventure, which was in a much more technical landscape than my flat track in a quiet park! The level of trust necessary to commit your well being to the discretion of another cannot be overstated. That Randy has entrusted himself to me on so many occasions, whether it be guiding him myself or in trusting that others that I have brought into the fold are quality people that will have his best interests at heart, is one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.

The last, and maybe the most profound takeaway of this experience was the last. After six and a half hours under the blindfold, after running, walking, eating, drinking, navigating restrooms and subways, it was time to call it quits. I removed the blindfold and returned to the ranks of the visually able. When I pulled back the blindfold, there was sensory overload. Bright light, cars, people. Accompanying that rush of visual stimuli was a large sense of relief. I could see again. All the difficulty and frustration left behind with the return to the visual world. Then, just as profound a revelation: the realization that I was experiencing a moment of relief that will never come for those experiencing actual vision loss.

I once was blind to the realities of life with vision loss, but now I see that I once knew very little and now know a small portion of that experience. Life is learning and I’m on the path.

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28 Mar 15

By Randy Pierce

I’ve recently been awarded several meaningful honors which inspired me to share the celebration ceremonies. It also gave me pause to reflect upon the significance of receiving honorifics.

First my alma mater, the University of New Hampshire, selected me for  the 2014 Excellence for Outstanding Service Award. The Awards Ceremony and Dinner will be held:

Friday, April 24, 2015, 5:30 p.m.
Huddleston Hall Ballroom
105 Main Street
Durham, NH

I understand tickets for the event may still be obtained. There are an incredible number of outstanding alumni and to receive this award is a credit to the work of the 2020 Vision Quest team and the success of our efforts at making a very positive impact in our world. I’m exceedingly proud and honored that UNH would also choose to acknowledge these achievements.

New Hampshire Magazine placed us in their list of significant leaders in New Hampshire with their “It List.” A photo of Quinn and me making the classic approach to the summit of Monroe was a prominent image as they suggested we belonged in this august company. The truth is the team of Quinn and me started it, but it is the work of a team and community which has enabled us to accomplish so much here in NH and well beyond.

On May 16 I will receive the 2015 District 45 Toastmaster International Communication and Leadership Award. This is yet another tremendous honor spanning several states and Canadian provinces. It suggests the success of our 2020 Vision Quest efforts to lead by example and that our presentations have drawn significant positive recognition. From an international organization emphasizing communication and leadership, this reinforces our determination to provide this core part of our mission as diversely as possible.

I’m definitely increasing in my drive to ensure our presentations are available to students, corporations, and communities. If you have heard us and want to suggest us to any of these groups, I encourage you to share our homepage and the presentations option included there. I think it’s clear the results are overwhelmingly appreciated and I only hope we have the opportunity to share the messages with more people still. Thank you for myself and for the team of 2020 vision Quest who continue to make all this possible.

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20 Mar 15

By Randy Pierce

Hopkinton Welcome Sign“Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”
– George Sheeh

Monday, April 20, 2015:
119th Annual Boston Marathon
Randy Pierce, Bib: 25485

For me, Boston’s legend is due to a pair of powerful points worthy of the iconic label. Firstly, it brings together an unrivaled community of support well beyond the throngs gathering along the entirety of the 26.2 mile route. Secondly, it draws and encourages the most inspirational meanings well beyond the running accomplishments as the motivation for so many of the runners. Spend a little time exploring any Boston Marathon and you will likely come away overwhelmed by the compassion and determination of the human spirit.

Randy and Quinn run the BAA 5k in 2013My own Boston Marathon journey began in awe of the incredible positive community aspects highlighted for me in 2013 as well as the spirit of an incredible canine, my Mighty Quinn. If you’ve never read Qualifying for Quinn, I strongly encourage you to visit my motivation and the story of how I came to qualify for Boston.

There are two ways to run the Boston Marathon:

1) Fairly rigorous time qualification
2) Run for a sanctioned charity as a fundraiser

I am fortunate in having a more lenient time requirement due to my blindness, and yet I’m running with and for a cause incredibly dear to my heart. I’m running to honor the legacy of the Mighty Quinn. He touched the lives of so many in his incredible life and our #Miles4Quinn welcomes any and all support. If you are unable to enjoy some healthy miles in his honor, perhaps you’ll consider supporting my effort with a donation to the charity to which I’ve dedicated so much of my efforts:

Click here to donate to 2020 Vision Quest in honor of Quinn and Randy’s Boston Marathon efforts!  

Whether you log #Miles4Quinn or donate to 2020 Vision Quest, you could always support us along the route and be part of an incredible experience. The more people who learn about us, the better we can reach our goals and the stronger I will be for Marathon Monday.

Do you want to experience the race course virtually with a little history and fun worked into the mix? The Boston Athletic Association has prepared an excellent video tour!

I’ve joined “Team with a Vision” which brings together an incredible community of blind athletes from all over the world. While I fund raise primarily for 2020 Vision Quest, I embrace their mission and offer my fundraising page for them as an alternative for those who so choose:

Donate to Randy’s “Team with a Vision” page

Randy and his friend and coach, GregOn Monday, April 20 at 6:00  a.m., I’ll climb onto the Gate City Striders bus with Greg Hallerman, my good friend, running coach, and most frequent run guide, as well as 10-time Boston Marathon participant. Since my qualifying for Boston, his friendship and tutelage have brought me to win the B1 (Total blindness) National Marathon Championship as well as build a foundation of knowledge and appreciation for running. He’ll be with me throughout the race, choosing to give of his own race approach to share the experience together and help make the experience all the more fantastic.

Once at the Marathon start I’ll connect with the husband and wife team of Pete and Christine Houde. They will be my guides. While I only have one active guide at any time on the course, we are still finalizing the strategy for how we will approach this race. Christine was my first run guide after Quinn’s death and we trained during a snowstorm on our first run. (Rather strong foreshadowing of the season ahead.)

Randy and Christine running in the snowBoth fellow Lions, we met through mutual friends and quickly came to appreciate the friendship. Last year Christine ran her first Boston Marathon for a charity cause and at her fundraiser we announced the plan to run together for Boston. The mental work involved in guiding for a Marathon is tremendous and as our training time has been limited by a difficult winter and their long-distance commute, we opted to add Pete to the team and share the teamwork of guides. Both completed the Chicago Marathon earlier this year and each will have a vital role in my Boston Marathon experience. Any blind runner will tell you that the sacrifice of a guide is tremendous. They must run strong enough at my pace to give me all the necessary information to keep both of us safe on a crowded course.

Pete, Christine, Randy, and TracyIf I’m being true to the full measure of that team, I have to include my wonderful wife Tracy. Whether helping to drive me to training rendezvous points, joining me at a treadmill, or the many other aspects of support, she has helped enable this goal to become reality. She has given of herself in so many ways that I will always be foremost grateful to her in this entire process. After all, it’s that feeling of community which I said was part of setting Boston apart.

So now you’ve met my primary team of Greg, Pete, Christine, and Tracy!

At roughly 11:15, we’ll join Wave 4, Corral 2 in the surge down the hill in Hopkinton, Mass. As I run, I’ll carry recollections of every encouraging word and the people providing them. I’ll have to dig deep for inspiration and motivation many times, but my team of friends and community of support has already exceeded what I ever would have imagined when this all began. Boston’s historic course will have more than enough challenge to ensure I need all of that and a great deal of personal determination as well.

When I cross the finish line, hands held triumphantly high with my guides, I’ll likely have tears of joy, exhaustion, jubilation, and just a bit more. I’ll know that my year of tribute to Quinn will be a very hard earned and very rewarding message of dedication. I’ll be part of something truly epic and proud to have connected with such an intense community experience. I’ll be grateful to so many–some from here, some I have yet to even meet. It will only be one experience on a list of many past, present and future. Like the year of work leading up to it, it will forever be a part of who I am. Experiences change our lives and this one is tremendously so.

So this year on Patriots Day, maybe you’ll come visit the course and cheer on me, my guides, or the thousands of incredible stories passing along the course. Maybe you’ll make a donation to support 2020 Vision Quest, maybe you’ll log some #Miles4Quinn, share our story or just follow on line… or perhaps create your own unique adventure. As a sign I had read to me by my guide Meredith on the Bay State Marathon course suggests: “It isn’t everyday you get to do something epic!” Be a part of this experience with us or make your own but put a little epic in your life and be happier for it.

Boston strong!

Boston Marathon 2015 logo

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