A wide shot of the Andes Mountains with a snow covered Mt. Ausangate in the center. The 2020 team of eleven are hiking in the foreground on a beautiful day.

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Ominous realities loom large as Boston Marathon approaches
09 Apr
By 2020
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By Randy Pierce

Randy and Jose running and determined

Jose and Randy are determined!

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most of us will face times in our lives which challenge us to our very core. Sometimes this is of our own making and sometimes it is part of the world in which we live. I am embroiled in one of my more difficult medical challenges and the impact upon me physically, mentally and emotionally has been tremendous.

I’ve been asked when I’ll cancel my Boston Marathon participation and I understand the question as well as the intent behind it. The real answer is not yet, and hopefully not at all, which I suspect may cause those who do not truly know me to take umbrage with that response. I think those who know me–which includes my supportive wife Tracy and my Boston Marathon guide Jose–will understand I do not make any of those decisions without thorough investigation, competent advice and reasonable evaluation.

Another blog here talks about my medical situation, and the reality is that it will not be resolved in the short term and I will not be entirely healthy while undertaking the Boston Marathon this year. I have had to choose to forego much of the final weeks of training to properly tend the medical concerns and that means I’m unwell and insufficiently prepared to accomplish the Marathon in a traditional approach.

My doctors are very clear that the running will not put me at any increased detriment for my condition, and in fact they suggested exactly the opposite–that the perseverance, drive, and determination which have been my hallmark will be part of how this helps me overcome the present challenges. That confidence and the caring support of so many around me are a significant part of my decision to continue with the plan to run the Marathon unless something significant suggests that would be wrong.

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan

This Marathon won’t be about trying to match last year’s time of 3:50:37, but rather something more powerful. It will be in part a celebration with my cherished friend Jose Acevedo for all that we’ve accomplished together. It will be a celebration of the most iconic Marathon. It will celebrate friendship, community, perseverance, and determination which we’ve each needed in our lives.

It will be all the more epic for all the setbacks and challenges that could have easily let us choose to not line up together in Hopkinton. There were many times that choosing to not run seemed likely or appropriate and we kept a calm focus that this would be acceptable, supporting each other no matter what. We remain equally committed to giving each other support and encouragement to keep the hope and potential present, as often as possible and for as long as we can.

Now that will pay dividends as it seems likely we have the opportunity to overcome all the adversity and savor one of life’s most rewarding experiences: the opportunity to be involved in a meaningful experience together.

I hope you’ll find a way to help be part of our team on that day and beyond.

9 responses to “Ominous realities loom large as Boston Marathon approaches”

  1. Melissa Caruso says:

    Those of us who know you do indeed know it takes a lot more than a medical apocalypse to stop you from doing something you set out to do. I’m so glad (but not surprised) you and Jose are sticking with this. We’ll be cheering you on!

  2. Cathy says:

    I love this quote- “It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan
    That little voice can be loud at times, I know that conquering it is life changing! I know you have the mental strength to push past it, I will be roaring for you in spirit at the spot I was at last year. Sorry I can’t be there physically but know that I am there still! Roars to you!!

  3. Jim Caron says:

    Obviously you have been listening to that dude Randy Pierce. He never knows when to quit.

    Seriously though, we’re wishing you the best as you work your way through this, your latest challenge. No doubt, you’ll get some great stories out of it! Excelsior!

  4. Joel Lemieux says:

    It is a rare thing to know someone inspiring. Randy, that is the word that I use when I have the chance to tell people about 2020. My family will be there next Monday to cheer you and Jose through mile 12! And we’ll be waiting to get the news about the rest of the race. I hope the collective well wishes of all of your supporters makes the miles flow by. Jose, we will be on the left as you get to Natick Center!

  5. Debbie says:

    Everyone will always beat me to saying the cool things… That Pierce guy, he doesn’t stop, even when he sits.

    You don’t have to cancel and you don’t have to run either. Unless you can run mostly safely. Accidents can happen to anyone, people forget that.

    “Go Dog Go” – Eastman… New meaning for you and yours/ours. Smiley face here.

    Love and zen hugs


  6. Teresa says:

    Anyone who runs a marathon at all is a special kind of crazy in my opinion–in a mostly positive way involving more determination than most of us have. As someone who knows you pretty well, I’m not surprised your own particular brand of positive madness makes you want to rise to the challenge. If you think you run it safely–or as safely as anyone else might 🙂 –know we’ll be rooting for you. If you decide at the last minute it’s not a good idea this year, we’ll STILL be rooting for you.

  7. Keri Siciliano says:

    God speed Randy. Your perseverance and strength are honestly inspirational. Wishing you well.

  8. Randy says:

    Positive forwards steps in the right direction! So yesterday afternoon at Mass General Hospital I had my second epidural blood patch and it seems to have taken well. I was allowed to go home and arrived late enough to just enjoy a quick and quality night’s sleep in my own bed! This morning the signs are all positive and after a low key day today (by plan anyhow!) we should know whether the issue with my “Leaky spinal cord’ is resolved. That’s the major obstacle on the journey to Boston though we’ll have plenty of other interesting aspect sto the journey. Thanks all for the kind encouragement – it’s looking positive and I’ll keep striding forward!

  9. Randy says:

    Sharing from my facebook post this morning:

    The morning after – no regrets, proud, weary, appreciative and sharing some candid perspectives. I did not run the Boston Marathon yesterday, I ran it last year with a 3:50:37 time. Yesterday I did something considerably harder in large part to the matched support, determination, care and communication with my most excellent friend and guide, Jose Acevedo. We crossed the finish which I truly didn’t expect was likely and we did it needing somewhere around 6 hours and 18 minutes. The medical challenges of the last two months have changed my overall health significantly and they caused me to do absolutely no training for he final five weeks before the Marathon. With my body thus very much unprepared and with the additional challenges, why in the world would I still choose to run? I had three full episodes of passing out along the route though we knew that was a possibility and had a plan for how to handle each of them. The Doctors were on board as I wrote in the blog last week and we knew it would be very unlikely to cause me additional long term detriment. What is necessary though is this needs to be my last “endurance” event until we can either resolve some of the medical realities or creatively find appropriate ways to manage them. Just as in my nearly two years in the wheelchair, just as in the early days of my total blindness; there is a need to address the situation as best possible. Yesterday was brutal, maybe moreso than any other challenge given all the factors but it was a prize with tremendous meaning for me and seemingly for many who expressed such kindness and support. I’m not going away anytime soon nor will I cease to work towards many meaningful and worthy goals personally, with 2020 Vision Quest, NHAB, Lions and well beyond. I will ensure I do so with the forward thinking approach necessary for the serious nature of all aspects of my present life. thank you for more support than I could ever imagine possible – especially to Jose and Tracy who were both essential in this even being a potential nevermind the reality which we made it by working together.

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