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Just wanted to touch base with you and let you know a little bit about how things came out over the weekend with the big race. The experience itself was incredible although a little bittersweet for me in that I did not make my 2hr and 15min time frame. Sitrin Healthcare has opted to award me the racing wheelchair anyway for hanging in there and going the 9.3 mile distance in my standard wheelchair. There was so much motivation along the way I can’t even begin to describe to you the whole story but the following contains some of the highlights:
Mile Marker 1: The local Shriner band struck up two verses of the Marine Corps Hymn. (First time I have ever failed to come to attention and face the music. Sorry Chesty I had a race to run I hope you understand)
Mile Marker 1.5: A Gunnery Sgt. whom I have never met before in my life passed me and handed me his challenge coin.
Mile Marker 3: a young man about age 8 joined me in his wheelchair to run alongside me and shout words of encouragement.
Mile Marker 7: An entire group of people from a local bank decided to walk with me to the finish line singing God Bless the USA and other patriotic songs the entire way.
Mile Marker 7.5: Another one of the wheelchair athletes who had ran the 5k earlier that day rolled back up the hill accompanied by a uniformed detail of active duty military from every branch of the service to see me home the last two miles.
Mile Marker 8: Met a First Sgt. from Camp Lejeune who had ran the race earlier in the day and he joined the detail to march me on home the final 1.3 miles.
Finish Line: Heroes welcome complete with two Marines in Dress Blues to meet me and welcome me home. Interviewed on TV and made the evening news.
Thank you all so much for the shirt. I have attached a couple of photos, and I am in the process of putting together a complete package containing photos and all the video coverage from the weekend. It may take a while to complete but once it is finished I will send it out to you so we can discuss further sponsorships for races in the future. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!
Cpl Andy Purchase