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When I think about a personal best for my runs it usually revolves around a new shorter time for a distance, a new total distance, or a better pace. But what if there was a different kind of personal best? One that’s more satisfying, more exhilarating and more gratifying. Bring on the Justice League Runners and their campaign to run while raising money for The Hospital Sick Children in Toronto.
While training for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k myself and my good friend Matt Small had come up with a race goal of sub 45min. As time went on and my training runs became quicker and quicker I had gotten very excited that this possible new personal best could actually become a reality!
Though my experience with being a Digital Champion for this race I had the great pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of runners I had never known about before. One of those people was JP Hernandez. It didn’t take long for me to realize the true super hero powers of JP. He truly inspired me with his charisma, humility and down to earth welcome everyone with open arms personality. In 2013 JP ran the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon as Batman and raised money for SickKids hospital. In just 2 short years JP’s marathon run as Batman has evolved in something AMAZING! The Justice League Runners. It didn’t take me long to decide that this was something I wanted to be a part of! I contacted JP asking him if I could participate and he quite enthusiastically welcomed me into his League! SickKids already holds a special place in my heart for me and my family so I was quite excited to be a part of a team raising money for Sick Kids Foundation. If you would like to read more about JP’s journey to the creation of the Justice League Runners I really recommend you click here.
I have been finding it quite difficult to put into words the feelings I had on race day, April 19th 2015, but I will do my best 🙂 The morning started with the excitement of meeting many of the runners I had only conversed with through Twitter and Facebook. There were many pictures taken, many hellos, and many high fives. I always love the time before a run as I meet running friends both new and old and just the camaraderie that takes place as people mill around.
We assembled ourselves into our coral talked about how we were all going to stay together and do our very best to put a smile of every single kid (and adult for that matter) we came across.
Aprox 3-4 km into the run we were approached by a runner and mom who said her daughter had been a patient of SickKids. She went of to say that her daughter would be cheering her on father down the course and asked if we might give her a wave as we ran by. Well that’s not what what we were going to do! When we got tot he corner of Yonge and Bloor all 15 of us stopped gave her a high five and asked if she would stand for a picture with us! Mom showed up just as we were getting the pictures taken by grandma. The look of sheer gratitude and emotion on all 3 of their smiling faces was something I don’t think I will ever forget and I have a pretty good feeling that little girl will never forget either! This was proof right there that we were up to something magical!
We continued down the rest of the course high-fiving and stopping for pics with any and all the kids we saw along the route. The cheers from the spectators and volunteers at the water stations was exhilarating. As we neared the end of the run I found myself a little sad that this train was coming to an end but I soon realized this was not the end it was merely stop on the journey. This train has a long road ahead of it with many stops to make, more smiles to induce and money raised to help kids in need.
In the end I was left with a whole new sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and inspiration. It was a whole new kind of personal best for me! One that I will cherish forever. One that I hope to better as my running career continues! You can still donate by visiting my page here.
All this could not be possible without these amazing members of the team I ran with! I encourage you to follow them on their social networks!
Todd Chretien aka The Flash — Facebook
Big thanks to Canada Running Series the family and friends of all the runners as well as all the volunteers for all their support; this couldn’t have happened without them!
I’ll leave you with this one picture that I think is an amazing representation for the day. I little boy approached us after the race with a super excited voice saying “CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!”