Just more than 10 days ago, my daughters and I joined our pastor, Father Joe O’Connor in his “Run for Hope,” a challenge he issued to help drive donations to the annual Hope Appeal for the Syracuse Diocese. Each year, parishes are given a fundraising goal, which they are expected to meet by year end. This year, Fr. Joe decided he wanted to meet the goal sooner rather than later. That’s when he issued the challenge – if our parish met the goal by June 30, he would run the perimeter of the parish boundaries – a total of 11.3 miles.
It sounds nuts but as an Ironman alum, he was up to the task. What he didn’t expect was the more than 100-degree temperatures that awaited him July 1. Still, he pressed on. Parishioners manned water stops and sprayed him with water balloons and super soakers. Some even joined him for a mile or 11! My daughters and I decided we’d do the first mile. We joined Father along with three men, all three of whom continued through the entire course. My husband followed in the “pace minivan” with some tunes appropriate for the occasion.
It was hot on the course. We took every opportunity to run on the grass or in the shade rather than on the hot pavement. My younger daughter jumped in the cool minivan at around 3/4 of a mile. My older daughter made it just shy of the first mile. I stopped shortly after that in solidarity with the girls! Father kept on going! He and a few men (I joked they were like his disciples!) ran the distance through neighborhoods in the Clay and Baldwinsville, New York areas. They stopped for water at various locations and visited with parishioners. For the last bit of the course, jet skis were arranged to take them across the Seneca River, but they ended up swimming it instead. The cold water was refreshing after running in all that heat!
I’m glad I convinced the girls to go with me. They were proud of themselves for doing it and as it turned out they were the only children to run with Father. After running in such heat, wine is not such a great idea. I had loaded up on Gatorade and water prior to the run, following it with more water and a cold beer! But, later in the evening, as we relaxed on the couch as is our evening custom, we enjoyed a nice bottle. We’re blessed to have air conditioning at home so the cool air and yummy wine was a nice end to a busy day/weekend!