Thomas M. Linksi
On February 28, 2015, I ran my first Cantrell Center 5k. It was not my first running event but brought memories of my first attempt/failure in February 2012 when all I could do was 1 mile of a 5k event. At a time when I had lost over 200 pounds in 13 months it was to be a celebration day and the road back to being an athletic at the age of 73. I was very emotional, riding back to the starting area in the police escort vehicle I asked the officer to take me back to the starting line. There I mediated for a moment, said a prayer and promised myself that would never, ever happen again. Now in Warner Robins, three years later, and some 130 completed 5k’s I was joyfully parading about wishing everyone a safe/successful run. In addition now I was 75 years old, had recently received a pacemaker and was awaiting word from my orthopedic doctor to have knee replacements. It was cold that morning and the wind was blowing. I was going strong for about 2 miles, I saw a steep downgrade and before I could help myself, my face hit the road. My arm, wrist and fingers on my left side were all in pain. I was on the ground but a moment and I heard the comforting words from a male voice asking “are you all right”? All I remember saying was “I’ve got to finish this race”! The gentleman gave me his arm, I hung on and off we went seeking the finish line. It was not long we were in conversation and I saw a familiar face, that being my grandson, a police officer in Centerville. I was humbled having my grandson sees me in this situation of possible failure. My Garmin running watch was hard to read as it got broken in the fall but we monitored the remaining distance and continued on. Other running friends came out to meet and help me in, as they realized the extended time I was out on the course. We were almost in parade mode, me, grandson, and two children with their dad, a couple and the original middle aged man who helped me up. On top of many encouraging shouts, applause and my name blurring over!
the PA system, the finish line was in sight and I had once again completed a 5k. It’s impossible for me to describe the emotion, exuberance and adrenalin that I experienced that morning but I’m looking forward to that same experience over & over again. I’m in fact living a life in lieu of just existing……. Thanks Cantrell Center for your engagement in the world of obesity!