Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Run Steven Run

Steven approaching the finish line at the Race for Literacy
(flanked by his homeroom teachers Ms. Kelly and Ms. Wilken)
Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.
~Steve Prefontaine

Steven is a tough guy.

With his colorful medical history and the number of times he's been hospitalized it seems like he should be fragile, but he keeps showing me again and again just how tough he is.

In sixth grade at his school, they've spent the school year training for an 8K (5 mile) race.

They run around the fields at school. They walk up to the park and run laps around the perimeter, and up and down the 100+ stairs that go up the hillside adjacent.

Steven had never been a great athlete, and among his athletic endeavors, running is definitely not his strong suit.

Among other things, his left leg is 3 inches shorter than his right leg and in order to offset this difference we have to modify his shoes to add a lift for the shorter leg. The lift is heavy and there is a large difference between the weight of one shoe and the other.

Steven can't partake of any the fancy features of modern running shoes like shocks, air cushions, etc. because once they split the sole in half and stick 3 inches of rubber in between the top and bottom of the old sole all those benefits are a thing of the past.

The school has offered to let him skip running if that was what he wanted to do, given his physical limitations, but Steven has never opted out. Even in fifth grade where running wasn't part of their P. E. program, Steven joined the school's running club and ran laps at lunch.

(l to r) Steven, Spencer, Ms. Wilken, Ray, Ms. Page & Ms. Nordhoff

In April, Steven ran in the Junior Carlsbad one-mile race with some of his schoolmates as a practice race for the 8K.

Steven crossing the finish line in Carlsbad

His teacher told me to expect maybe a 10-minute mile from him based on their practices, but Steven clocked in at 8:44, a good time for him.

This last Sunday, May 6, Steven ran in the race the sixth graders have been training for, the Race for Literacy, the second largest 8K race in the country.

The fastest boy from his school came in at 33:55. Steven jogged the whole way and made it in 57:51, under an hour which was his goal.

He has such a great attitude about running. Before he ran his race, he told me, "I won't be the fastest person but I won't be the slowest either, I'm just going to do my best."

Steven isn't the fastest, but he's got plenty of guts.

You don’t run against a bloody stop watch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him. Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys. That's the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough.
~Bill Persons

- Kathleen

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