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Monday, October 16, 2006

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susan Ketcham

Ran along side Dean with the ex smoker(my sister) Dean and the folks who ran the entire race were great. The race director who questioned himself pulled it out strong! A true inspiration all of the runners. My time was cut short due to picking up kids off the school bus, but I could have hung around all day and chatted with everyone.

Tracey Mahoney

Hi Dean...I met you today just before the start of the Breaker's race but was not attempting to run the race...my question is that I took some photos today and would like to email them to you if you would like me to...if so, please email me at tgmahoney@cox.net and let me know where to send them. Thanks and best of luck with the remaining 20! You are truly an inspiration...and I am thrilled to know that my desire for accomplishing a full marathon (I only have two halves under my belt) will now come true because you have put it in writing on my Runner's World magazine (writing "see you in Boston"...so now I must be get ready for Boston! :-)) So, thank you and congrats!

Mike Keller

I am running the 34th run on Friday in Cleveland, and for some irrational reason, deep inside, I kept worrying that Dean and the more experienced runners would leave me behind because my longest runs so far are three times doing the length of half marathons....one in a race at 1:52:45. The jet pilot from today's blog, helped bring me back to the realization I made the day I decided to sign up for this. The only failure I could have had, would have been if I would have stayed at home on Friday, and not done something which resonated so strongly with me. I have already won before taking one step!

Friday, I am hanging with you as long as I can Dean....and to the pilot today, who endured....if I fall behind, I will still finish, and you will be with me, in spirit. Good job man!

(by the way, I fly jets too.....)

Jonathan O'Hara

Hello all and thanks for reading this. I'd like to tell you about an amazing adventure that I experienced at the Breakers Marathon with Dean. Today day was filled with highs and lows (and I'm not just talking about the hills!)

Before Dean had even arrived the other runners gathered and shared small talk. We were all trying to figure out what kind of runners the others were. Many here came with the intension of running a full marathon while others only planned on running a shorter training distance with plans on completing the marathon at a later date. I am a mix of both.

In reality I had no business attempting the full marathon. I am in week 9 of 20 preparing for the Disney Marathon in Orlando this January. Being a 3-loop course I figured 2 loops would be a great training distance for week 9 (approximately 18 miles.) So I signed up with exactly that intension.

Being a captain on a corporate jet, I must admit that I have a rather type A personality. I have found that most people in my profession tend to be the same way. This is a good thing. We are the type that gets the job done.

Every day since the Endurance 50 began I have read Dean's blog with much anticipation. Reading stories of hope, love, overcoming obstacles, and determination gave me a sense of purpose and hope. I wasn't a cancer survivor, nor was a recovering from addiction or one of life's many other troubles.

I am a runner. Not a great runner. I've never been accused of going too fast. But I did have drive. Reading all of the previous blogs and comments from both Dean and the other multitudes of inspirational runners I knew that finishing this marathon was something I was meant to do.

When we all took off from the starting line it was apparent that this was going to be an amazing day. The weather was perfect. The air was crisp and full of falls many aromas. Not one runner had anything less than a huge smile on their face. We were part of a team.

The group stayed together for the most part and the dynamic of the whole was something magical. I talked with every single runner today. Admittedly, anyone who told me that this was their first marathon held a special place in my heart. We were special. The marathon... a life list checkmark was about to be etched.

At the completion of the second of three loops the group was still mostly together. Unfortunately, I would not remain a part of that group for much longer.

My marathon quest came to a screeching halt at mile 21. Nature had placed a call and I answered. I still had the group in site just ahead but now I was behind all of the support vehicles. No problem. The overall pace of the group was not as fast as I normally run and I was confident that I could catch them within a mile or so.

As I put my left leg forward to begin running my knee would not bend. It had completely seized up. A recurring ACL issue that had most likely been kept at bay today until I stopped running for a minute. With the group still in sight but slowly getting further away, I began an awkward kind of walk in an attempt to get the knee to get back in the game.

I knew I was in trouble. My marathon hope was being dashed as quickly as the group went out of sight. 21 miles. My longest run to date. Now I found myself half way around the last loop with no support, no drink, no gel, a bum knee and four and a half miles to go.

At mile 22 something amazing happened. I was still walking, however it was excruciatingly painful and I was getting slower with each step. Realizing that I probably wasn't going to make it was enough for me to shed a tear. I didn't take the thought of a DNF (did not finish) very lightly. That's when the angel of mile 22 showed up.

His name was Paul. Paul had just run the Hartford Marathon two days prior and came down on his own to help out if he could. When he saw me on the side of the road limping along he asked if I needed a ride. A ride. I had to say that to myself a couple of times. What exactly did that mean? Give up after 22 miles? Out of the question. I am a runner. Paul had something better to offer me than a ride.

They say duck tape has a million uses. Today I added another use to my list. Paul jumped out of his truck and proceeded to tape my left knee. Now running would be out of the question. While the pain was certainly under control, my natural gate had been hindered. I would have to walk the last 4 miles.

Earlier in the day I told Dean that I was crossing the finish line no matter what and I meant it. So off I went. 4 miles. I tried to figure out how long that would take me. An hour? Longer? Would Dean already be in Portland, ME getting ready for number 31 when I got to the finish?

Paul continued to provide support. Bananas, water, gel. He came prepared. He is THE reason I could continue.

At mile 25 the stadium where the finish line was began to come in sight. It was obvious that everyone was gone, except for a few reps from the North Face, Breakers Marathon, and Endurance50. I had made it. As I entered the stadium my sister who was my support joined me for my two laps around the track. Those amazing folks cheered me on as I completed the last lap. As I came around the last quarter turn to the finish line I was determined to finish this in something other than a walk. As best as I could I began a slow hobbling kind a run. I crossed the line knowing that I had finished probably the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Any yet, I was already thinking about recovery and the hope to do another as soon as possible!

I started today a runner. Now, I am a marathon runner. My running world has changed forever. God bless Dean for giving me the inspiration to be part of such an amazing undertaking.

Jonathan O'Hara
Captain, Netjets Aviation
Marathon Runner

Peter Gutkin

Dean,
Your friends at the JCC gym are following you and are wishing you well. Be strong, be large! Peter

Liz Wood

How about 21 to go? Washington DC on November 6th for a 51st? Then on Election Day, November 7 you can rally support for someone's burning cause! Think of the power that has been put behind you now...

Mike

Dean

Once again I am reading every entry - cheering you on all and anticipating a great run with you on #49 in New Joisey.

I am wondering though if you are experiencing any pain, especially in the mornings. How are you able to get up and out every single morning? Are you stiff? Sore? Exhausted?

Mike

Joe Foley

Dean!
Awesome times! I plan on running with you at the Marine Corp Marathon, along with 30,000 of our closest friends :)

I plan on bringing my copy of your book, and hope I can get a sig and picture!

Stay Strong!!

Chris Knight

Wow! What a great experience! I was a little nervous as was probably the case of most... but that went away quick when I realized that all here were just regular people and were out for a common goal...to finish a marathon! We packed up the car Sunday afternoon and headed to Rhode Island from Masachusetts! My wife, son, and daughter were in on the adventure and I was grateful they bought into this opportunity! Yes, my wife supported me on her birthday! Thanks Heather! Also to Ben and Madison...yes, Ben was on an out of school learning experience...what place could he learn more about adventure, motivation, sense of family, goals, and opportunity? This was it...the chance of a lifetime...to meet a person that is very motivated and in most other sports so unaccessible... but here the opportunity not only to meet Dean, but to actually participate in his sport! To a Red Sox family this was sort of like playing baseball with BIg Papi, only better! Along the way I met some really cool people! Even in the parking lot before it started when there were a few of us that were on the other side of the school! Like our jet pilot, I am not and likely will not be the fastest runner, but I make a commitment to finish! Towards the end I slowed down and was greeted by my son, daughter and wife! Wow, that made it worth it! My son made the last two laps with me and my daughter made one around the track! My son and I hand in hand went across the finish line with Dean holding the finish line! A great touch to a great day! The reception and signings with Dean were the icing on the cake. A genuine guy! Thanks to all for the opportunity...you all helped to make the day special! I'm not sure if other marathons will match up? Certainly a runner's high!
Peace be with you all.
Chris & family

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