Hoist the Colors
By Mike Fuller
We all have our reasons for running; getting healthier, accomplishing a goal, running somewhere we never dreamed we could. The reasons are numerous, and each just as important as the rest. For me, it started as the same as most of us, wanting to get healthy. I had tried working out, but that meant a membership, driving back and forth, and all that involved. That is not an easy thing with toddlers running around. I needed something that was more accessible, something I could do on my own and not in front of others who are much better than me. I found that in January of 2010.
We were living in Orlando and found out my best friend Eric Bouchet was running the Walt Disney World Marathon. So we went and after seeing him finish, I simply said “I want to do this.” We talked about it on the way home; I told my wife my plan. To my surprise, she did not laugh at me, nor ask me if I was crazy, but simply said she was behind me 100 percent. Also on my side was my best friend Eric and Team All Ears, a group of runners who all run with Purpose. That purpose is to raise awareness and funds in the battle against Breast Cancer.
The training began for me. I was hooked on the Galloway (run/walk/run) Method, and, at first, used a conditioning training he had to help me in getting ready for my goals. Next in my sights was a 5K. I figured it was the smallest distance and a good stepping-stone in helping me reach my Half Marathon goal. Along the way I started noticed something, people not only took notice of my running, but also of the cause I was running for. It was no longer about me; it was no longer about getting healthier. I was running for something more, something bigger, and it took over.
I decided to run for my PopPop, who passed away in August of 2010 from Breast cancer. I started noticing something else along the way; it was more than just breast cancer I was running for. I was running for the survivors, the ones battling, and the ones who lost. Breast cancer, stomach, kidney, liver, leukemia, you think of the cancer, and I was running for it. I told friends and family what I was doing, and started asking if I could run in honor of memory for someone. That is when it really hit me, when I really noticed how big this cause really is.
Knowing I was running for something or someone other than myself gave me extra motivation to run. When things got hard, I remembered those for whom I was running, the ones who can’t run. It was my PopPop who I would hear which kept me going, “…don’t give up…don’t give in.” I saw him in his last days, how no matter what type of condition he was in, he never gave up. I would go see him and could see a twinkle in his eye. On his last day he held on until my Dad could make the drive down to make sure my grandmother was taken care. It was his strength I felt, and the strength of all those I was running for. It often reminded me of a scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End” when about to take on Beckett and the East India Trading Company.
Outnumbered, outgunned, Kiera Knighetly gives a speech. She essentially tells them to fight for their colors, to fight for their freedom, and that is what will allow them to win the day. It was the mention of the colors that brought the connection for me. I know we all ran for something, some cause, and that is what brings us together. Pink for breast cancer, white for lung cancer, orange for leukemia, light blue for prostate cancer to name a few. We all “fly” under different colors, but we are all part of the same team. So here is to your color, whatever it may be, may it drive you to the finish. I know it helped me, and will help me to be Goofy in 2013. “By the sweat of our brows, the strength of our backs, and the courage of our hearts-Gentlemen-Hoist the Colors.”
Where it all began!
Poppop, my dad, me and my son Jacob.
WDW Half Finish, not a prouder moment.