My dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 1998. He passed away in May of 2001.
When he first learned of his cancer, he went out and ran around the Central Park Reservoir, not far from his house, until his legs were chaffed raw. On the first anniversary of his death, my girlfriend and I went and buried some of his ashes on the east side of the Res. I wave whenever I run by.
In 1999, I ran my first NYC Marathon and my first marathon period. Even though my dad was from NY and lived in the city, he had never seen the Marathon. He and his wife stood on 1st ave at Sloan Kettering where he was being treated. I had never seen my dad so excited. The marathon totally blew him away. He called me about 10 times that night just totally overwhelmed by how amazing the whole thing was. Out of the 8 marathons I have run, it was the only one he got to see. The other 2 NYC Marathon I've run, I've teared up by Sloan Kettering.
I few months after he passed away, I did my first Ironman with several of my team mates. One of whom's father passed away about a week before hand. It was a crazy couple of weeks for him and he crossed the finish line with a picture of his dad in his hand. 4 years ago, another team mate had a similar experience running the Father's Day Fight Against Prostate Cancer 5Mer. He wanted to PR in honor of his dad who passed that year. I stood at the finish line and watched him pushed through the heat for his goal.
What is the point of all this? Well, it is father's day. I'm not into hallmark holidays though I have found this one has become harder to ignore since my dad is no longer here. It's also a reminder that as much as we run for ourselves, we also run for others. Those who can't and those who are no longer here. This is what I thought about on my 12 miles in Central Park this morning, cheering on the men on my team in the above mentioned race. I also think of this every time I am on the Res. Next time you're there, say hi to Jimmy on the east side.