Friday, November 8, 2013

A Letter to Jamie McDonald; You're Not Almost There

On mile 10 huge blobs of watery snow (freezing rain) began to hit me and Caesar with force. I had waterproof gear on which was keeping the cold out but it was softening up the dirt track. Now I was pushing 60kg through sludgy sand. As I got to mile 16, I was so fatigued and hurting in so many areas, that being seriously sleep deprived on top of this, just intensified the pain.
Jamie McDonaldSomewhere east of Regina on Highway 1, From a Facebook entry, November 4, 2013
Dear Jamie,

I have been following your progress since your arrival in Kenora, Ontario. I was one of the runners that escorted you from the eastern outskirts of Winnipeg to The Forks located next to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  As our little delegation of runners stood next to this gorgeous museum, dwarfed in its magnitude, I considered the connection between your vision and that of The CMHR. The dots weren't fully connected at the time, but in reflection they have come into brilliant focus.

If The Canadian Museum of Human Rights represents a beacon of hope for all humanity, and if that beacon shines hope across the world, then you my friend, and people of your ilk, are surely the flame that ignites that beacon that shines so brilliantly.The beacon that builds community and opens hearts and minds to the concept of goodness on a micro-scale. To change the world one painful step at a time. To believe that each step, each mile, each day brings you closer to your dream of goodness inspires us. You, Flash, superhero that you are, have come to represent the flame.... and we do not have words to express our gratitude. 

It is no surprise that strangers go out of their way to support you. The momma bears and poppa bears as you call them, look out for you because they care for you. They invite you into their home and fill your belly with nutritious, hot food. They give warm beds and chilled beer. They bring you hot coffee and chilli in the middle of a frozen prairie and deliver countless acts of unsolicited kindness all in the name of Jamie.  Why this outpouring of love? 

Because you have ignited the flame of goodness in people and that flame will carry you through to the end of this incredible journey.  But, mark my words Jamie, you will need continued support from hundreds of momma bears and poppa bears to realize your dream. You can't do this alone.

Jamie, you are the first thought that pops into my head in the morning and the last at night.  I read your Twitter feeds, your Facebook updates your blog daily. I would be lying if I said  I wasn't worried. The cold and the winds combined are a deadly duo. You simply can't imagine the severity of the prairie cold and the intensity of the flatland winds, they cut deeply. The cold and wind will scheme to smother your flame and to kill your spirit. Jamie, it has been a tough slog, but it's about to get tougher.

Some of your followers cheer you on with a happy don't give up, you're almost there :) :) . They mean well, but you know better than most, you're not almost there. You're about to face elements that few on this planet can conceive let alone survive.

The only way you can endure this incredible ordeal is through continued support of hundreds of momma bears and poppa bears out there in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.  With their love and their hot meals and warm beds and cheery words, and hot coffee you will be successful in realizing your goal.  You have created a groundswell of support, but now, that groundswell must be more vigilant, more watchful, and more mindful. You need the momma bears and poppa bears like never before. 

Jamie, this is what I promise you.  When you reach the Pacific Coast, and you surely will, I will run silently to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the foot of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. I will pause and I will think of you and what you have accomplished.  I will think of goodness and hope.  I will think of flames and beacons and super heros. Then, my friend, I will drape a Flash cape over Gandhi's head and tie it snugly.  This small gesture is to honour you Jamie.  You see, Gandhi was another individual that ignited the flame of hope, the beacon. 

This I promise you.

Now you promise me... be safe.

See Flash.
See Flash run.
Run, Flash, run.

It's a good day to be alive,

Mike

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