We are officially moved beyond words. Team Owen Simmons and all the amazing running that took place this Sunday to help fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy was simply incredible!!! Incredible. There is something just so selfless and poignant about people using their physical strength for those who struggle physically. And we are so, so appreciative of everyone involved in this truly special day.
Over 100 runners joined Team Owen Simmons on Sunday, March 20th to complete the New Bedford Half Marathon. Over 30 runners completed their very first race — ever! Many never thought they'd do something like this — and yet they did. The energy behind this has been awe-inspiring. So many people have rallied around Team Owen and have supported Owen's brave mom, Heather, as she completed her first race in memory of her little boy. Over 300 Team Owen T-shirts were sold (they were red for Owen's favorite color and were designed by his big brother Adyn!). There were cheering squads and signs at every corner encouraging the team — many children. And once the seasoned marathoners had finished their run (like Team Owen organizer Stephen Taylor), they ran back to run with and cheer on the rest of the team! And many finished the race in record time — beating their personal best! From Stephen:
On the day of the race we had all team members assemble on the steps of the New Bedford Public Library for a group photo. Admittedly I was extremely nervous about how this whole event would go off. Would the weather cooperate? Would enough runners show up and run the race? How would the after party be? Well as soon as I walked up towards the library, I saw a sea of red already forming. I knew Team Owen would come through and they did with flying colors. After the pic, runners milled around and there was a lot of nervous energy around. This would be the longest distance a lot of these runners would run. I tried to reassure most that this day would be special and that you would have the power of SMA Angels behind you. I explained how they had helped me through all my dark moments on the trails and that I knew for a fact that they would be with you this day. The day was perfect for running and we lined up for the start of the race.
So many runners of Team Owen ran their best races in their life. Lots of personal records were set and I am a firm believer it was because of those angel wings and the knowledge that they were running for something greater than themselves. They were running for those who cant.
The day was pretty much more than anyone could have hoped. Perfect weather. Amazing turnout. Awesome positive energy. And throughout it all, new people asked questions. What is SMA? What are you running for? How can we help? And that is amazing! And after the race there was a fantastic celebration! Cafe Funchal was unbelievably generous and the place was packed with supporters, music, good food, an awesome raffle, many toasts, and a heartfelt speech by Heather. There was also a touching video that Gillian Sampson and Greg Demers created to remind everyone what they were running for — to help end this brutal disease impacting thousands of families. Totals are still coming in, but Stephen estimates that close to $15,000 was raised!!! A-mazing!!!
We cannot begin to thank Team Owen enough for all they have done and continue to do to change the future of SMA. It matters! Every single runner matters. Every single person who asks, “What is SMA?” matters. Every dollar raised matters. And we truly believe that together we can end SMA!!! Thank you Team Owen Simmons for making a difference!!!
To read more about the awesome day, visit Stephen Taylor's blog 100 Miles 4 Owen.