Last Monday, local triathlete Robbie Bruce (X3 Endurance) was watching the horrific coverage of Newtown when he decided he wanted to run 26 miles in honor of the 26 victims from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and "26.4.26" was born.
The plan was simple. The run would be Saturday, the 22nd. Robbie planned a 6.5 mile route starting at Nashville Running Company. Hoping that a few others might want to join him, Robbie sent out a few texts and Facebook messages asking if anyone else wanted run. People could run 6.5, 13, 19.5 or 26 miles, depending on how many loops they want to do. Runners would be assigned an "angel" (a name of one of those lost in the tragedy), and would run in their angel's honor. Donations (going to help the families of Newtown) of $1 per mile were requested. The idea was probably to raise a couple hundred dollars, or maybe $1,000.
The text that started everything...
However, in less than a week, this idea went from one guy running, to OVER 800 with more still signing up. EVERY Nashville running/triathlon/cycling club, store and training group that I know of is going to be there. Almost every runner I know is posting, tweeting or blogging about it, encouraging others to run or donate. The media has covered it. Sponsors are stepping up to donate water and food for the runners. It's gotten so large that the run has been moved from the Nashville Running Company to LP Field (where the Tennessee Titans play) so parking can be accommodated. I don't know the details of the logistics of this run, but I do know you can't pull something like this off without the cooperation from the City of Nashville. No government red tape preventing this run from happening.
I'm so freaking proud of my Nashville athletic community right now, I could just cry. Seriously. I know I've mentioned how awesome my East Nasty crew is, and how much I love training with FTP Coaching. I KNOW how amazing these people are. But to see them, and so many others, come together to support the Sandy Hook community is just... well, there are no words for it. It just makes my heart swell.
So you can imagine how disappointed I am that Dudley and I won't be able to run tomorrow. We'll be traveling for the Holidays. Fortunately, there is a way for me to sponsor runners, which I have. And I think you should too - http://www.x3gear.com/collections/donations/products/26-4-26-sponsorship. There are also shirts and stickers available for purchase on that same link. Again, all proceeds are going to help the families of Newtown. Robbie is now hoping to raise $26,000. Knowing Nashville, I think that'll happen.
This all started with a man with an idea, and it's turned into a movement. That's pretty cool. Thank you to Robbie for making this happen. You know we've all had ideas like this and haven't pursued them because it might seem like too much effort, or you're afraid that no one will join you. Makes you wonder what kind of world this could be if we all started acting on our ideas.
“I always thought someone should do something about that, then I realized I was someone.”
~ Lily Tomlin