Meet Jeff Brooks, a Relay runner, who was recruited to our Team 3 years ago. With his old pair of gym sweats and older pair of running shoes, Jeff was one of our fastest runners, averaging a sub-7 minute mile, and earning our Team an 11th place out of 90 teams in Lake Tahoe Odyssey Relay in 2011. I assumed Jeff had been running races his entire life. In fact, Jeff was never a runner. He did something he never thought possible, he overcame challenges, he befriended strangers, he gave his time, his laughter, his energy and he ran …This is our team, this is our inspiration ..this is WeRun2Inspire ...And Admire Your Gastrocnemius!
Kendall, I think about my first few runs and how I couldn’t run a full mile without stopping [with] a stitch in my side, and where I have come since then. How was I to know that running a short distance from my house in Kings Beach would eventually lead me to a [rural] road in the Sonoma valley at 2:30 in the morning, running 9 miles at a 7:50 minute pace
Running seems like what I do, and although I can’t see where it will take me in my life, being able to look at where it has taken me to this point in my life is enough. My favorite moment thus far has been telling my friends I was heading down to the Bay Area for a run. When my friends would ask what kind of run, I responded,”I have a Relay Team and we’re running through the Napa Valley this weekend”. The look on my friends’ faces was enough for me to realize that this isn’t something that many people will ever get to say in their life, and to me those words are priceless. Priceless for what they represent. My team, the team that lets me be apart of something great. Something we can look back on in the years and say “I did that” with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met ..”I did that”.[During the first night of running, I opened the van door] and I saw the photo collage you made for Christine. When I saw it, I thought about what was happening in my life at that moment and a strange feeling crept over me. I thought about my girlfriend, Michelle, and how she would feel if something happened to me. I thought about the people in my life and how they would feel if I was gone. And I thought about how I would feel if Michelle formed a relay team in my honor with a bunch of strangers I had never met, but who were all rallied around her and her grief with a purpose for what they were doing that morning in Sonoma.
Embracing a group of strangers for two days in a smelly, stinky van, where all were sure to be exhausted and malnourished, where all had to return to work on Monday, but would choose again and again to put themselves in that situation. When I realized this, I thought there is no greater honor in one’s life than to mean that much to a group of people …that even after your gone, it is impossible for them to forget you. And that they will give a piece of their living body, their sweat and exhaustion, their time and their heart, for a woman, for Christine ..
*Currently Jeff is sequestered at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, in a remote part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, for the entire summer. He has no cell or Internet service, and he is unable to effectively fundraise for CAGIM (and we think he may also be without hot water ..smiling). Please sponsor Jeff Brooks so that he can continue to be a part of our Inspiration and our Team …