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Posts: 2
October 17, 2011
3:47pm
A few months ago, my wife and I participated in our very first adventure race, SCAR 2011. We had been trying for months to enter a race, but a death in the family and the busy life of having young kids kept delaying our ability to get started. By summer, having just found out we were going to have our third child, we knew our race window was closing fast.

Racing SCAR with my wife was great. We had a blast, and finished well for a couple of rookies. As most of SCAR racers can appreciate, by the end of the event, we were exhuausted from the course and the sweltering heat, but our spirits were renewed when we saw our 2 young daughters wating at the finish line to cheer us home.

After the race, as we awaited the announcements of the winners, a gentleman (another racer I think), seeing our 2 girls excitedly asking us questions about our race, came over and asked if he could give something to us. He and his wife had a brand new, pink camelpak backpack that was sized for kids. He offered it to our kids, who gladly accepted, and we jokingly told them that now they could race with mommy and daddy. We didn't realize at that moment just what events that generous gift would set into motion.

Our oldest, Brooke (age 7), was thrilled with the pack, but didn't have much use for it in every day life. She loves so much to share in activities with dad, so she started working on her "skills". She didn't know how to ride a bike, but she went out and started practicing on her own, until one day she came in to the house and asked us to come watch her ride. We were shocked when we saw her riding on her own, when we didn't even know she had been working on it. Then, one day as I prepared to go for a run in the woods to train for a race, she looked so sad that I half-jokingly offered her to come along. Never expecting her to agree, she ran upstairs and put on her shoes to go. To my surprise, after I let her set the pace, she ran our entire practice run without stopping for a break.

After gaining some confidence in her ability to handle herself, I finally asked her if she wanted to run a race with me, and she excitedly said that she did. We had a date with destiny at the 2011 Lighterknot.

Brooke's only anxiety on race day was that we had not trained hard enough :), but I assured her that she would do just fine. Actually, she did better than fine, she did amazing! The canoe was tough for her because her arms weren't really long enough to be much help with the paddle. She kept trying though, despite many bruises when her fingers would whack the side of the canoe rail. She did amazing on the trek, and she got great satisfaction from figuring out a shortcut that allowed us to pass another team and beat them to a few control points. The bike was hard for her, and her little barbie bike with no gears didn't do too well in the sand, but she toughed it out with a determination I didn't know she had.

We finished the course 12 minutes late, and we found 13 of the 15 controls points along the way. We may have actually finished better had her daddy not made a navigation error on the canoe that lost us about 15 minutes of time (I guess its clear who was the weaker link on the team) :).

Beyond the amazing job she did as a competitor and racer, this message is really meant to be a shout out and thank you to the adventure racing community and family. That first random act of kindness, where we were gifted a beautiful pink camelpak, set events in motion and opened the door for Brooke to get involved. Thank you to the generous, anonymous family who gave that gracious gift, as you have allowed me to share a special and incredible experience with my daughter. Thank you to Greg Owens who recognized Brooke from the beginning to the end of the race, you made it very special for her. To the sponsors, volunteers, and organizers, without you team Beauty and the Beast would not have had the opportunity at all.

And, most importantly, to all the racers at the 2011 Lighterknot who cheered for Brooke, encouraged her, told her she was doing a great job, and generally inspired her to keep going despite the challenges she faced - thank you to all of you, you are the best!! Your support was truly amazing, and I can't say thank you enough.

I am a proud and lucky father, knowing my daughter did something so special to share in an activity I am passionate about. And, I'm proud to be a part of the adventure racing community - what a supportive and generous group. My favorite moment of the race was when all of the competitors stood, clapped, and cheered for Brooke as she crossed the finish line, wow....it was so emotionally overwhelming that it made me cry. Without a doubt, the people, the community, the family of Pangea is what makes this sport so special.

And, as if it couldn't get better, October 15, the day of the race, was also my birthday. Little did I know that a strangers gift months before would transform into the greatest gift I've ever received...sharing an amazing, inspirational experience with my child. Much love to all of you, and we'll see you at future races - Brooke has assured me that she'll be back!!!
[Last edited by [email protected], 10/17/2011 3:53pm]
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PattiFuchs
Posts: 5
October 17, 2011
5:21pm
Man it got dusty in here all of a sudden. :blush:

Brooke was amazing!!!! I can't imagine how proud a poppa you must be. That is one very special young lady you are raising.

Please tell her that as another newbie, she was MY inspiration for the day. :thumbup:
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sayheykev
Posts: 3
October 18, 2011
10:04am
The gift was a really sweet gesture. The amazing part is instead of it being an isolated moment, it really ended up being a difference maker.

From what I can tell, racer on racer kindness is an epidemic at our events. Only some stories filter through to us but they run the gamut from what you have described to just being a friendly face on and off the course.

I would like to mention though that while the backpack was a seminal moment in your daughter's enthusiasm for racing, it was you and your wife going out there and doing it that was the true catalyst. It seems like she caught the bug from watching you. The backpack just sealed the deal.

And speaking as someone who learned how to ride a bike all by himself, it takes a special kind of determination to pull it off. For me, I was sick of my sisters making fun of me.

-Kevin
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robin
Posts:
October 18, 2011
10:36pm
Such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.
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