Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Best day ever in Liberia-a summary...

Well-it's been 48 hours since the end of the race.  On Monday morning I showed the staff the pictures that were taken of them racing and finishing-it was great!!  The laughter-the clapping it was so great to share with them their accomplishment.  I am still in awe that it all went so well-and that all of our staff finished.  What started as a week of devotions on a healthy lifestyle, exercising and how our body is God's creation-turned into an EVENT!  Wow!

The team at the beginning...

The team at the finish!!! Mercy!

Our staff thanked me after for organizing everything for them-but for me the thanks goes to them.  These are our people-they work in some of the toughest places in the world-through the jungle, on rough roads, through the rain and all to help their Liberian brothers and sisters recovery from the same war they all endured.  Our staff go above and beyond EVERY DAY.  I have seem them mature in their faith-graduate from university, raise their families -for our ex-pat staff leaving their homes...it is a privilege to work beside these people everyday.

These people - our SP family-they are a reason why I run and they ran with a purpose, on Aug. 28, 2011-my best day ever in Liberia...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The best DAY EVER in Liberia...part 3

The finish...I have run a few races and it's always amazing when you see the finish-it's emotional-you are done!  What a way to end with our SP family cheering us on it was amazing-words can't describe so I will let the pictures do the talking...
Justin the first SP staff member to finish!

Levi-SP special projects

Cpt. Dan!!!

Look at the rain coming down!!!

Winsotne waving the Liberian flag!

Look what the cat dragged in!!

BOSSMAN!! I am yelling at him to keep going!

Finance ladies!

James and Sis Hauwa...

Cheryl the one true walker!!!

Waving to Isaac and Felix-I think Jo was pretty happy at this point..

3:40min Marathon for Jeremy! Super proud of him!

Jeremy finishing strong

The happy couple after-well maybe just me...

Not sure I can talk jo into running with me again!

Teedo made it!!!

I love this picture...how can you not!?

The last lap..'don't you take my picture!' HA!

Team SP Liberia!  Running with purpose-these people are why I run!

I have a lot of thoughts going through my head how I am going to finish this.  So maybe I will sleep on it-talk to our staff tomorrow and ask them about their experience.  Why was this my best day in Liberia?  Because it combined the things I am most passionate about all in one great day, our staff who I love, representing the work that I am passionate about, and of course RUNNING!  I am blessed...

The best DAY EVER in Liberia...part 2!

So there we were ready to go-let's get this race started!!!  And start it finally did.
In the pouring rain everyone is off!

What was amazing about today was the fact that Liberia, a nation of conflict for the past 20 years-was coming together to run.  Many of our staff heard Liberians say, "Look how far we have come, this is development, we can have a race!"  It may not seem like a big deal-but on these same roads we ran on-tanks rumbled down, trucks full of soldiers sped through shooting at whoever they wanted, bullet shells populated the streets.  Not today-no today history was made and the people of Liberia populated the streets and ran in PEACE!
SP staff members -woohoo!

Wet camera + running while trying to take a picture=what you see above...

One of the inspirations we passed...

As we ran towards the finish, we came upon one of the amputees-what an inspiration to see this man running this race.  I don't know how he lost his leg, my guess is in the war-but he is not just sitting doing nothing-he is running to be part of something bigger. Another moment I almost teared up...(it was an emotional day ok!)

The running got harder the farther we went and the closer we got to the stadium.  But then we heard the people in the stadium cheering and I was pumped!!! As we came through the entrance into the Stadium-what did I see?   Of course TEAM SP!!!! Stories from the finish next...

The best DAY EVER in Liberia...part 1

4:45am... I had been up every hour on the hour listening to the thunder roar and the rain pound on our tin roof. I was full of excitement and nervous energy-this was it-RACE DAY!  It was going to be one wet race day that's for sure!  My morning started off with seeing Teedo and Jeremy off for the marathon race that was starting right in front of our house.
Team SP Liberia Marathoner's Jeremy and Teedo ready to go!

The first and last picture (as Kendell stated-nice.) of us racing together!

Some staff on the bus-going to the start

It poured, I mean POURED all morning during the race-waiting for the race to start we started to get a little nervous (at least I was ) about the start!

Team SP listening to the instructions for the race
Team SP Liberia in the rain but ready!

Pastor Kamara in his Canadian toque!

Taya, Danielle, Me and Jo pre-race picture

Dan and Cheryl Spencer ready to go!

Above we have Winstone and Justin getting ready at the start.  Taya, WASH PM getting a little hydration in from the rain as we waited!  It was amazing...they had a category for amputees and those in a wheelchair, there were Liberians, young and old, other INGO workers, and even the US Ambassador- all coming together peacefully to make history in Liberia-I was so proud to be a part of it.

As we were standing under the tent waiting to start-Danielle told of what one of her staff told her about running in this race.  Joanna (who works in our OVC program) stated:  "I ran from Nimba county away from the war, I was running for my life! Today I run for the lives of Liberians and so that I may have a healthier life!"  Almost brought tears to my eyes...mercy.

We got to the starting line-and without any warning people started running!  HA!  So off we went...stay tune for part 2 of my best day ever in Liberia...


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tomorrow is the Day!!!!

It was the night before the 10km and marathon and all Team SP were asleep...well they should be by now!  It is 8:30pm here in Liberia-and in 9 hours we will begin our journey to JFK hospital to get ready to run with over 1500 other runners...

On Friday morning I met with the staff at devotions to go over some last minute instructions and to remember why we are all running.  Everyone is very excited! Throughout the week staff have been making the 2 min. drive to SKD stadium to pick up their numbers.
Staff returning with race numbers in hand!

First ever race with my buddy!

Louise, 44 years old running her first race ever!

Oliver from our OVC team

Everyone is super excited.  I am nervous...shocking I know-but I am really hoping and praying that all 70 of our SP staff members can get to the start on time!  For all of our Liberian staff this is the first race they have every run-many have questions about where and how the race will start-how will they know where to go...I felt the same way on my first marathon!

We have plenty of people here to be at the finish line to be taking photos so stay tuned for tomorrow's entry and how the whole day went.  A BIG thanks to all of you who have support our Team SP Liberia-please know that everyone here is so thankful to all of you-and for your encouragement.  Team SP will make you proud tomorrow I have no doubt! 

For race days like tomorrow...this is why I RUN!!!!