Running for Amanda

It was June 21st, the 1st day of summer 2014. A beautiful day that makes you want to go to the beach, the golf course, or even take in a music festival. For me, I was about to run my 2nd half marathon, this one the Barrie Waterfront Half Marathon.
Several people asked what time was I aiming for, and I’d answer it really did not matter, but in my heart I just wanted to beat my time in Toronto last Oct. of 2:13:27 for 21.1 kms. But with more hills on the Barrie course, this was going to be easier said than done.

Wearing a white ribbon on my right arm in memory of Amanda Kelsall, a small # of fellow runners noticed it and inquired regarding its meaning, which gave me the opportunity to briefly share along the route about Amanda. When I mentioned to one person that Amanda was training to be a medical doctor when she was killed, that person asked “Why? How could this happen? For a person who would be saving others lives, why was her life taken?” This question in various forms has been asked by MANY, MANY people since Amanda’s death. But God sees the entire picture. There are really no “accidents” with God.

The day was absolutely beautiful…sunny and warm, with no humidity. However the hills were a bit of an issue. Having injured my knee twice going down hills last year in training, I avoided them completely in my training this year. Being in a bit of a “pickle” of what I should do, I held back against the downhill momentum, while other runners effortlessly breezed past me, but at least the knees were intact! Going up those same hills I just descended, it meant somehow I’d have to dig deeper to make up for lost time. Thinking often of Amanda during this run and praying for her family, and reaching down and pulling up Amanda’s determination and perseverance, this soon to be 56 year old earthly frame of a body was propelled ahead faster and stronger than I could ever have imagined.

I intentionally did not wear a watch or have any electronic device on me for that matter. Just did not want the distractions, and in it’s simplicity, life with all it’s stressors and struggles was way, way off in the far, far distance. Having absolutely NO idea of what my time might be, when I rounded that final corner I could hear the announcer giving the times of those ahead of me as they finished….they were UNDER 2 hours. I was thinking this can’t be correct., but kept pushing on to the final finish, crossing with a chip time of 1:59:45, eclipsing my Toronto time by 13 minutes and 42 seconds. What an incredible feeling!

Thank you to a great group of volunteers. You provided water and electrolytes every few kilometers, kept us on course and cheered us on. Thank you to Busch Systems for sponsoring me and providing a great team support. This really goes a long way.
And Amanda Kelsall, it was an honour to run for you last weekend. Giving credit to the Google social media concept of ‘the circle”, there were people FAR closer to you than I was…..your dear family, your boyfriend, your friends, your medical school colleagues and faculty to name a few, I was simply an acquaintance. Yet the more I hear about you, read about you and talk to your dear mom and dad, your insight on life went FAR beyond your years.Amanda, it is my sincere prayer and deep desire that you will never be forgotten, but much more, that your “circle” of people will enlarge much, much bigger than it already is, that your life and the way you lived it, will impact people in a deep and profound way. That people will show more compassion in this sometimes “heartless” world. That people would be able to pull up YOUR determination and perseverance when the going gets rough, and to experience GOD more deeply in all circumstances.Thank you to those who have made financial contributions to Amanda’s scholarship fund. You will be providing a better opportunity for those students who follow in Amanda’s footsteps to fulfill their dream in becoming a much needed medical doctor. The link is, and under “designation” go to “Amanda Kelsall Scholarship”. For an excellent article on Amanda written by the “Ontario Medical Students Association” the link is

Thank you for taking the time in reading this lengthy blog,

The Old Fellow
Photo credit Cllik Photography
#running #halfmarathon #medicaldoctor


Categories: RunningTags: ,

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