The brisk air caresses our faces as we stand anxiously awaiting our race. As my eyes shift across the horizon, Santa Monica Pier looms nearby with hearts and smiley faces dancing across the Ferris Wheel. FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE, GOOOO! The encouraging screams and shouts are deafening, as Brandon Zhu and Shue Vang launch from the start
at lightning speed. The energy in the crowd is electrifying. Who knew that two people with
Muscular Dystrophy would be leading the pack in a Half Marathon?
The morning started early at the leadership house, as friends were preparing to race. All seem to have a
pre-race routine; most involve consuming carbs. I entered the main house to find that people were bustling around, grabbing breakfast, and ensuring they were ready to run the Cupid Dash. Today was a special day for everyone participating, especially for our friends Shue and Brandon who suffer from Muscular Dystrophy, a mobility-limiting condition.
Early Sunday morning, February 16th, the F5 Challenge members and leadership would be pushing Shue and Brandon in the Cupid Dash to help fulfill their dreams of running a race. Members had already raised money to purchase two specially-designed racing wheelchairs
for this purpose. As we took off from the start line, Brandon and Shue’s faces were beaming. They could sense energy, feel the ocean breeze in their hair, and hear the encouragement of fellow racers and spectators. Calvin Kim, F5 Director, told the team before we started “Let's try to keep out in front of the race for the first loop.” And that happened. Shue and Brandon were out in front of the pack for the first two miles, blazing along at sub-seven minute/mile speeds. Several F5ers took turns partnering as running teams with the athletes in the racing chairs.
As we crossed the Finish Line, at what seemed like a very short time later, both race chairs and a large group of F5ers finished together, fast and strong. Spirits were high as the collective energy of teamwork made everyone feel like winners. We finished the day out with post-race brunch at the leadership house, lots of photos, laughs, beach volleyball, and then lunch at a Thai Restaurant. The Bible says in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” All those involved in the Cupid Dash would heartily agree.