“A Run to Remember: The Hope or Die! ‘DC’ Finale’.”
“It was beautiful! I swear once I woke up it felt like I had stepped into the happy ending of an awesome adventurous fairy tale. The weather was perfect and everything seemed effortless. My 20+ miles were a piece of cake, all my media interviews flowed with precision, and the whole day was totally euphoric.”
After 6 full months from October 15th to April 10th, and 7 pair of Nike’s, thousands of Bottles of PowerAde & Smart Water, Hundreds of Packets of E-Boost, several insoles from Ortholite, 12 bars of deodorant from Right Guard, and last but not least cool & warm running clothes from Spira Sportswear, to Key’s to the cities & proclamations, the 7th CNN segment, 8 road side rest room – toilet paper stories, from camping out in ‘Pearl’ to all the restaurants & hotels and the support from people following Hope or Die! to inspire those who need it most from Santa Monica, Ca. to Washington, DC and just a week later today on the 17th, it’s just a memory. Where do I start??? How about the beginning. So October 15th, 2009. It’s 7am on the Santa Monica Pier. (the typical early morning chilly fog is Los Angeles, Ca.) where I prepped for the start of my 3rd run across North America. Friends and supporters showed up and ready for full support. Among them, was awesome & amazing Andrea ‘Coach K’ Kooiman (Shout Out to: Bryan, Delilah & Braden!) We spoke for only a few minutes before the run…
…and just a few during the 3 1/2 she did before doing the other 3 1/2 back to where we started. Little did I know, that after (almost) 6 months, she and her ‘We Rock’ kids would be following me, and my team Andrea ‘Dre-Ski’ Batel & Mike ‘M.Dot’ Hansen,
the entire time OR that she would ‘FLY’ all the to DC, (AND keeping it all a well kept secret might I add), just to run the FULL and last 20 miles with me into DC. I swear the moment I recognized her couldn’t have been any more genuine,
I lit up an felt like Ashton Kutcher Punk’d me with just one last episode of ‘Punk’d’. We hugged as I wondered how in the world this happened, then my eyes went to Mike, realizing he must of set things up just to surprise me. Beautiful! It was one of the most amazing feeling one could ever explain. Ohhh, and she was ready. Geared up with Asics ‘We Rock’ apparel and we even presented her with her own Spira Sponsored Hope or Die! jackets, that just so happen to match her blue she.
We did the media, and took off approximately at 8:15am.
Our pace was at a cool 8 minute mile and I enjoyed every moment of it. During the run we talked about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING! Trust me, when I say everything from running to marriage, to credit & kids, to Life, Love & Happiness! Andrea was in talks with Bill a lobbyist in DC who was extremely instrumental in awareness for the finale’ thank you Bill and your camera-guy!
It was such a euphoric day that words give it no justice. The birds were chirping louder, the trees seemed to all be greener, the details of the blades of grass, clouds, lady bugs, and every other thing I noticed, was beautiful. Susan rode the whole way with us and took pics the entire time. I think she enjoyed herself, she was joy to be around. Her spirit was free and she fit right in with Hope or Die!
Take a look at the photos:
My team were Masters at what they had learned an committed to doing for the past 6 months and the day just seemed so effortless!
I was so proud of all the support from people all over America who came out for the end: Susan from Hawaii, Andrea Kooiman from Orange County, Ca. Can’t wait to meet the kids!!! Chante Sommerville (Thank you for the everyday consistent support), Fredricka Mitchell, and Mark Baker from Atlanta, Ga. Patrick Armitage from New York, which we had a private toast & video presentation of road footage to help share our adventure.
The night ended with a nice glass of wine and a HUGE smile on my face!!!
The taste of Hope & achievement is sooo sweet, I can only continue to do my life’s work and produce more events that bring hope and inspire the people!
The Memories: MY most fondest memories are the euphoric country side backdrops that you cannot see by driving or flying over it. It’s the moments that make you stop and pause because you connect with the real reasons of why life is soo beautiful. I remember before any of it started Nik confiding in me that she believed I could do it, and I’ll always appreciate and respect her for all her support. I remember the bond my team and I shared from start to finish including the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll never forget Mike and Andrea for their commitment in doing their part to help make this world a better place by inspiring others to follow their lead. I Love you guys. The stories from the people we’ve met who encourage us as young adults to be in no hurry to grow up and get old, who confided to us in out personal moments that ‘What you all are doing is what life is all about’. The people who are struggling out there and who I may never meet, I just hope that -whether through my running or not- you are inspire to live with hope and look at tomorrow with a brighter future. I remember the support from day: 1, the days I died and the days I was re-born, I will always remember the convos with JAH who always had the insight to assist me in coming out of my shell. Annika Young for believing and fighting when no one wanted to listen, good luck and Im proud of your leap of faith and everything on your horizon. I remember the people who stopped while in the middle of the California desert and gave us water as their way of choosing hope. I remember the rain, sleet, heat and snow which served as the coldest winter ever for me. Mike & Matt Simmons, thank you for everything! Scott Silberman, Tshombe Roberts, Todd Crowe, & Benny Blanko I cannot wait till we go into post. I remember the things my team and I had never done, but high 5’d each other after having done it! I remember the IT Band injury that made me wanna quit sooo many times: the pain was excruciating, I remember the support from Bryant of Explosion Sports-Spirit wear, Jameel, Brent Langely and Alana Condon for putting us up in Phoenix when hotels were’nt showing us any love. I’ll always remember Tanya Cobb & CAU for organizing an awesome homecoming arrival reception for me with the CAU track team and board of Trustees, ‘Shout Out To The Nupes!’ Rahsidi: Thanks for the clothes brah, Rasheed, Muji, Mark, Steve, Ryan, Vern, Jevon, Marlon Jihad, Dave, MO, Phillip Neely, Tarvis (and Mel) G.White, Accassio, Torrey, Nas, Nigel, Dennis, Shani, Chris, Shevy, Keny, Ramone, & my Dean Orantez, Checo, Kieth, TeJuan, Derrick, Rob, Jeff, Argenae, Lincoln, E. Lamb, and all of GK and brahs across the country. I remember the photos from Darnell Wilburn, Carlton Mackey, Andy Ferrell, Keith Papke and Corey Jenkins, you guys all have an amazing eye and ridiculous talent, I thank you for shooting me and capturing the no so busted ‘running across the country’ side of me. I remember the infamous ‘Truck Stop’, the fights, silent moments, the good times & laughs, the calls texts and emails of support to keep going, the ‘El Paso, Tx.’ snow storm before Spira Sportswear coming through to provide product and monetary support. I remember the salt sweet glued to my face and the looks I get from strangers who see it. CAU, ASU, El Paso Turkey Trot, Rham with Pecos Economy Inn, in Pecos Texas for organizing and funding the India run and donating me some of his land, Jon McHugh for the Kapon and Grammy viewing party hook-up, AJ, Ryan Cameron, Eric with Wilson Middle School, Shannon, Marshall, Highland Springs High School in Va. Bobby Bennett with KPMG and speaking mentor Dr. Dennis Kimbro for pointers and delivery along with representation advice, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX affiliates that covered my story, special shout out to the best local segments I’ve seen yet:
Washington, DC: (Copy & paste) http://www.wusa9.com/sports/story.aspx?storyid=99819&catid=162
The Hotels: Hampton Inns, Holiday Inn Express’, The Sheratons, Marriotts, Crowne Plaza’s, Towne Place,
The Resurants: Claim Jumper, Olive Garden, On The Border, Chilli’s, Corino’s, Cracker Barrel, and soo many more! Thank You!
Everything, from the fears, doubts, dis-beliefs to the stares, the smiles, the frowns, the donations, the weather, the entire initiative that all started with a single thought to want to inspire the people. And We DID IT!
My Hope or Die run is dedicated to everyone out there who may have lost ‘Hope in some way shape or form and is looking for some inspiration to find a way out. This run is dedicated to: Karthik Rajaram, the man I never met, but lost Hope and killed his 3 sons, wife and mother in law after not being in a postion to provide for his family and who’s story can be found here, with a snippet below: http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/10/06/california.murder.suicide/index.html
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — A man distraught because he could not find work shot and killed his mother-in-law, his wife and three sons and then killed himself inside a home in an upscale San Fernando Valley neighborhood, police said.
Police say Karthik Rajaram left suicide notes taking responsibility for the murders of his family.Authorities said the man had an MBA in finance but appeared to have been unemployed for several months and had worked for major accounting firms, such as Price Waterhouse.
The two-story rented home is in a gated community in Porter Ranch, about 20 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The shootings were discovered after 8:20 a.m. Monday, after a neighbor called police to report that the wife had failed to pick her up to take her to her job at a pharmacy, Deputy Chief of Police Michel Moore said.
Ed Winter, assistant chief from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, identified the suspect as Karthik Rajaram, 45.
Winter said the victims included Rajaram’s mother-in-law, Indra Ramasesham, 69, and his 19-year-old son Krishna Rajaram, a Fulbright Scholar and honor student at UCLA.
In short, ‘Never Deprive anyone of Hope, it may be all they have’ -Jonathon Prince
What’s next for me? All I can do is to continue pursuing the vision I was given to bring to the humanity. I will be sharing my story around the world with speaking engagements, appearances, books, and more runs worldwide. One thing’s for sure my dream team & I intend to grow and move forward and use my life to give back to the people!