PAR III Sandpoint, Idaho…. May 2016

Initially after PAR 1 in 2010 I had felt my mission was done….but it wasn’t. I felt the same in 2010, again it wasn’t. So here I am over Memorial Day Weekend in North Idaho in 2016 and my mission is now complete. The total number of fatalities in Iraq since 10/15/10 and in Afghanistan since 11/11/12 total 300 and 300 more flags needed to be placed after 300 more miles had been run. I would circle a 1.05 bike path in a city park this time and when was aid and done 6870 miles have been run for names and faces I have never met but whose impact on our world cannot be forgotten. The first day I covered 50 miles and 48 on the second, 48 on the third and then my body began to rebel. Age has a subtle way of enlightening us about our mortality. Tendinitis in my ankle had slowed me to a shuffle and knowing that I would not finish as planned on Memorial Day morning, I slowed to a walk and reflected. I had always had contact and had done a mile for each and every name on those flags. Was I doing 300 miles more for me or for them? I needed help to complete this mission. I needed friends to run a mile with a flag and their mile would be just as important as mine. I had to let go of me and say WE completed this run. They came as I requested. Through word of mouth and phone calls, and on that warm Saturday morning they ran, covering 100 miles in a few hours and the goal of finishing Memorial Day morning would be achieved. As I walked with my flag, my friends would run by and seeing them move away from me down the path was difficult at first but then I realized there was no room to be selfish, that the best thing I would ever do was to include others as I always had. So many people have had a connection to PAR. Host families, friends who wrote on ribbons, people who stopped to do a mile. It has been a mixture of young and old taking part and through every community I ever passed through, footsteps are emblazoned on the asphalt and names and faces forever remembered…..20160530_084734

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