Today is Nick Mangine's birthday. He is 35 and he is preparing for his first marathon in Jacmel Haiti on January 4th. While Nick has spent months preparing for this event he has really been in training for years. He has always chosen to step up to the hard challenges. He has never been content to be on the sidelines when there has been a race to run.
Many of you first learned who Nick was shortly after the Haiti earthquake nearly five years ago. (January 12, 2010) That was when people got really interested in the 'race' that Nick and Gwenn were running.But the race began miles before the public interest.Nick sold everything and gave up a good career in 2009 and moved his wife and family to Haiti. Even that took over a year to prepare for. This truly has been a race of more than seven years at this point.
It was just that during those hard miles after the quake we all had a good view from the spectators stand. We watched the endless videos on CNN and saw the tragic photos. Our hearts bled with all of Haiti during the months that unfolded and much needed giving was drastically increased.
Over the last five years Haiti has been and still is in recovery. Cameras have turned to other tragic stories.The race continues.
Other challenging hard miles have come and gone since those early days. As a family they have dealt with more in these years than most can image.A middle of the night home invasion and gunpoint robbery, robbed at gun point on the way to the airport and more serious illnesses than I can list.They have seen death and life up close and personal.Poverty tries to suck the life out of everyone in Haiti and Nick and Gwenn are not strangers to going without.
Nick sometimes has become fatigued and weary from the run and has hit a wall and felt too tired to continue. He has experienced all all the highs and lows that a long distance runner learns to expect. He has had times when getting to the next 'water station' for refreshment could not come soon enough. He has felt the loneliness of the long miles when it seems that he is the only one on a stretch of road. He has felt the elation that comes when least expected a friend or family member shows up miraculously on the side of the road waving and yelling and holding up a sign that says "You're almost there!" or "Stay Strong!" or maybe even a funny sign like "Run faster or the kids will catch up!". Those encouragements in the form of kind words, prayers, fellowship and financial giving have been the thing that keeps Nick on track. That and the sheer love he has for his wife and the twelve children in Haiti who call him PaPa Nick. Twelve children who are being trained to run their own races. Because of PaPa Nick they will be trained and ready to sign up for this marathon we call life. They will be equipped with courage, integrity and strength. They are learning that if sometimes the good things are the hard things. But the good things are worth the effort.
So on January 4th Nick will run 26.2 miles. In the heat. In Haiti. I have no doubt he will finish. Just as I have no doubt that when this life race is over he will cross over the finish line and be greeted with "Well done my good and faithful servant. Enter now into my rest."
SO WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU????
Months ago when I heard that Nick had signed up for this marathon an idea started to run around in my head. (run around ...get it?)
In January a lot of people start new fitness plans or recommit to an old one. Now as Nick is about to run this race lets commit to run with him. Here is how you can join his race:
Decide on a goal for your year. (When I was 58 I started running. Honestly... if I can you can.) Maybe you will run, maybe walk, maybe palates, yoga or chair aerobics. It's good for you. Do it.Then in the spirit of 'running with Nick' for the long haul commit to this: each time you complete your chosen activity put one dollar in a jar. At the end of 2015 send that collected money in to Joy in Hope. Because giving is about the long haul. Running with Nick and cheering him on takes effort.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!!!!
In addition to the joy of giving you can get your very own running shirt!!!! I am going make running shirts available to everyone who commits to Run for Joy! Shirts will cost $25 with all of the profits going to kick start the giving! These will not be the cheap cotton shirts you get from your average 5K but will be made of 100% polyester so you can actually exercise in them.
HERE IS THE FUN PART:
Submit your shirt design to me and when we decide on the best design and the artist will receive a free shirt!!!
The design will be on a white or light colored shirt. It should contain the slogan " Kouri pou Lajwa" which means "Run for Joy" in creole. It can contain the Joy in Hope logo.
All entries must be received by midnight Jan 2nd to be considered. Once shirt design is selected we will be ready to take orders!
BUT don't wait for your shirt to get in the race! Let's run with Nick and " Kouri pou Lajwa" ! Please share this post liberally. If one person takes on this challenge and works out 3X a week at the end of the year that would be $156.00! Do the math. This could be an awesome way to say Happy Birthday to Nick and cheer him on to the finish~!
Design submissions can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org put Run for Joy in subject line.
Nick's facebook : https://www.facebook.com/#!/ng.mangine?fref=ts
Gwenn's facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/mangine?fref=ts
Let's go Haiti (marathon) on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Haitiultramarathon?ref=profile#!/LghMarathon
Closed group on Facebook for those who want to join the run : Kouri pou Lajwa- Run for Joy