When did you start to feel like a runner and why?
The first time I actually felt like a runner was when I finished running a full mile without stopping. I had been trying for months, working out with MUSC Boot Camp Marines and I remember three of them standing there at Hampton Park talking when I came around the corner. I told them, with a big smile, that I had just finished running a mile. They congratulated me and went back to talking. A few seconds later I totally puked. The Marines ran over, all excited, yelling "great job!". That was the first time I felt like maybe I was a runner.
Later that year, I ran a few 5Ks, the next year I ran a half marathon and then next year I ran two marathons. I still remember driving by a group run three times before I stopped because I was not sure I was really a runner. Funny that your mind can work so hard to protect you from something that can be so good. I just needed to train my brain to know what was good and then I felt like a runner.
What is your favorite thing about running?
I love that it's not just an activity. It's an adventure, It's a way of life. It's the struggle of life all balled up into a single event. I wrote something about why I love ultra races and how I feel when I reach some crazy distance or after running for over 24 hours "There is this point in an Ultra when you go numb and your brain finally gives up trying to stop your body. That is the point that I truly love. I don’t really think it’s a runner’s high, I think it’s greater. I believe it’s your inner being, your soul, taking over when your body just can’t go anymore. I like to think that, for now, this is the closet I can be to the ones that I have loved and lost."
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not running?
I love being with my family. Sometimes that involves running, but mostly its just us being together making memories.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition and food?
Turkey. Nothing else really comes close.
We do a free 5K in Awendaw each year. I think its going on 7 years. Then we come home and watch football and go out in the yard at half time to throw the ball. Jen and I did this with Peyton from the time he was two. It's been a few years without the football tradition, but Miles might just catch a ball this year.
What does the local running community mean to you?
Everything! When we lost Peyton the running community would not let us go. The running community stayed with us. They hugged us, they ran with us. They let us cry during runs. They would not let us stay in our bed and hide from the world (even when that was the only thing we wanted to do). I truly believe that without the running community I would not be here today and our sweet Miles would never have been born. That's why we share him with the running community. They are part of his story.
How do you feel about being chosen to receive this award?
That's a tough one. As open as I am with my life, being recognized for that life always feels strange. I looked at the videos from last year's recipients and I was blown away. Being nominated was a really nice surprise, but to be selected as one of these five people is unreal. I share my story, our story, because it's what feels right to me. So the short answer is that I am honored and humbled to be among so many inspiring people. The long answer is just me rambling on and on.
How do you hope people will feel after hearing your story?
I hope that people will feel the power of running. I hope they will feel the love that we have felt from the running community and the love we have for everyone in our lives. I hope they will feel a connection to our son Peyton and want to know more about him and the way he lived his life. I hope they will feel the desire to go for a run, join a group of runners, or sign up for some crazy race.
To learn more about Noah and his inspiring story click here: http://fleetfeetmountpleasant.com/news/the-power-of-running-to-inspire