MEMPHIS – Where People Show Up!

Blake Leeper holds many American and international records.

Forrest Spence was a sweet 55-day-old baby boy who died early and whose parents have sponsored the Forrest Spence 5K Run for 14 years now. On August 29 it was attended by 1200 people, 1006 of whom ran the event of whom I was one.

I finished 4th out of the 6 in the 70-plus event but the best part was participating in the great outdoors at the famous Shelby Farms urban outdoor park. It was hot and after about two weeks of 105 degrees or more killer August weather it was an inspiring sight to see dozens of cars parked on the lawn at P2 parking lot for this special event.

Never discount the value of a day in the great outdoors.

The run earned over $14,000 in special equipment for non-medical needs for these lovely little kids who are suffering from serious health issues. My highlight was being there when 14-year-old Mary Wilson crossed the finish line on crutches at 1:24:24 and was ushered to her wheelchair by two caring adults. Heart-warming. Seeing that makes it all worthwhile and I found this run pretty hard in the unforgiving Southern sun. Bring on September and we do it again!

Memphis is a place famed for backing good causes – one of the charitable centers of the country every year and people show it by just showing up for worthy fundraisers such as this. An avalanche of data now shows how important slightly strenuous outdoor activity is for us of all ages. Even in a pandemic.

It was only fitting that this event came during the para-Olympics in Tokyo showing once again that where there’s a will there’s away. No-one can call those folks handicapped, in fact the term has been excised thanks to the Mary Wilsons and the others who prove once again, that there’s always a way around obstacles. Long may that be true!