I have a secret to tell you.
I am Superman.
No, sadly that’s not it.
The secret is I didn’t want to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Not at all. Training this year became work. It was exhausting, I had no interest in it and the idea of running 42.2km ever again after my last marathon was something I had decided wasn’t for me.
This year’s marathon is now one of the best experiences of my life.
I’ll tell you why:
I agreed to run in the first place because I love my team.
I’ve never been big on dressing up, but when I put on my Superman costume to run with the Justice League Runners, I love it! When I first agreed to do it two years ago with JP Hernandez (Batman) I assumed I’d tough it out because it was a great cause, and that would be the end of it.
Now I’d be happy to run every race for the rest of my life in that suit. The laughs, the high fives, the hugs, the crazy looks, the smiles –and, yes, there’s even singing and dancing– make every race a joy.
And as usual, I loved every second of the race with the team. We had so much fun! Including the impromptu dance session in the middle and the singing of “500 miles” randomly throughout! What can I say, things get weird with us.
But here was the problem with that, most of the team was only doing the half-marathon. Green Lantern, Batman, Thor, and I were doing the full. That meant an extra 21.1km without most of my happy gang. It was also the 21.1km that I hadn’t wanted to do in the first place.
Luckily I ran into some genuine superheroes in the second half. One of them was Jean-Paul Bedard. I don’t know what to say about this man. I barely know him, yet joining him on only a small part of his journey is now one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of my life.
Jean-Paul ran Scotiabank Marathon three times.
It was not his third time running the marathon ever. He ran it three times in a row. That’s 126.6km! He started at 10pm the night before and when the team and I caught up to him he was on the second half of his third and final time around! (I assure you this is the only way this man would ever be running slow enough that I could keep up with him)
Jean-Paul did this because he was sexually abused and raped as a boy.
It didn’t happen to me and it gives me a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach to write that.
I grew up loving Superheroes. I grew up wanting so badly to be Superman. I grew up thinking there was nothing greater in the world then selflessly trying to save others.
But there’s always villains. The people who rain destruction on the world.
What happened to Jean-Paul should never have happened. It should never have happened to the people in my family that I love so dearly. It should never have happened to friends I’ve made.
It should never happen to anyone. Period. #ITSNEVEROKAY
I’ll say it again, IT IS NEVER OKAY!!!
Jean-Paul ran the marathon three times so people would learn that lesson. A lesson that should never even need to be taught.
So, I got to run with this man. This great, wonderful, funny, fantastic, superhero of a man. I got to cross the finish line with this man and share in this glorious victory, and I had fun. I had so much fun! We laughed, we joked, we shared funny and stupid stories.
It was one of the best days ever. I’ll remember it forever.
I’m so happy I ran that marathon.