A Run to Remember for sure! (Reflection on the 2008 KKAD25 "Run to Remember" as part of the Pike's Peak Ascent Trail Race)
To: Keep Kids Alive Drive 25
Tom: Thanks for inviting me to run in the Pikes Peak Ascent Run to Remember in memory of the 25 people whose lives were tragically cut short. As an insurance agent for over 15 years now, I have seen my share of tragedy and appreciate your efforts to mitigate injuries and deaths through this noble campaign. While you and our teammate, Matthew Everson, did not summit, you were with me in spirit and support. Here are a few things that will truly make this a “Run to Remember.”
On this day, the roads and trails were soaked with rain in the Pikes Peak area. I watched the local news after completing the race and noticed the lead stories were mostly traffic accidents of people who just would not slow down for conditions. We need to get your message out to more people.
I have run this race 7 times now (and run the Pikes Peak Marathon twice), and I can’t think of a more memorable run. I run on Pikes Peak at least once a week during the year, so snow and ice are commonplace in the winter months. I saw a lot of people who couldn’t imagine that it would snow at this time of year. I have to admit that I was a little shocked. But preparation led me to this destination, and perseverance is what I was most proud of this day.
After reaching timberline, approximately 3 miles from the end of the race, I was told to be ready for the worst by Search and Rescue personnel. They weren’t kidding. Having climbed Pikes Peak 40 + times on Barr Trail (and 10+ times on other routes), I have some rituals I perform at certain points along the trail. There is a particular point just about ¼ mile above tree-line where a plaque is dedicated to G. Instine B. Roberts. http://www.skyrunner.com/ppcourse.htm#Memory Every time I approach this memorial, I say a little prayer and meditate about my life and the ones who’ve gone before me. As I approached this time, I meditated and prayed for the souls and the families of those children on the back of my shirts (YES, I wore both of them, it was cold!!). I have never met any of these people, but I know they were loved by their families, and no matter how long it has been, they are missed. I prayed for healing and forgiveness for all those affected by these tragic deaths. I’ll admit, 25 mile per hour winds whipping pea sized snow into my bare legs and face was quite a bit of pain, but I knew it was insignificant to the pain these families have endured.
At the end of the event, I found myself shivering uncontrollably in the medical hut at the top of the peak. There I found comfort in people who did not know me, but helped me with medical attention and warm blankets. Some were paid, and some were volunteers, but they all knew they needed to help me and other runners recover. I hope this Run to Remember will help those families we ran for recover as well. Keep on pushing your message. It’s important.
Michael Everson, Colorado Springs, CO Pikes Peak Ascent Finisher 2008
Yesterday I put our Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® sign out for the first time. I placed it just in front of the stop sign at Winston and Moreland. At the end of the day I brought it in wondering if it made any difference.
My husband, John, went to put the sign out again today. Timing is everything because as he was placing it in the ground, a woman talking on a cell phone came by. The woman stopped her phone conversation to tell John she "really liked the sign. It made her slow down as she drove (on Winston Road) the day before...".
One sign, one day. I couldn't believe it myself.
We as neighbors can do this!
Jen - Philadelphia, PA (Chestnut Hill Neighborhood)
"KKAD25 is an opportunity for residents to help solve speeding problems in their neighborhoods. Instead of calling the police to complain, they take an active role in the effort to slow drivers down. The campaign brings people out of their homes to talk to each other about the problems we all face together. KKAD25 communicates concern. The campaign gets the ball rolling."
Sgt. Dave Schurr, Bolingbrook, IL Police Department
"Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 empowers each of us to make a difference in our neighborhood. It unites neighbors in taking charge, sending a message that safe driving speed is a priority. I like ability to make a difference for my children!"
Carolyn Kunz, State College, PA
In Oro Valley, AZ, you will find refuse containers stickered with KKAD25 decals. As a result of this effort, Ofcr. Mike Stevenson of the Oro Valley Police Department says, "We have passively empowered the community through the use of the decals. This creates an awareness that continues to grow and manage speeds within neighborhoods where problems arise."
"From the city's perspective, a benefit of KKAD25 is that unlike engineering solutions, now we always have something to offer citizens who want to take proactive steps to reduce speeding in neighborhoods."
John Amberson, Transportation Planner, City of Oceanside, CA
"We received the signs on Tuesday and have seen a huge difference. Five of us neighbors put the signs out at the same time and you could hear the cars down shift and you could see them looking down at their speedometers. Our subdivsion consists of one road and one cul de sac, but we feed into two other larger developments with lead foots heading home, so these signs have worked as a great reminder that the limit is 25 mph on our street." Mikki - Medina, OH
A friend from Lincoln, Nebraska shared the following with me recently.
A young girl observed her dad traveling faster than the posted 25 mph speed limit. She alerted him by saying, "Dad, you’re not keeping kids alive, you need to drive 25."
Our children are watching our every move. May we always seek to act in ways deserving of their emulation as they grow into future adults.
….I want you to know the signs are working great. I notice almost everyone slowing down. A lot of my daycare parents have asked where to get them…
A Daycare provider.
… "I have a lead foot and tend to forget how fast I am going, and it irks me to no end when I realize I am going 35 - 40 in a residential area! Seeing those signs keeps me much more aware and I know they have impacted my driving habits."
An Omaha Mom