“The purpose of the Kyle Pease Foundation (KPF) is to create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports.” – The Kyle Pease Foundation

Like many athletes in the Atlanta area, I was aware of the work that The Kyle Pease Foundation was doing. But other than contributing to their fundraising efforts, I had never been involved personally. Until earlier in January, when Tina messaged me asking if I would run the Publix Georgia Half Marathon with her. If Naomi, Tina’s daughter didn’t mind going super slow, I was honored and excited to be part of Team Naomi taking on Publix Georgia Half Marathon with The Kyle Pease Foundation.

The Kyle Pease Foundation took 40+ teams to the Publix Georgia Half Marathon this year. I’m sharing my experience from the race weekend with Team Naomi.

Georgia Half Marathon

The Inspiration

Team dinner the night before involved speakers including Brent and Kyle Pease. My favorite speaker at the team dinner was Kevin. I’d met Kevin and his parents earlier at the Charles Harris 10k. His Mark Twain quote, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”, resonated with me especially as I struggle with being a slower runner. 

Kyle Pease Foundation
Athlete dinner the night before the race. Photo: The Kyle Pease Foundation

The People

From Helen who managed all the logistics including 300+ emails to the volunteers like Mike, Megan and Jim to pushers who did double duty with other stuff and a lot more people in between who made this event possible. Everyone regardless of their athletic ability was driven by just one goal – to make this the best possible experience for the athletes. 

Kyle Pease Foundation

The Grace

Having watched Brent take care of “only” 6 chairs last weekend at the Charles Harris 10K, I could not comprehend the enormity of 40+! And yet there he was with Kyle  – with a smile for everyone and more importantly ASKING every single athlete if they were comfortable and ready. The organization started with Brent and Kyle and observing the two of them, I can understand how it has grown and inspired. 

Kyle Pease Foundation
Photo: The Kyle Pease Foundation

The Start

Nervous does not begin to describe it. I was nervous about the nasty hills. Tina was nervous about her first half marathon. And Mr. FauxRunner was nervous about … the man has nerves of steel, so he probably wasn’t nervous at all. But we were all excited to take Naomi on her tour of Atlanta!

Kyle Pease Foundation
All bundled up, ready for the race to start

The Feels

Seeing the sea of blue/grey race shirts line up in the dark was enough to give extra chills in the chilly morning. 

Kyle Pease Foundation
Photo: The Kyle Pease Foundation

The Cause 

I have thought of this all 3 times I’ve stood at the start line with a chair. Pushing while running is not easy, but it’s not overly hard either. Because for once, you are not running for yourself. You are running to give your athlete their best experience. Some love to go fast, some don’t care, but all of them are united in their love to run. And that alone makes you run your best. 

Kyle Pease Foundation
You run some, you walk some. But you keep moving forward together with a smile. #Inclusion

The Fun

Oh what can I say about the fun! The race was all about getting from the start to finish and everything else along the way. Much to Mr. FauxRunner’s eye rolls, Tina and I stopped for photos and some videos. I only hope that Tina had some fun too, what with me pestering her to drink and eat.

Kyle Pease Foundation

The Tears

It was such an awesome day and personally I was feeling so good that there was no cause for tears. Until I got to Mile 11 and saw #TeamLoki with these awesome signs. 

Kyle Pease Foundation
Julie and Julia knew exactly what would fill my heart with glorious happiness

The Finish Line

Crossing the finish line is the most amazing feeling, no matter how many times I’ve done it. With it being Tina’s first half marathon finish line, it was celebrations all over.

Kyle Pease Foundation

The Grit  

7 years ago, this was my very first race. In the last 3.5 miles, I was crying in pain and couldn’t walk an inch more after I crossed the finish line. This year it was Tina’s first half marathon. There was not a single word of complaint or whining, not one sigh, not one moan. Just one leg in front of another, just moving forward. Her headband read “I run for those who cannot“. And she did. True grit. 

Kyle Pease Foundation

The Future

This was my first year being actively involved with The Kyle Pease Foundation, thanks to Tina asking me to run the Publix Georgia Half Marathon with her. It has led me to my three races experiences that I treasure deeply – Heart and Soles 5k with Aiden, Charles Harris 10k with Lizzie and Publix Georgia Half with Team Naomi. I’ve come to know Tina a little and I can’t express how much I admire her; and Naomi is just a complete sweetheart. To have had the opportunity to get to know such an amazing family, I’m deeply thankful to the universe. And to Brent and Kyle for building the foundation that has brought all of us together.

If they do not mind a runner who takes twice as long as everyone else, I hope to continue to offer to help The Kyle Pease Foundation if they need anyone to push or volunteer. Even if it is for the selfish reason that Brent and Kyle make me (and everyone around them) want to be a better person, a person who can make a contribution to bring a smile to someone else.

Kyle Pease Foundation
L to R: Heart and Soles 5k with Aiden, Charles Harris 10k with Lizzie and Publix Georgia Half with Team Naomi.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” – A Tale of Two Cities

If you would still like to support and donate to The Kyle Pease Organization, you can contribute at https://crowdrise.com/team-naomi-at-georgia-publix-half-marathon

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Smitha Barki, The "FauxRunner", is a runner, triathlete, vegetarian, User Experience Professional and a mom of 2 little minions. Slow and steady, she is passionate about her fitness journey and eager to share it and help others Redefine their Impossible.
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Publix Georgia Half Marathon with The Kyle Pease Foundation
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  • SuzLyfe

    There is nothing like running a race as part of a team that represents something so much bigger than yourself. All the feels!

  • This must bring so much meaning to your running!

  • So awesome that you did this. What a great event.

  • This looks amazing! I can’t imagine how tough it would be to push a chair the entire route…but then again, it’s not about You that you’re doing it. Great job!! πŸ˜‰

    • Exactly! Because you don’t feel the pain you would if you were running by yourself.

  • I love this so much! Brought a little tear to my eye. I’d love to be able to do something like this sometime.

    • It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. Because you don’t feel the pain you would if you were running by yourself.

  • Kimberly

    It’s amazing how much a race can inspire you, while you’re also being an inspiration for others. I loved reading your recap!

    • Thank you πŸ™‚
      Our athletes are our inspirations. The joy in their face is alone worth everything.

  • hanzelboyzmama

    This is truly amazing. You have brought so much joy to so many during your runs with this! Such an inspiration to so many. Great job!

    • Thank you πŸ™‚
      Our athletes are our inspirations.

  • Katie Shepherd

    I love this post and thank you for the inspiration! It doesn’t matter how slow you go, what you are doing is so special to the ones you push to the finish line! Just precious! What a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful cause!

    • It is indeed. It was a great honor to be part of the the Kyle Pease Foundation team.

  • Rachel

    This is so awesome! I’ve never pushed anyone before but this is so inspirational. I’m going to look into how I can participate.

    • Please do! There are so many organizations that need assistance. And it’s wonderful to be involved.

  • Elaine @myRUNexperiment

    ‘Running for those who cant’ – what an inspirational recap! I don’t think anyone minded at all what pace you run. And surely the foundation was grateful to have you be part of the team and make a difference.

  • Sounds like such a great event to be involved with either as a runner or volunteer. Congrats to Tina!

    • Thank you. It was a great honor to be part of the the Kyle Pease Foundation team.

  • You quoted my fave novel from Dickens! I was so proud of you seeing Team Naomi…I teared up a few times watch your team run by. Thanks for enabling athletes to enjoy the race course. So happy to provide a little #TeamLoki for ya.

    • You are the best! Best thing to see you there. And now something to look forward every year.

  • Toni

    COngrats on a great race! This is such an amazing cause and I am happy you had a rest exeperience and was able to give that experience to someone else.

    • Thank you. It was a great honor to be part of the the Kyle Pease Foundation team.

  • Wow! I have heard a lot of great things about the race, but the pictures are epic!! I will put this on my bucket list πŸ™‚

    • It is a great race! Tough but really good one.