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Running for a Reason

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On his 39th birthday, Scott Hollander decided to run a marathon. Less than 0.01 percent of the world population has completed a marathon.

He found inspiration from his three-year-old daughter, Samantha.

Sam was born with moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss. She has worn hearing aids since she was 10 weeks old and attends bimonthly sessions with hearing and speech specialists to make sure her development is on track. Scott’s wife, Kim, suggested he run the marathon on behalf of AG Bell.

“I was impressed with the fact the mission of the group is to help kids like Sam, but not only kids, but like us as parents and family…that just seemed like it resonated the most with me,” he says.

He signed up for the 2021 Marine Corps Marathon after seeing it was great for first time marathoners and noting its convenient location — they live with their dog Charley in Baltimore, and the Marine Corps Marathon is hosted in Washington, D.C. each October.

“Running a marathon was sort of always in the back of my mind,” he says. “And I figured once I turned 39, well, I’m not getting any younger. I might as well do it sooner than later.” Until 2021, he had run a few half marathons but had not seriously trained for anything.

He had 16 weeks to train, but realized he wanted something to keep him accountable and a reason to run four days a week. Scott linked his training with the ambitious fundraising goal of $1,000 to donate to AG Bell. He hit that in less than12 hours.

“So I thought, well since I’ll be running 26.2 miles, I’ll set a goal of $2,602 dollars,” he says. “Well long story short, we beat that goal, too. We ended up raising $3,220.”

He not only hit his monetary goal but the fundraiser helped keep Scott accountable to his training. He would post an update of his training to Facebook with a link to donate every couple of weeks.

His other big motivator was Sam. “There were times when Samantha would come out of the house as I would take off for the run and she would stand near the house screaming, ‘Go, Daddy, Go!’”

That became the anthem for his race. He wanted to finish, with the secondary goal of finishing in under five hours.

On race day, he wrote Sam’s birthday on one hand and his grandfather’s on the other as motivation. “I’d always have it in the back of my mind to stay strong and stay motivated,” he said. “I’m very proud of [Sam] because she is extremely strong and I used her as an example to help keep me motivated, and then come race day, she was there at the end of the race… and sure enough, she said ‘Go, Daddy, Go!’ so that helped get me to the finish line.”

The finish line looked a little different in 2021. Weeks before race day, entrants to the Marine Corps Marathon were alerted the race was canceled because of COVID. “They gave us the option of either deferring the race to next year or running it virtually. It took me all of probably 60 seconds to think, ‘No, I’m gonna do it.’”

A Facebook group of runners came together to host a mini live event. Scott and Kim spent the night before the race planning how he’d refuel with water and where he’d see her.

“Kim was there for the full four hours, 51 minutes that I was running. And I felt terrible because she was pregnant. So I had my six months pregnant wife carrying literally all of my water for me as I’m running this marathon. I probably didn’t win any husband awards that day, but it does take a village, not only for Samantha, but for a marathon.”

He completed his goal of running a full marathon, met his time goal and surpassed his fundraising goal, but in the end, it was all for Sam. “Part of the reason why I did the marathon and went through 16 weeks of training was to serve as an example to her,” he says. “Don’t think of hearing aids as a crutch, you can do anything you want as long as you put hard work into it. Before doing the marathon, I didn’t think I could. The longest I’d ever run was 13 miles, but you put in 16 weeks of hard work and you’re able to do it. I wanted her to see that. She was the biggest supporter, and I’m happy to have her there in my corner.”

To learn more about Facebook Fundraisers for AG Bell, visit here.

Correr por una razón

En su 39 cumpleaños, Scott Hollander decidió correr una maratón. Menos del 0,01% de la población mundial ha corrido una maratón completa.

La inspiración la encontró en su hija de tres años, Samantha.

Sam nació con una pérdida auditiva bilateral de moderada a severa. Utiliza audífonos desde que tenía 10 semanas y asiste a sesiones bimensuales con especialistas en audición y habla para asegurarse de que su desarrollo va por buen camino. La esposa de Scott, Kim, le sugirió que corriese la maratón en nombre de AG Bell.

«Me impresionó el hecho de que la misión del grupo sea ayudar a los niños y niñas como Sam, pero no solo a ellos, sino también a nosotros, los padres y familiares… que fue lo que más me convenció», asegura.

Se inscribió en la Maratón del Cuerpo de Marines de 2021 tras darse cuenta de que era idónea para las personas que corrían una maratón por primera vez y de que su ubicación era perfecta: la familia vive con su perro Charley en Baltimore y la Maratón del Cuerpo de Marines se celebra en Washington, D.C. cada mes de octubre.

«Siempre tuve en mente que algún día correría una maratón», añade. «Cuando cumplí 39 años, pensé que estaba llegando a una edad y que mejor sería hacerlo pronto que tarde». Hasta 2021, había corrido algunas medias maratones, pero no se había entrenado seriamente para correr en ninguna de ellas.

Disponía de 16 semanas para entrenar, pero se dio cuenta de que necesitaba algo que le sirviera para rendir cuentas y una razón para correr cuatro días a la semana. Scott vinculó su entrenamiento con el ambicioso objetivo de recaudar 1.000 USD que donaría a AG Bell, algo que conseguiría en menos de 12 horas.

«Así que pensé que, dado que correré 26,2 millas, me fijaré el objetivo de 2.602 USD», señala. «Para no alargarme mucho, también conseguí este objetivo. Terminamos recaudando 3.220 USD».

No solo logró su objetivo monetario, sino que la recaudación de fondos ayudó a Scott a rendir cuentas sobre su entrenamiento. Solía publicar su evolución en Facebook con un enlace para realizar una donación cada dos semanas.

Su otro gran incentivo era Sam. «Hubo momentos en que Samantha salía de la casa mientras yo me disponía a correr y gritaba cerca de la puerta: “¡vamos papi, vamos!”».

Se convirtió en el himno de su carrera. Deseaba llegar a la meta, con el objetivo secundario de hacerlo en menos de cinco horas.

El día de la carrera, se escribió en una mano la fecha del cumpleaños de Sam y en la otra la de su abuelo, para motivarse. «Los mantuve siempre en la mente para seguir con fuerza y motivación», dijo. «Me siento muy orgulloso de Sam porque tiene una gran fortaleza y me sirvió de ejemplo para seguir motivado. El día de la carrera me esperaba en la meta… y, por supuesto, me decía “¡vamos papi, vamos!”, lo que me ayudó a llegar a la línea de meta».

La línea de meta tenía un aspecto un poco diferente en 2021. Unas semanas antes del día de la carrera, los participantes de la Maratón del Cuerpo de Marines recibimos el aviso de que la carrera se suspendía por la pandemia. «Se nos dio la opción de aplazar la carrera hasta el próximo año o de correrla de forma virtual. Tardé unos 60 segundos en decidir: «no, voy a correrla».

Un grupo de corredores de Facebook decidió organizar un minievento en vivo. Scott y Kim se pasaron la noche anterior a la carrera planeando la manera en que repostaría agua y dónde se verían.

«Kim estuvo presente las cuatro horas y 51 minutos que duró mi carrera. La verdad es que me sentía preocupado porque estaba embarazada. Con seis meses de embarazo y cargando literalmente con todo el agua que consumiría en la maratón. Probablemente no obtuve ningún premio al mejor esposo ese día, pero hice todo lo que pude, por Samantha y para correr la maratón».

Consiguió el objetivo de correr una maratón completa, logró hacerlo en el tiempo propuesto y superó el objetivo de recaudación de fondos, si bien al final todo fue por Sam. «Parte de la razón de correr la maratón y realizar un entrenamiento de 16 semanas fue servirle de ejemplo», asegura. «No hay que pensar en los audífonos como si fueran muletas; se puede hacer lo que se quiera siempre que se realice el trabajo necesario. Antes de correr la maratón, pensaba que no podría. La distancia más larga que había corrido era de 13 millas pero, con 16 semanas de duro entrenamiento, fui capaz de hacerlo. Quería que ella fuese testigo. Era mi mayor defensora y me siento feliz de que me apoyase».

Para obtener más información sobre las recaudaciones de fondos en Facebook para AG Bell, entre en el enlace.

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