This is from Mike Anello, the fine walk-on, special team player and Academic All-American who is still a star!
I wanted to send a brief update (promise I’ll keep this as short as possible) to everyone who helped me raise money for both my St. Baldrick’s event as well as the Escape from Alcatraz race I did as part of the St. Baldrick’s team. I ended up raising over $14,000 for this tremendous cause, and the two events combined totaled close to $60,000.
The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon was a couple weeks ago on June 10th. It was also my first time in San Francisco. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I wasn’t able to train the way I hoped to, but was still able to beat my goal of 3 hours, finishing at 2:58. Here’s a link to some pictures as well as a video of my finish (http://www2.brightroom.com/97719/184 not everyone starts at once, so you’ll see a slight difference in my actual time versus what I cross at). This was by far the hardest course I’ve ever raced. Everyone from the pros on down had very slow average bike and run times compared to a typical courses (the winner finished with a 23.5 mph average for the 18 mile ride, he’d typically do this in 26+ mph).
The main reason I wanted to share this email was because of two moving experiences. You’ll see everyone jumping off the Ferry in one of the pictures on the link below. Due to the rough terrain around Alcatraz, they take us just off shore of the island and everyone jumps off the Ferry. Over 2200 individuals empty off the boat in under 6 minutes.
I was near the front of the group before we jumped off the boat (don’t worry as soon as we actually started swimming I assumed my position holding up the rear…). After the National Anthem played, I looked down and saw two men pick up a 60 year old man and carry him to the edge. This man was a parapalegic, and he wouldn’t let this disability stop him from Escaping Alcatraz. I got choked up (and am as I write this note) as I watched this all unfold. I’m a firm believer that anyone can achieve whatever goal they set for themselves, large or small, if they commit 110%. Never listen to the naysayers (there might be a handful of individuals who ever thought I could make the ND team, let alone make a difference and most of those people’s last name was Anello). Seeing this only solidified that thought for me. I wish you all could have seen this.
The second experience I had came during the run. As I mentioned, I was a bit underprepared for how hard this race would be. Unfortunately, this caused my quads to start to cramp at about mile marker 3 of the 8 mile run (I’m sure everyone has heard their parents tell them they walked up hill both ways in the snow, but this race I swear to you was uphill both ways in sand…). I told myself there was no way I could stop, because if I did, my quads might completely go.
For the next 5 miles I focused on one thing, and one thing only, Xavier Murphy. As many of you may recall, I devoted this year to a good friend, Xavier, who was a football manager for the team at ND. He never had anything other than a smile from ear to ear. He found out this past Fall that he had leukemia, and within a month had lost his battle. Without Xavier’s help, I know there’s no chance I would have made my goal.
I can’t thank you all enough. Many of you have been contributing to my St. Baldrick’s events for four years. Thank you for all your generosity.
Until we find a cure,