From the Heart: An Update of Inspiration

I checked in on some of our past inspirational athletes and wanted to pass along an update. I know that for me it’s easy to make excuses, but this group reminds me that every day is a gift and I have the choice to take advantage of that gift or waste it, the choice is mine. I want to seize every day and these guys inspire me to do that.

Iram Leon

Iram Leon: This dad with terminal brain cancer caught my attention when he WON the Gusher Marathon while pushing his daughter in a stroller. A brain tumor hasn’t slowed him down, instead he is living every day to the fullest and spending all the time he can with his adorable daughter, Kiana.  He traveled to Oregon last summer to participate in the Spartan Race with his brother, runs all sorts of events in the Texas area and is running the Boston Marathon next Monday. He was excited to qualify for Boston, but was equally elated to run his daughter’s first 5k with her and do the Spartan Race with his brother. This guy is all about family, friends and loved ones, not to mention he’s an amazing athlete and annoyingly humble. Besides the 26.2 in Boston, he’s excited that his parents and daughter have been running a 5k every month this year. Not wasting a single day, not complaining about how unfair a brain tumor is and definitely not making excuses, Iram Leon inspires me even more today.

D.J. DeAustria

D.J. DeAustria: This guy doesn’t let a new hip slow him down and keeps a positive attitude in everything he does, seeing something good in each and every event. It’s easy to see why D.J. was given the Ironhead’s Team Spirit Award in 2014. His business is keeping people mobile with Thai massage therapy at Bodywork for the Active and he stays plenty active himself. This guy did a couple of half marathons, the Boston Marathon, Boise 70.3, Ironman Canada, Lake Stevens 70.3 and Ironman Arizona, JUST IN 2014. He always encourages others and even traveled to Kona last year to support athletes in THE Ironman Triathlon.  His teammates are like family for him and it’s easy to see why he’s admired among the Ironheads. Refusing to slow down, D.J. has some serious events on the calendar for 2015, including St. George 70.3, Ironman Coeur da Lane, Ironman Canada and Lake Steven 70.3. Always encouraging others, without realizing he’s such an inspiration, I’m excited to see what the 2015 racing season brings D.J.

Robbin Bryant

Robbin Bryant: A motocross accident at age 21 took away many of the activities Robbin loved, but he didn’t let that stop him. He still spends hours at the gym and traded motorcross for handcycle. I first read about Robbin when I ran the Vancouver USA Marathon, he was one of the athletes participating in the marathon. I was hoping to meet up with him for the 2014 Vancouver Marathon, but life continued to give him challenges. Bad weather and bike problems forced him to drop out of the race, followed with a heart condition. Robbin had two surgeries and has fought to come back and race for the 2014 season. He kicked it off with the Corvallis Half Marathon and plans to come back for the Vancouver USA Marathon this year. I admire that this guy because he refuses to give up, instead he gets stronger with whatever life throws his way.

Bob Hammitt

Bob Hammit: I ‘ran’ into this guy at the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon and he’s inspired me ever since. He was running the entire 26.2 miles with a full size American flag and the crowd loved it.  Held on the 4th of July, it was timely in that regard, but the meaning was deeper than just our country’s independence. He started this after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and aims at a marathon a year with the red, white and blue. Besides keeping patriotism alive, he’s a high school teacher and has an amazing page on Facebook called More Than Half Full. The bombers tried to keep our country in fear and take away Patriot’s Day for Boston. Instead, their cowardly act only demonstrated just how strong Boston is and how quickly a country will unite. His page focuses on uplifting ‘news’ since most of the stuff we come across is so negative.  I love to read the stories he shares, full of compassion, heart and most importantly hope. This guy continues to amaze me and I think everyone needs to follow his page and spread the positive energy. He’s been busy preparing to run the Boston Marathon again and I’m hoping to ‘run’ into him again one of these days at an event.

Joe Dudman

Joe Dudman: This guy continues to race all over the community and win. He’s willing to push himself in a way I can’t even begin to comprehend. While you usually see his name among the top three finishers, this is the most humble and supportive guy I’ve ever met. He has every reason to be braggy, but you’ll never hear him brag. Joe is easy to catch up with, since he’s a Run Oregon Blogger. He hasn’t slowed down a bit since turning 50 and is still collecting race shirts. Just reading his race schedule makes me tired, but he inspires me to go a little harder. He encourages and supports runners around him and I think we need more guys like Joe in the world. Follow him on the Run Oregon Blog and you will see what I’m talking about.

Andie Proskus

Andie Proskus:  A muscular disease continues to challenge Andie, but the she still tries to make the most of every day and encourage others along the way. After a successful fundraiser on social network, Andie was able to get an improved walker and likes to walk it along the waterfront, even tackling the steel bridge. Her body is too weak to do the events she once did, but she loves to bring a smile and participate when she can. Andie is now an Ambassador for Uberthons and will be singing the National Anthem at Run Like a Mother. She loves being a part of the Portland running community and it’s easy to see why. She has some amazing ladies that help her continue to be a part of races by pushing her in a racing stroller, just another reminder runners are pretty awesome. She brings her warm smile and encouragement and keeps them company for the run. She’ll be out at the Race for the Roses this weekend, so make sure to say ‘HI’ if you’re out there too.

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