Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Game's Afoot...

a memorial birthday challenge in memory of Thomas Aston...

In February of 2008, I walked into Marathon Sports Brookline to buy my first pair of running shoes. "What are you wearing now?" the incredibly handsome Spencer Aston asked me. "Um well..polio shoes..." Thirty minutes later I walked out of Marathon Sports with my first pair of running shoes and a new friend. Spencer and his Fenway Quintet played a benefit concert for Team McManus' 2009 Boston Marathon run. So when Spencer asked me if I would help him fund raise for his first marathon run in San Diego on June 3, I jumped at the opportunity. Spencer conceptualized "The Game's Afoot...: The memorial birthday challenge is a unique event where every participant gets to choose the challenge. Options are based o participant's age and you have the choice of selecting a distance challenge or a time challenge. For example, if you are 38 years old you have the option of completing a 38K run or a run of 38 minutes in length. It's completely up to you! If you wish to participate as a walker, you can choose the memorial 2 mile walk."

I messaged my facebook friends, we spread word about the facebook event; I posted in L Street and Merrimack Valley Striders running groups pages. I reached out to my yoga friends who run. I helped secure raffle prizes. There was an option for virtual runners/walkers. If people opted to not participate for $30 which included 5 raffle tickets and a New Balance tech shirt (photo below), they would make a $5 donation and be entered into the raffle.

Fifteen people registered for the event including virtual runners. We'd hoped there would be more registrants on game day (which did not happen). Bananas and bagels were donated for apres run/walk. Spencer and his wife Chelsea bought water for the particpants. Despite the 'low' turnout, spirits ran high. Chelsea and Spencer set up a water table at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir just as they would have if 100 people had shown up for the day's event. Team McManus was delighted to be reunited on this glorious day for a wonderful cause and opted for the 2 mile power walk.

After the event, we had a chance to visit with Spencer's sister, her husband and their two adorable daughters. Spencer and his family talked about Spencer's dad. Boy I sure wish I would have known him. He died seven years ago from leukemia. He was an artist, a thespian, a writer - a true Renaissance man. His signature was the design Spencer used for the tech shirts. Thomas Aston's presence was palpable as the family shared memories.

We talked about the girls doing a lemonade stand and selling the New Balance tech shirts that were left over and a benefit concert in his sister's home town in Connecticut to help Spencer meet and exceed his fund raising goal. The song I chose for today's blog post is Fanfare. Spencer is a quiet, humble man who lives an honest life of integrity and passion. He does so with little fanfare. Despite being a trumpet player, Dr. Aston (he has a Ph.D.) does not blow his own horn. So I'm doing it for him. Open your heart and your checkbook and donate whatever you can to Spencer's San Diego Marathon run as part of Team in Training on his fund raising page. If you'd like to donate to receive the New Balance tech t shirt valued at $40, please email Spencer at Please take a moment and read his story on his blog, Running With My Father. Tissue warning!

“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” - Vince Lombardi

Here is to your finest hours Spencer as you run with your father at the 2012 San Diego Marathon! God speed.

From my heart to yours
With deepest, admiration and total gratitude

1 comment:

Worth-Waiting-For said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's relative. My 21 yr. old cousin-in-law has been battling lymphoma (just got great news back!), and another cousin-in-law passed away in his early twenties from leukemia. Team-In-Training is a wonderful organization. My husband and I trained and raised money through them a few years back and we're thinking about signing up for another event this year. That organization does such amazing things! Go Team!!!!