Nowhere to Go but Up…

On LinkedIn, I participate in a group called Executive Athletes. I certainly aspire to be both….but I frequently find myself wondering if I’m deserving of either term, let alone both. I can certainly agree with their mission statement – “To inspire people to be the best that they can be and to push beyond any perceived limits they may believe that they have in order to be successful in life, business and sport”  I want to inspire others to be their best….and to push beyond my own perceived limits. In the past few years, I’ve certainly pushed beyond a number of limits, from recovering from a severe spinal injury…to losing over 80 pounds….to becoming a much better athlete as a middle-aged dad than I ever was when I was younger. 

In a discussion the other day, EA founder Ken Lubin posed the question –

“What event is on your bucket list?”

Since he had mentioned he was doing the Empire State Building Run-Up, I said that it sounded like fun. It’s ONLY 1,050 feet. Straight up.  1576 steps, and 86 flights of stairs. Only 700 runners get in each year, and fewer than 7,000 runners have completed the climb in the event’s 36 year history.  Sure. Sounds like fun.  Since it’s a ‘bucket list’ item, it’s really just a novel idea, something that I don’t have to follow through……..or so I thought.

Less than a day later, I got an e-mail from Alicia O’Neill, Director of Endurance Events for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). I was already familiar with the MMRF, because of my high school buddy, David Goad. David had been inspiring lots of people through his impressive endurance efforts…and his amazing ability to rally people around a worthy cause. In this case, David had skated to the top of a mountain, in a red cape and Spongebob Squarepants boxers, to challenge people to raise funds for the MMRF.  David also has a personal connection to the cause – his brother, Jeff Goad (who sat next to me in the high school trombone section), is a Multiple Myeloma survivor – and through treatment and incredible effort, has also achieved some amazing feats, completing both the Chicago and NYC Marathons in support of the MMRF.

But back to Alicia’s e-mail. She challenged me to sign up for the Empire State Building Run-Up in 2014. Now, I’ve tried some crazy things in my day – but up until that point, I never REALLY thought seriously about being able to do it – it’s a ‘someday’, ‘bucket list’ item. Well, bucket list items don’t happen…..unless you go out and go after them. So, I decided that I would give it a go. So…while I had donated to David’s MMRF event campaigns in the past….now I had to put my  OWN name on the line. With only about 2 months to raise funds AND train for the event, I had to think a lot bigger than I’m used to thinking.

BUT…..nothing happens without taking that first step…even if it’s the first of over 1500 of them. So….I’m going for it. On February 5, 2014, I’ll be joining the MMRF in the Empire State Building Run-Up. I’ve got a LOT of stair climbing to do to get ready……and I’m going to need YOUR help.

How can you help? You can help in two ways:

1) By making a donation to the MMRF through my ESB Run-up page

2) By sharing this story through e-mail and social media

I am very appreciative of any donations, but even more thankful to share Jeff’s story, and how he and David have inspired me to step outside my own perceived limits. While I have not suffered from Multiple Myeloma, I know what it’s like to have my world turned upside down by a physical challenge. Nearly 10 years ago, I was in a motorcycle accident that resulted in an ‘explosive fracture’ of my L2 vertebrae. My right leg was initially paralyzed, and the doctor said before surgery that it was unclear whether I would ever walk again.  It took me a full year to recover, but I’ve gone from being in a wheelchair to completing 10 full century bike rides, a number of 5K races and a 1/2 marathon. In 2014, I’ve committed to doing the Marine Corps Marathon, and now, I’m going to climb to the top of the Empire State Building. Join me in the climb by making a donation to MMRF.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Nowhere to Go but Up…

  1. David – my name is Bill McHugh – I was diagnosed with MM in 2008. Last year I had my stem cell transplant, was in the hospital during last year’s run (approx day 4). This year I’m running the ESBRU as well celebrating my one year anniversary.

    Obviously I’m doing on my own fund raising but if I can help you (put a name w/ the face) in your fund raising please let me know.

    Here is a recent post re; why I do what I do:

    thank you!


  2. Bill – thanks for your comments, and you’ve got an amazing story to tell. I got involved because of my friend David Goad’s efforts on behalf of his brother Jeff, and it’s interesting to see how being part of a bigger cause can give me a kick in the pants on my own goals. Look forward to seeing you @ the ESBRU!