Monday, September 21, 2009

Greg Macklem Rides for MC3

Greg beats the odds and is selected to compete in the Hawaiian Ironman World Championship Triathlon!

I think Greg's story is a remarkable one. I heard his story last week for the very first time. Two years ago, he was sitting on the sofa (several pounds overweight!) in the comfort of his home, munching on a bag of potato chips and watching others fulfill their dream to finish the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii.

An Ironman Triathlon consists of swimming in the ocean for 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and then running a full marathon of 26 miles 385 yards - add a time limit, strong winds and 100+ degrees and you realize how difficult the Hawaii Ironman is for most trained athletes.

He asked his wife if she thought he could do compete in a triathlon and she told him she thought he could if he began training. So, he got off his duff and began to train with a friend. Last month he competed in a Triathlon in St. Louis and completed an application to be randomly selected in a lottery for a very few slots in the Hawaiian Triathlon that have been reserved for the "normal" athlete. To his amazement he was one of the 200 people (from thousands) that was selected to compete! So, next week Greg and his family will be leaving for Hawaii to get ready to compete in the race of his life.

As I listened to his story I thought how it paralleled the storyline of so many people trying to break the cycles of generational poverty living at Monroe Circle. They make a commitment to change the direction and focus of their lives and begin to take steps in that direction. Like Greg, early on no one seems to notice and if they do they have their doubts that you will even make it. The volunteers at MC3 may times see themselves as that friend, that mentor that will encourage residents along their journey. The lesson I learned from Greg is that you need to get up every morning and push toward your goal even when you just don't feel like it.

And here's the rest of the story. Greg is riding for Monroe Circle. He will be wearing a MC3 jersey and he will be telling our story and that he was inspired by many of the people from Monroe Circle that have overcome much larger obstacles than competing in a triathlon.

You can also follow Greg's trek on Facebook under a cause called Greg4MC3.

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