by Joe Maletta
Joe Maletta is the younger brother of my old college roommate, John. I hijacked (i.e., cut and pasted) his website’s article and posted here. What’s really awesome about his post is there is no way he ever would have thought I would see it. It was intended for his family and tight-knit friends to share.
Two weeks from now, almost to the minute, I will be stepping across the starting line of the New York City Marathon. This is a big bucket-list item for many runners and I have been fortunate and persistent enough to have made it through the selection process. This will be my seventh full-marathon and I can assure you of one thing: they do not get easier as you gain more experience. Training for this has been a struggle; setbacks have come up at every turn. However, as my pastor says, the devil only tries to stop you when you are doing something good…
You all likely know that I’ve tied myself to the www.ryansrally.org cause for a few years now after hearing about the Diviney family from my brother, who is friends with Ryan’s Dad. However, I want to share with you why I’m so personally passionate about this and I want to invite you to share my NYC Marathon experience with me.
You see, I started running because of family. I was outside playing with my daughter, who was six at the time, when I was shocked at how quickly I ran out of breath. It was shameful how I’d let myself get so out of shape. My daughter and my wife are my world and I started to realize that my bad lifestyle would negatively affect them as well. I wanted to see my daughter grow up and maybe even walk her down the aisle someday (after carefully testing any candidate on the other end of that aisle, mind you), I wanted to be able to retire and travel the world with my wife I wanted to run around and play with my grandkids. I was on the wrong trajectory for all of that. Something had to be done! It was up to me to do it.
We had a treadmill already so I dusted it off and started… walking. Walking led to a trot. Trotting led to a jog. Jogging led to a run. Running led to a race. I was inspired by one friend, and then another and after my first 5K race I signed up for a marathon. I enjoyed the nervous feeling of living and pushing the limit of my confused body. I especially enjoyed seeing my wife and daughter cheer me on. This is a good life. This is a good lifestyle. I got faster, then I got fast, then I slowed down, but I still kept going; perhaps even inspiring a person or two along the way. Persistance… endurance… family.
So why do I ride my bicycle (that hated device that it is) hundreds of miles at a time each year with my brother on the annual Ride for Ryan? Why have I focused all of my attention training for the NYC Marathon on my (self-titled) “Running for Ryan”? Persistance, endurance and family! I only had to meet the Diviney family once to have it all click for me. They have been wronged in a way that can make a cold heart cry. They have obstacles stacked on top of obstacles. Yet they persist, they endure and they exude the LOVE that comes from the closest of families. THEY INSPIRE.
I finished my last long training run yesterday. 20 miles. It was painful. I’ve been fighting off blisters, back issues and time constraints that inhibited my training. But every time it got tough, I thought of the Diviney Family. What they endure is much more than a marathon and they do it, every day without fail and with love. When I read Ken’s posts, I feel connected to the man I’ve only met once. I see a person I truly want to be who is in a situation I never want to be in. That has inspired me to push through all pain. I used to say I was running for Ryan. Now I can tell you with certainty that I am running because of Ryan.
I ask you to take a moment and read “the story” at www.ryansrally.org; “the story” link is on the right side of the top menu bar. If it does nothing else, it will make you appreciate how lucky you are and how precious, and fragile life is. It will remind you of your responsibility to make the most out of what God has given to you.
I’m sending this because I know how special you are. I want you to be inspired. But, greedy jerk that I am, I also want you to inspire me. Running a marathon is very difficult, especially for a guy who sits behind a desk all day like me. There are times during these races that I question myself and why I’m hurting myself like this. It is during these mind-game segments of the race (aka, “the wall”) that I often think of those around me inspiring me. If you choose to donate to the Ryan Diviney Special Needs Trust, please let me know about it. I promise to think of every one of you who does while I run the streets of the Big Apple. You can propel me forward and you can be an inspiration! The Diviney’s need our help. Something has to be done! Let’s do it! We Got This!
Please send donation checks made out to:
“Ryan Diviney Special Needs Trust” to me at 2311 Salem Dr. Pittsburgh, PA 15237
You can also donate on-line at the website mentioned above. Please let me know if you donate online (I don’t care what amount) so I can think of you during the race! If you donate online, if there is a chance to let Ken know I aimed you his direction, I would appreciate it.
I am paying all of the costs of the NYC Marathon and travel. 100% of your donation will go to the Diviney Family!Please share this letter with anyone and everyone you think will be inspired and/or inspirational! Print it out and post it somewhere!
All the best to you and yours!