Editor’s note: Daren Schumaker and Dennis Lee are attempting to run across Iowa’s 99 counties, raising money for the American Heart Association. They have completed 52 counties. This is No. 51. Next: Mahaska County.
By Daren Schumaker, community contributor
Recognition. The dictionary defines it, in part, as the acknowledgment of achievement, service or merit.
Most of us place a positive connotation on recognition and associate it with the positive support one receives from others for a great accomplishment in their life. This sounds simple, but the fact of the matter is there is more to what recognition really is than most of us recognize.
In order to truly recognize the reality of recognition, we all need to open our eyes.
For Team 99 Counties, Marion County served as a much needed “eye-opener.”
On Feb. 23 at 10:15 a.m., we started our journey across Marion County in south central Iowa just south of Highway 92 on Lisbon Street, an unforgiving gravel road with unrelenting hills we followed for nearly six miles before jumping onto Highway 92 for another five miles into Knoxville.
We followed old Highway 92 through Knoxville, ran past the Iowa Veterans Home and altered our course so we could pass under the grandstand at Knoxville Raceway. We embraced the cold north wind and continued through Knoxville until we resumed our eastward journey on Highway 92. After a few hills, we enjoyed a gentle three-mile downhill toward the Des Moines River and the end of Marion County.
It seemed as if Marion County had recognized how hard we had battled the hills earlier during our run by giving us a “nice and easy” finish to our 26.2-mile route. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend 3 hours, 41 minutes and 19 seconds in Marion County, our 51st.
After many years and miles, Team 99 Counties slowly is receiving recognition. Many have approached us and noted they have been following our journey, making comments that they “can’t believe” what we’re doing. Those are words that are nice to hear and they definitely provide motivation and make it easier for us to keep going. However, our receipt of recognition is not the most important. To us, the act of giving and providing others with recognition is paramount.
Many can’t believe what we’re doing — and we can’t either. But more importantly, we can’t believe how most of you do it. As much as we may inspire you, you inspire us. It takes just as much, if not more, for someone who doesn’t exercise to get off the couch and start, and stick to it, than it does for someone who is active to train and run a three-hour marathon.
We all start and finish at different places. It is nice to recognize the fastest in a race, but don’t forget to recognize those around us who are working just as hard to get themselves onto the course and across the finish line.
It isn’t easy to make changes in your life, especially with regard to your health. Take the time to recognize the accomplishments of those around you and support each other. Recognize the work of others — it will motivate them. In all likelihood, you also will motivate yourself.Inspiration through perspiration. Become active or make a donation to Team 99 Counties or the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease.