Notes from the Pack – I’m Not Alone


by John Godinet

I wrote this story for the ALS newsletter, and I wanted to share with all my friends…

ALS has not really affected my running, if anything, I’m welcoming ALS. See, we all go through life, skipping right along; nothing in the world is going to get you down. Then one day a person in a white coat tells you something that you are not prepared for, “John, you have been diagnosed with ALS.”

OK! Thank you. Not really sure what ALS was, I left the doctor’s office, went and had several beers and wine, then said to myself, “Self, what are we going to do?”

Self said, “You are so damn lucky to journey through life as an ALS Angel.”

I have not cried over ALS. I have not beaten up over ALS. I have not let ALS get me down. I have totally, sincerely accepted ALS as another chapter of my life, and I better make the very best of it, for this is going to be a bumpy roller coaster ride.

I tell myself, “Now rise up to the challenge, put on your running shoes, for this is going to be the hardest race you have signed up for, harder than running 100 mile races. Not to worry. It’s a long way to the finish line, but I’m so lucky. I have my partner who keeps me straight, saying you can’t do that, but I don’t listen very well, and I have tons and tons of loving friends, and I’m taking all of them along with my journey, I’m not alone, I have God on my side.”

Marine Corp Marathon, 26.2 miles, this was my very first marathon, and I was hooked. I have run this race 22 times, and have loved every second of all of them. See when I run, I don’t run for the time. I run ‘cause I have friends that are running it who are faster than me, because I have a new pair of shoes, tights, shorts, shirts, new haircut, or just to be out there with thousands and thousands of other crazy runners.

I used to care about my time to qualify for Boston and run my own race. But I found it’s not fun when you are running it alone. It’s more fun to make friends, encourage someone that is having a bad day, put a smile on their face. Yes, you can run faster than me or other slow runners, but guess what, we all get the same medal at the end, and it does not say “1,” “2,” “3.” Remember that next time, and you will be awesome. You can run any marathon with or without training. I have run this race drunk, hung over, with no sleep the night before, and after running a 100 mile race. Why? Because I love running.

New Year’s Race: First I give my friend Regina hugs and kisses for putting this together. Every year she finds someone close to her heart that is going through something and she throws herself into organizing a fund raising drive with help from some of the running clubs.

There must have been about 200 runners at the New Year’s run, and we raised $5,000.00! Thank you, all! I saw friends that I have not seen in a long time, the spread on the table, delicious, the conversations, the hugs and well wishes, and of course, the drinks were greatly appreciated. Thank you, my dear friends and thank you to my darling niece for my sippy-cup. This was a wonderful blessed day. See? I’m not alone.