(On February 14th, Dillan and his dad, Randy, ran a half-marathon relay in the LA Marathon. Here are some of their thoughts about it…)
It’s a huge task to run a marathon. Not a huge task for someone like me, but a mighty task for any person. I did it alongside so many people banded together by the mighty task. We all ran and we all became no one thing. I was not autistic running, I was only running. I was among thousands of people like me, not because they had some neurological problem, but because they were doing a simple, normal thing together. Any other time, I am a standout. I have noises. I do weird stuff with my hands. You know that because you are reading this blog by the amazing kid with autism who actually can have thoughts too. But in the marathon, I was only a runner like those others, and I crushed it!
So the LA marathon finally came and went. The weather turned out to be perfect and not too hot as they were all projecting. Dillan was calm and collected the whole morning and seemed really ready to run. We started our half of the marathon after our friends came in with a great time in under 2 hours. We congratulated them, took some pictures, and then headed off to join the pack for the second half. Dillan was amped up and went out hard. I had to keep telling him to relax and pace himself. We stopped to walk only for each water station to make sure we stayed hydrated. Dillan kept a very steady pace and didn’t waver a bit until maybe the last mile. He started losing focus and tried to walk, but I would not have it. I encouraged him to keep going as the finish line was in our sights. We ended up crossing the finish line arm in arm. When it was over, the official time clock showed 3:43 for the whole marathon. My Garmin showed we did 13.1 miles in 1:46.5 at an 8:13 average pace. That is by far the fastest recorded time for any distance over 10k for Dillan (and myself for that matter). I was so proud of him and he was even smiling right after crossing the finish line.
(Chocolate milk is the best “recovery drink” and Dillan loves it!)
8 thoughts on “I am a runner”
Wow, way to go. That is awesome. Do you compete in the Special Olympics. I work with youth your age and the look forward to the event every year.
Dillan competes with his school cross country and track team, and in local races. Glad you are finding your work with the Special Olympics rewarding. Thanks for your support!
Dillan and Dad/family,
You continue to inspire us! We joined RunFitKids after school club here in Northern VA and run our first 5k in 2 weeks. We have enjoyed watching your videos, blogs and your success on the pavement! Congratulations and continue to Soar Like Eagles!
Faith and Luke Schneider (Former Marathon/Triathlon-runner-mom and 9 year-old RPMer and Runner- newbee from Northern, VA).
ps – We see from photos that you are taller than your Dad!:) Luke is on that same path already.
Hi Faith and Luke,
Thank you for writing and sharing a bit about your family. Wishing you lots of luck on your 5K and RPM journey (great that you’ve started young!). Yes, Dillan passed his dad up a while ago…he’s getting close to 6’3″ at this point! Running is like oxygen for him, so we try to give him every opportunity possible to hit the pavement or trails (his preference).
Tami, Randy and Dillan
Way to go, Dillan!! What an accomplishment!
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Thank you, Ruth! Will share your comment with Dillan. He has been busy with the end of the school year, but hopefully will be able to respond more to comments over the summer. Great to hear from you!
It’s so good running!
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Your story was shared on my Facebook page today. I have no words to describe how much your words have affected my life. 8 years ago I made a decision to volunteer at a summer camp called Joni and Friends. It’s for kids like you who have voices that need to be heard. My job as a volunteer was to listen to these voices and be a friend. I was assigned to be a buddy to a 9 year old who has autism and trouble communicating. When I met him I new my life was changed forever. I talked with him through a letter board for hours while playing games and laughing. And it was in that moment I knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. So I changed my major and I’m now studying to be an Occupation Therapist. After the week was over I received an email from that little boy thanking me for listening to his voice. Dillon I want you to know that your voice matters. When the whole world tells you that you can’t do something, look them in the eye and prove them wrong. There is always someone willing to listen. Thank you for sharing your words with us.