What our participants are saying about Better Than Ever:
“Probably the best thing that I have ever done for myself. I made goals and I reached them and raised money for something that means a lot to me. As a bonus, I met some really wonderful people that I can't wait to see again in the spring.”
“BTE is highly organized and provides a wonderful opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause in an active way. It would have been easier to just write a check but the whole program gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. When I heard about BTE this year I was going through a crisis in my personal life. BTE and this walk/run gave me a purpose and a will to carry on with life. Thank you!”
“I walk with so much love in my heart, and my feet just keep going forward”
“The thrill of the finish line, meeting a personal fitness goal, and supporting the Arizona Cancer Center made all the time and effort worthwhile.”
“This experience is healing a broken spirit and allowing me to make a difference.”
“It was a wonderful experience and so much fun to have people cheering you on at the finish line. What a feeling of accomplishment to finish.”
“I always thought running would be impossible for me; this program has made me a runner, and has changed my life in so many great ways!”
“I never imagined I'd be able to run a half marathon; but I did it! BTE taught me that amazing things are possible.”
“Thank you for helping me to find renewed energy and commitment to maintaining my own health, and more importantly, thank you for your efforts to ensure continued support for the important work at the Arizona Cancer Center.”
“BTE was one of the best things I've ever done. I raised money for an important cause, had fun, made new friends, and got healthier in the process. I'm proud to be a half-marathoner.”
“It was a wonderful experience, great support, healthy activity and helping a worthwhile cause all in one."
Excitement was high as we waited for the singing of the National Anthem and the start of the race. The lanky, hardy 10-milers were given a 10 minute head start to avoid the traffic jam at the bottom of the first hill. Then the 5-milers took off, some running, some gentle jogging, some walking, and my friends and I—the faithful back of the packers. We were, and are, part of the Mighty BTE!
As we approached the bottom of the first steep hill, we moved to the side to let the last of the 10 milers, and the first of the 5 milers come down to start their way up the second and steepest hill. The rain began while we were on that loop, but it was gentle and only lasted about 5 minutes. Just enough to dampen the sand and make it easier to walk. It also was cold and rainy enough to keep the rattlesnakes in their warm dens. It began to rain again as we started down the hill, meeting the first of the 10 milers, starting the second half of their run. It was a little steep going down, causing one of the group to resort to a little booty scooting to get down!
Next we started on the the second trail, which would lead us to the infamous 96 steps that took us to the top of the hill. Someone in the group who had never done the race was looking forward to seeing the stairs. She was also our blue-bird of happiness, keeping us entertained and smiling or laughing along the way. We had to keep moving to the side to let the 10 milers pass us by on the narrow paths. That gave us time to look at the wildflowers, have lessons on the demerits of buffle grass and debates about Spanish translations. As we approached the 2 mile marker, a first timer remarked, that we were almost home. That gave an opportunity to talk about the value of reading since this was a 5 mile race and not a 5K race. Much laughter was involved in this discussion. It was an easy mistake as most of our races are in Kilometers (thus the ‘K’) not miles.
All the while, the rain continued to come down and it also began to include tiny pebbles of hail, then larger pebbles, mixed with some baby snow flakes. This occasioned a burst of ‘Singing in the Rain’. We agreed that by next year we would learn the words so we could sing more than 2 lines!! Maybe we will also learn “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for a little variety. We celebrated making it to the top of the stairs, and the mile 3 marker that indicated more than half-way.
We next met the lean running machine that was coming up the path to check on the back of the pack. When he asked if we were doing the 5 or 10 miles, we toyed with the idea of telling him we were doing the 10 miles and were almost finished with the first half. But then we felt sorry for him having to think that he would have to stay out in the cold waiting another 2 hours for us to finish.
Then, what goes up must come down, and we started down the hill. No steps this time, so more booty scooting was called for. Next year, we’re bring a piece of cardboard or a small boat, since there was enough of a small flash flood to float down the hill! At the bottom of the hill was the 4 mile marker!! This led to the discussion of doing the last loop, or cutting it short and heading for the finish line. Considering that several people could not go home until we finished, and the fact that one or our team was suffering from hypothermia, we opted to save the last loop for another trip. After some hot food, which we ate while we were wrapped in foil blankets, we collected our race shirts and headed for home (hot drinks and warm baths with Epsom Salts) and made plans for what to bring to the race next year.