“Twenty years ago, one of my best childhood friends, John, was left paralyzed in a serious car accident. He was the best athlete I knew growing up and at 19, all of that was taken away. We wanted to give him a taste of competition again, so a good friend and I took turns pushing him in a specialized wheelchair in our hometown during the Santa Scramble 5K. Mainly, we hoped to raise awareness and funds for SPEED FOR NEED a non-profit group who works with members of the community affected by disability or disease through participation in fitness events. But, we also wanted to give John a great experience.
The course followed the Christmas Parade route and was run 20 minutes before the start of the parade. Folks that lined up for the parade showered us with cheers and love for John. It was tough to judge John’s reaction given that he is mostly unresponsive due to his condition, but he got excited when we loaded him in the running wheelchair and seemed fired up when we first started pushing him. I completely believe that he loved the speed and the competition. I have a hard time putting this into words as it truly was an emotional day. I had moments that I nearly dropped to my knees, only to see the crowd smiling and cheering us on. Nothing that follows will ever top that experience — I’m still riding high from it. It was a beautiful day and a strong reminder to never take a moment for granted.” – HOKA fan Sean Oakley from Greenville, SC
Sean is wearing the Clayton.
“I ran across Iowa, traveling roughly 30-40 miles a day, all while wearing a military-issued nuclear, biological, chemical mask. I remembered how hard it was to run and operate in the mask when I was in the military and I saw a few people run in them. So I thought, I could do that. The most challenging part was spending hours inside my head. It was hot and long so I spent most of the time just trying to think about other things. Something interesting happened everyday, which made the run exciting. There were a few news reports so people would see me on the news and decide to go track me down. Strangers would show up with water or snacks and family members surprised me.
I did this to spread the word that there is hope for veterans and that there are guys out there that want to help. The one thing that drove me more than any other is that there are people that are suffering — some so much that they think ending it all is the only way out. Veteran suicide and PTSD is something that is very personal for me. I was an infantry team leader in the 101st Airborne Division and then in the Army Reserves. I want to show them that even though the finish line is hard to see at times, if you keep pushing forward, you can make it. Others are always there to help if you’re willing to accept it.” – HOKA fan Joshua Jorgensen from Adel, IA
Joshua is wearing the Clifton.
“Javelina Jundred was a perfect event to race 100 miles for the first time. Based on the course profile and terrain, I believed my attempt would go well, but my finishing time and comfort with the distance were definitely a pleasant surprise. I go through mental highs and lows during any ultra. Miles 44 to 60 were a test of mental endurance and tenacity — I was leading without a pacer during the hottest part of the day. Due to consistent nutrition and hydration on race day, I was able to stay laser-focused on running fast and efficiently.” – HOKA Athlete Patrick Reagan who just won the Javelina Jundred
Patrick is wearing the Challenger ATR.
Photo: Paola Franqui
“The hard work I’ve put in since having kids feels like it’s finally paying off. This has been one of the best buildups of my career. My training has been consistent with very few hiccups and I feel fortunate that I have both health and fitness on my side. I would really like to display all the hard work I put in and the fitness level I’m at. It’s a deep field with a lot of great women. I’m hoping to have a strong race and gun it down to the finish line the last 10K.”- HOKA Athlete Stephanie Bruce who just placed 10th at the TCS New York City Marathon
Stephanie’s favorite shoe is the Clifton.
“The #metoo campaign spoke to me because I think every female runner has, unfortunately, experienced harassment on a run. Whether they are running alone or with a group, catcalls are all too common. After an incident on my local trail where an individual was repeatedly harassing female runners early in the mornings, I saw something pretty powerful happen. Complete strangers would stop me on runs to warn me of suspicious activity or they would write notes in chalk on the sidewalks reminding runners to be alert. We had each other’s backs. The running community is close-knit. In any city, runners share a special bond — they know hard work, struggle and how to support and challenge each other. It’s competitive, but uplifting. Running gives each person something different, but we share a sense of grit and pride. I hope this kind of connectedness is everywhere because it has given me strength and confidence to be unafraid.” – HOKA supports all Women Who Fly, like Lauren Ziegler