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Notebook: Sizemore wanted his run to inspire
Perkins goes feet first
Collinsville native Michael Sizemore (left) and his girlfriend Nicky Zamostny approach the finish line. The race was part of Sizemore’s recovery from being struck by a car in September. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Michael Sizemore, 28, crossed the finish line of the Martinsville Half Marathon and 5K on Saturday morning and was greeted by applause and cheers from the crowd along with hugs from family members, friends and strangers.
Sizemore wasn’t the first-place winner. He wasn’t even second.
What Sizemore was, however, was an inspiration.
Sizemore, a Collinsville native, was hit by car on Sept. 28 while walking in Arlington. He suffered a fractured skull, two broken legs, and was treated for bacterial pneumonia. He spent three weeks in a medically induced coma in George Washington University Hospital with the fractured skull and lost 40 pounds throughout the ordeal.
But his injuries were not going to hold him back from running Saturday.
“I wanted to prove to everybody that even though I was down, I wasn’t out,” Sizemore said. “I wanted to motivate some people.”
Sizemore, who used to be a passionate runner, competed in the 5K and was able to finish the race with more than 40 family and friends who raced with him or were there to show him support. Sizemore’s father competed in the half marathon, which took place simultaneously.
The Elster Determination Award was awarded to Sizemore at the race’s conclusion. The award was started by Doug Goldstein, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008 and has undergone numberous surgeries and procedures but didn’t let him stop running, according to the race’s website. There were five finalists for the award.
“I was glad I can actually just serve as an inspiration for others who are going through similar tragedies and show them a better path is forward ... to perservere forward,” Sizemore said.
Sizemore finished the race with a time of 34:19.1, and after it, his running background and competitive nature came out.
“I wanted to finish first,” Sizemore said, “That was my one goal, but I wanted to be an inspiration to everyone.”
Although Sizemore said he was joking about wanting to win the race, he’s shown the willpower to achieve the goals he sets, should he ever truly go after that one.
Running the race was one of those goals.
“I’m ready to do it again,” Sizemore said.
There’s always next year.
Numbers down, but excitement still plentiful
On Saturday morning, the third annual Martinsville Half Marathon, 5K and Relay were held, which were presented by Memorial Hospital of Martinsville-Henry County.
It was a brisk morning and runners had to complete the courses in mid-30 degree temperatures.
About 200 people registered for the half marathon and around 325 people for the 5K according to Brad Kinkema, executive director of the YMCA.
“We’re down a little bit,” Kinkema said. “But we’re still excited. We think we’re down in numbers, because we’ve had so many different races that people have had the opportunity to run.”
Kinkema said that over 100 volunteers helped out with the race from the surrounding area, which he was thankful for.
The money raised from the event will go the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA’s Invest in Youth Fund, according to the race’s website.
“We’ll make about over $10,000 from this event,” Kinkema said. “It will go to our scholarship fund.”
The Invest in Youth Fund provides financial assistance to those who can’t afford the typical fees of the YMCA, the race’s website says.
Perkins goes feet first
Steve Perkins has an uncanny way of running races. It’s a style he used in Martinsville on Saturday morning during the half marathon.
Perkins runs barefoot.
“I’ve been doing it for a year, and I’m still not used to all the looks,” Perkins said. “... especially from the ones I beat.”
Perkins, 46, finished the race with some friends as a group. He said he normally runs half-marathons in around an hour and 40 minutes, well below two hours.
His unique running style began as the result of a toe issue. He said he experienced pain when running with shoes, so to relieve the pain he chose to run without them.
“It allows my toes to spread out,” Perkins said. “I’ve got one that’s a little crooked.”
Perkins concluded the half marathon in the early parts of Saturday and still managed to get a work shift in with his feet still chugging along.
“They’re fine,” Perkins said. “I’m working right now eight hours tonight, so I’m good.”