I have thought for a long time about writing this piece. It might seem a little weird for a wife to write something like this about her husband. But that is how I see him, a hero; my hero. The word hero can mean many different things to many people. In the regular use of the word it usually means someone who has done something heroic, risking their life to save another life. But it can also mean someone who courageously overcomes great obstacles; never giving up or giving into the pain to achieve a goal. It can mean someone who makes sacrifices in order to achieve something great. And in doing so not only climbs a mountain but also teaches others by example to be stronger than you ever thought possible. In that sense of the word then my husband Richard is the epitome of a Hero.

After 25 years of not being able to run Richard fought his way back to being fit and being able to run again to become a two-time State Champion in the 400 meter race at the Tennessee Senior Olympics. You can read about his journey to fitness here. He qualified for and went to the Nationals in Cleveland. But success at the Nationals was not in reach. He was already nursing a bad case of plantar fasciitis prior to the state race and then pulled a hamstring during that race. I though t he should just quit. The pain he went through just walking was agonizing enough let alone trying to run. But run he did during the two months prior to the nationals. I couldn’t understand why he continued to grunt it out. I couldn’t understand how he could put himself through that kind of torture. For what? It’s just a race I said. And ultimately he suffered a terrible defeat at the prelims during the nationals and never made it to the finals.  It was a heartbreaking moment.  At about the 200 meter mark of the prelim something went terribly wrong; his foot went pop and he almost went down. It was all over I thought. But it wasn’t over for him. In that excruciating pain he would still not quit. Hobbling, stumbling, willing himself to just keep moving forward he ran the rest of the race despite his injury and crossed the finish line before collapsing. It was hard to even see him through the tears streaming down my face. All I could think of was that this is it and the running would be over.


Richard Turkish GetupFortunately Richard had no such thoughts. As soon as we got back home he was focused on the long hard road to healing and then to getting right back out there on the track. Again he was working through crazy pain getting stronger, faster, and tougher. Never stopping, never quitting. Three weeks ago Richard once again ran at the state, got a bronze medal and qualified again for the nationals in the 400m. He also qualified for the nationals in the 800m, a race he has never ever run before. The real reason he is my hero is because all through our fitness journey together he has been my inspiration. He is the one who pulls me through when I want to quit. He does it not by badgering me or making feel bad. He does it by not quitting himself. He sets the example for me to follow. When I see him making sacrifices, working to overcome obstacles it makes me realize that my health and my fitness is worth fighting for too. His tenacity and strength of will is a metaphor for the way he lives in all aspects of his life. It has been his mental toughness and steadfastness that has brought us through some really rough spots in our business. When I got down and felt that the obstacles seem too big to overcome it has been his quiet steel resilience that carried us through. He never gives up, never quits. So yes he is my hero.

Richard Standing