Friday, January 29, 2010

Running wild

Jasmine Jordan, also known as Jazzy, completed her run through Dallas Friday morning – her 1,372nd mile completed.

Jasmine is completing a nationwide run across America in an effort to raise awareness about the medical expenses truck drivers face.

After an injury sidelined Jazzy for more than a month during the fall, she has come roaring back by continuing her 15- to 18-mile daily pace, albeit at a slightly slower pace from the 7-7.5 minutes per mile she was training with.

You can imagine the kind of pounding created by 100-mile-per-week running when you consider the number of pairs of running shoes Jazzy has burned through since beginning her run in California on Labor Day weekend.

Not yet halfway across the country, Jazzy has gone through eight pairs of Saucony running shoes.

“Thankfully, Saucony is a sponsor,” said her father, Lee.

In the past week, the Jordans made their way through the Dallas area and into Mesquite, TX.

Friday’s run surrounded Jasmine with police escorts and even a Dallas Fire Department fire truck, lights flashing, to warn approaching cars of the runner on the shoulder.

The day before, Jasmine ran into Dallas’ west side with members of the Texas Tornadoes junior league hockey team from Frisco, TX. The group included 10 hockey players, an assistant coach and even the team mascot.

“It was a great morning,” Lee said.

The hockey players each ran a mile with Jazzy, and several talked hockey with Lee – a native Canadian and longtime amateur hockey player himself.

“We talked general hockey – goals, penalty minutes, positions,” Lee said. “What a great bunch of kids.”

Lee says he’s shed tears along with Jazzy as she deals with shin splints, injuries and missing her mother and brother, who are at home back in Minnesota. When Jasmine reads and does homework at night, Lee worries that her not being physically present for 11th grade in school will hurt potential scholarship opportunities.

Jazzy has gotten several supportive e-mails and messages on Facebook daily, including one from a 10-year-old boy who was writing a paper about her and her running.

Once or twice a week, Lee said, the Jordans will read one from a truck driver overwhelmed by medical expenses, or a note from the child of a trucker who is no longer alive.

“The e-mails we get thanking us – they’re real tear-jerkers,” Lee said. “The number of people she’s inspiring, we’ll probably never know. But you can tell it’s everyone from grandparents right down to young people.”

Buoyed by support but sometimes challenged by surprises, Jazzy continues eastward.

Step by step, one pair of shoes at a time.