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Time to Let the Games Begin!

by Melissa Brunner

Light the torch and let those competitive juices flow! The Sunflower State Games return to Topeka Friday for their annual three-weekend run.

The Games present a chance for all of us to get in touch with our inner athlete. While some have their sites set on a gold, the ultimate prize, really, is something beyond a medal.

Most of you know I've been rehabbing from a hamstring injury. Saturday, I plan to participate in the 5K Cauldron Run. (It's at 8 am at Lake Shawnee - Tinman Circle and you can still sign up the morning of the event!) It will be the first community run I've done since the Rescue Run last November - and it's only been two weeks since I finally worked up to running 30 minutes straight through. For me, the Sunflower Games will mark a milestone in sticking to a recovery plan so that I can continue being part of the community of running I love so much.

My story is minor. I've heard of people for whom the Sunflower State Games is their first-ever 5k or 10k, or swimming or biking event; for whom the Games marks a milestone in rediscovering a healthy lifestyle. A young woman I know will be running her first 10K Saturday - on a prosthetic leg! Talk about inspiring!

Don't get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for all the people at the front of the pack. I applaud their success and marvel at their abilities. I know I will never match their times or accomplishments, but it makes me work a little harder to see if I might, at least, improve.

But there is a story in every person who strives to make it to the finish line or turns out with the team for the game. Those stories are the spirit of the Sunflower State Games. It's about doing something to improve your health and your life; about pushing yourself to see what YOU can accomplish. That's what makes us all winners!

You can still register for many Sunflower State Games events. Details are at www.sunflowergames.com

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