Cadie Jessup: Founder of The Rookie Run ‘N’ Walk 5k
In 2009, a blood clot resulted in the amputation of my left leg above the knee. Prior to this, I lived a very active and athletic lifestyle. I felt lost after my amputation. I thrived when I was active and didn’t know what my “new” life would be like. I vowed to do whatever it took to regain the confidence sports gave me. Seven months after receiving my prosthetic leg, I completed my first-ever triathlon. Completing the triathlon was amazing, but what was more of a boost was the crowd’s reaction. I was the only amputee participating and everyone seemed inspired by my effort.
My athletic pursuits and challenges have only increased since my amputation. Not only do I strive to be active and challenge myself, I make it a point to mentor, coach, and inspire others to do the same. In fact, I find my greatest joy in seeing someone achieve something they never thought possible.
I coach amputee running. Hearing an amputee say they can’t run (or walk) a 5k saddened me. I could answer most of their objections, but understood when they said they were embarrassed to participate in a “normal” 5k. Even when I was a runner prior to my amputation, I was nervous about running in 5ks so I understood their fear.
This inspired me to create a 5k for the true beginner. It is an untimed event and will be held within the constraints of a park so no one who isn’t participating in the event will see them. It takes the fear and anxiety out of the event as much as possible. I will have “buddies” along the course to help them when they fatigue or start doubting themselves. I envision participants will be people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. I want to show them there is nothing that can hold them back from achieving this goal. To help them achieve this goal, I will implement a weekly in-person and virtual training program.
Today, my vision and dream of a beginner 5k becomes a reality.