One of the truly great TNT experiences is the Inspiration Dinner, formerly known as the Pasta Party. Teams from all over the US and Canada come together and eat a dinner together and hear speakers, including a survivor who usually has an inspirational tale to tell. But first, as we walk into the room, we go through a gauntlet of coaches and LLS staff who make the most amazing racket cheering for us. It is so cool - on my fourth event now, I still really enjoy it. Many are dressed in crazy fashion, and it is such fun. Here is a photo as I entered the ball room:
And here is a photo of some of team Virginia at dinner:
John "The Peguin" Bingham was our speaker and master of ceremonies. Even though this is the fourth time he has spoken all of at the dinners at my events and of course has to repeat some of his stories and lines, it is still very entertaining. Everyone laughed at the line about what kind of endurance atheletes are the winners of the marathon? They are only out there for 2 hours, while we will be out there 4, 5 , 6 or 7 hours! He told the story of his high school girlfriend dying from Hodgkins lymphoma back in the 1960's.
Our inspirational speaker was named Jim and told of his fairly recent experience surviving stage 4 lymphoma and all of the horriffic things that he went through in the last few years. But he is surviving, and back to running after barely being able to walk to the mailbox at times. The next day, he will be joining us for a half marathon. I hope that he keeps going!
At the end, someone snapped this photo of me, Chuck, Paul, and Kristi. Dig our cool blue team shirts! On the back it says "Virginia is for Cures", a take on the famous "VA is for Lovers" slogan that has been so successful for 40 years now.