May 11th, 2012
11:56 AM ET
Glenn Keller is one of seven CNN viewers training to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This weekend, the team and Dr. Gupta will head to Hawaii for a training trip. Keller just completed a 5k held in his honor in his hometown of Burleson, Texas.
I heard it said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime. If this is my 15 minutes, it is creating a lifetime of memories.
On Saturday May 5, 2012, there was a 5k race in Burleson, Texas. This 5k was different from every other 5k that I had ever heard of. The distance was the same. The rules were the same. The difference is this 5k was called “Let’s get started with Glenn.”
Mayor Ken Shetter has a health initiative that he put into place in Burleson. When he got the news of a local resident being selected for The CNN Fit Nation Challenge, he and the administration started planning "The Be Healthy 5k".
Nothing so far has compared to having family, friends and neighbors come together and do something of this magnitude in my honor. More than 100 of my neighbors registered and turned out to participate.
I was the first to arrive at the race location and it was unbelievable. Signs were being put up, cones were marking the course and people were gathering to support me. One of my neighbors and I started some idle talk about running and how long it had been since he ran. I told him this was my first 5k.
Just before race time Mayor Shetter called me up to the platform to address everyone that had arrived. The very first thing I did was thank God for this unbelievable moment and then I continued to address my family, friends and neighbors.
I expressed my disappointment in having an injury but went on to explain how it in no way was going to prevent me from starting and finishing this 5k. I said, “This is going to be a no excuse day!" After all, it was excuses that allowed my weight to balloon to over 300 pounds. We were there to get started and that was exactly what we were going to do.
I talked about how in order the become a Fit Nation we were going to have to start with fit individuals. And those individuals would have to share it with their families, then spread it to communities, churches, employers, our cities, then states, and eventually we would be a Fit Nation.
When I stepped down from the platform the neighbor I had been talking to approached me and said “Glenn, you didn’t tell me you were the man!” That was a moment. I was the man. Wow!
Do you recall my blog after we went to Atlanta for the kick-off of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge? I talked about how as I was attempting to hike Stone Mountain, it seemed an angel came out of nowhere just when I needed encouraging the most. Well, on race day the angels were everywhere.
First there was Joann, who has been a runner for more than 20 years and who I’m sure would have done extremely well in this race. However, every step of the 3.1 miles she was right by my side, coaching me, giving me tips and encouraging me. From the starting line to the finish line she was right there.
When the race was over Mark, a police officer, introduced himself and invited me to be part of a running club that meets every first Saturday of the month, and said everyone in the group would help me.
Then there was Frank, the director of the Burleson Recreation Center, that offered all the resources of his center, including swim coaches, to assist me in this endeavor.
The movie "Akeelah and The Bee" was about a young lady who was selected to participate in the national spelling bee. When her community found out that she had been selected, they were ecstatic. As she would be walking or riding her bike through her neighborhood, people all along her route would call out spelling words to help her get prepared for the championship.
This is exactly how I felt on the day of the 5k.
In Atlanta it was a pulled hamstring that slowed me down, and now I think it is a strained tendon. There will always be some obstacle, and I understand that. But whatever this is, and what ever the next thing will be, I am refusing to allow anything to prevent me from achieving my ultimate goal of crossing the finish line with my six teammates in Malibu, California - each of whom I’m able to draw inspiration from.
I’ve learned life is full of challenges, obstacles and stumbling blocks, but none of them in my life are going to ever be allowed to stop me. I pray that whatever your life’s challenges, obstacles and stumbling blocks, they won't stop you either.
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.