There’s something magical about 100 Mile Club…something that truly inspires. This story is about how a group of people from all walks of life and thousands of miles apart took their inspiration and ran with it!
The Inspired Poem. In late 2016, the 100 Mile Club Team spent a week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at a wonderful conference, working with new and existing 100 Mile Club schools. We had a phenomenal time and on the last day of the conference, we all jumped in our rental car and drove 80-something miles to New Orleans for the afternoon and evening.
Walking down Frenchman Street, we stumbled upon a cool street poet named Zaq. Behind Zaq is a sign that reads: “GET A POEM ABOUT IT.”
“I’ll write you a poem about anything you want.” he says above the noise of the night.
Zaq’s voice catches the ear of BJ Walker, our Programs Manager here at 100 Mile Club. Immersed in the spirit of the night and inspired by the music in the air, she agrees to a poem but tells him…
“I only have $5. I’m so sorry.” (Between the 3 of us, it is truly all we had.)
“That’s ok. Whatever you have is perfect.”
BJ tells Zaq all about why we are in Louisiana, the 100 Mile Club, and describes our mission, vision, and spirit. As she speaks, Zaq’s fingers inspiringly fly in a blur over his old, manual typewriter, keys tapping and snapping with sounds rarely heard in this age of touchscreen and voice memos.
He pulls the little piece of hot pinky-purple paper from the typewriter and reads it aloud.
We immediately fall in love…not only with the poem, but with Zaq, a talent beyond anything I could have imagined. We carefully carry the paper home, along with a photo, and today, the poem and photo live at 100 Mile Club HQ in a pretty white frame.
The Inspired Headband. Wanting to share this poem with the world, we incorporated it in to the latest design on one of our famous Inspired Headbands. This headband will be a gift for our runners at our 2018 Run4Kids Day on March 10, and available for all on March 11. When the headbands came in, we sent a few to Zaq, and he posted this, which made us feel famous.
One inspired thing led to another. We continued to tell the story of Zaq, his poem, and the new headbands…but somehow Zaq’s poem wanted more.
The Inspired Video. After some discussion, we decided to bring this poem to life!! We sent out an open invitation to anyone who wanted to participate. Every child that wanted to be a part of this video project was included, reciting each line with all their hearts. Some were nervous, some were total naturals, and we loved them all!
The Inspired Music. Jared Castellenos, inspired by Zaq’s words and the adorableness of our kids giving 100% effort reciting them just so, wrote an ORIGINAL piece of music to accompany the poem.
Below is the result of the thread of inspiration that spans miles, generations, and genres, stitched together by Jeffrey Dale.
Enjoy and please remember to always take time to see the world…through pedestrian eyes.