Post Battle Debriefing

Warriors: 498
Funds Raised: Approx. $27,000

Friday, June 16, 2006


Thursday, May 25th, 2006


Blazeman's Dad Visits Flat River Middle School, Coventry, RI
A "Thank You" Pizza Party

Blazeman's Dad Speaks To Students And Thanks Them With An Inspirational and Motivating Speech To Thank Students For Their Compassion and Dedication And Bestows The Title of ALS Warriors On All...

Kathryn Tappen's Letter

Governor Carcieri's Proclamation

A Note From Suzie Degan

Hill Note

A Note From Rosa Ramos

A Note From Kathy Teftt

Blazeman 5k
May 13th, 2006
Coventry, RI
381 finishers

My day started early for this race. I met my friend, Mike Tammaro, at “The Tower” at 8:15am, and car pooled with him to the race so Gina and the kids could sleep in. They meet me after the race. We arrived at Flat River Middle School around 8:45am. I knew this event was going to be huge when I was greeted at the entrance by Elmo and walked into the building and got a high 5 from Cookie Monster. The event had lots of things going on. In the gym there was a band, karaoke, and face painting. The hallways were lined with raffles, prizes, and displays about John Blais “Blazeman”. The race was set-up to raise money for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I watched about 5 minutes of John’s Iron Man video and then went outside for a little serenity to stretch and prepare for the race.
The weather was overcast and looked like it was going to start pouring on us any second, but it held off. It was actually a perfect day for a race. Mike went for a warm-up run on the course. When he got back he gave me the lowdown. It sounded like it could possibly be the day I had been waiting for. I knew if I could run the race in 18:07 (or faster) it would break my oldest PR (from 1993). At 9:30am I did a short warm-up run and came back and stretched again.
I had my last bit of water, made one more trip to the bathroom, and then went to the starting line. While in the bathroom, I could hear three ladies talking through the wall (in the ladies bathroom next door). One of them asked, “How long do you think it will take us to finish the race?” Another woman replied, “I am not sure. I have never walked a 5K before.” The third woman replied, “I think it will take us between 15 and 20 minutes.” I had a good laugh. Then I thought to myself, maybe I should walk with them…
When I arrived, at the start at 9:55 there were only about 5 of us there. I figured the festivities and announcements back at the school were running long. I looked at my watch and it read 10:01. I asked Mike if he was sure we were in the right place. He assured me we were. I was starting to wonder if the race would start before 10:15am. A couple minutes later the crowd started walking to the start. By 10:06 the race started.
We started on Flat River Road (Route 117) which stood by its name. The race started out flat and went slightly downhill on Flat River Road. We took a right turn onto Town Farm Road (the 1 mile mark was on this road). From there we turned left onto Poor Farm Road (a little more rolling, but not bad). After that it was another left back onto Flat River Road. Once out on Flat River Road we soon hit the 2 mile mark. It was a little uphill grade back to the finish (still not bad). Just after the 3 mile mark we took a quick left on Walker Lane and finished right there.
As I took the corner I saw the clock. It read 17:50. I sprinted with all I had left in the tank and crossed the line in 17:57. I was so psyched! I was doing back flips inside. I had not only broken my oldest PR, but also broke 18 minutes which was my all time 5K goal. Now all I need to do now is qualify for, and run the Boston Marathon. Then I can retire. Just kidding…
After the race there were lots of refreshments including: Pizza, bagels, muffins, water, and fruit. The awards only went 1 deep (which I thought was unusual), but overall it was a fun race. The people that ran it did a nice job. They just need to tighten up things a little so they can start on time next year… I do hope they raised lots of money for ALS! It was a great cause. I would definitely run this race again!
by Chris Poulos

Hi, Jon!

My friend Colburn and I had a wonderful time at the Blazeman 5k yesterday. It was one of the best organized races we’ve ever done (and we do 80+ a year), especially for the first year. We were happy to meet you and your parents as well as lots of other great people. I rolled at the end and, even though my friends thought I’d crashed (like I thought initially when I saw you on TV in the Ironman) it felt good and cool. I felt connected too... and still do. I would have to say that it’s not just the people who planned and worked on the race who are different, but the racers too. I felt it even before we got there. Your website is just great and I expect I’ll be checking it out frequently. I met a mother of one of the 8th graders after the race and she told me, “I’m so glad she (her daughter) is interested in something”. Yes, that’s it, eh?

Thinking of you all fondly,

Laurie, the Penguin

Mrs. Norris-Karten,

Hello and congratulations on a sucessful event. You and your team should be very proud of yourselves on making this event happen, and making it such a huge success. And how lucky were you that it didn't rain during the walk!!! I only wish I could have participated more.


Hi Vicki

Just wanted to let you know what a fabulous job you did. I know that you put in so much time and effort and it was a great success. John Blais’ cousin was talking to me for a bit and she had all wonderful comments about the entire event. She was very impressed. She wanted to know if this was something that would continue yearly.

Again congratulations on a job done magnificently!!!!!!


Hi Vicki and Cliff-

I just wanted to say what a tremendous job you all did on the race today. Everything was beautifully organized. I’m glad I got the signage and lists to you so that could be in place. The kids were great! (That Rebecca was a ‘hoot’ – I want to hire her!!!)

Cliff- the web site was really great. I can’t tell you how many people remarked about how nice it was!

You both should have your shoes off by now, and, if you haven’t done so already, open a nice bottle of wine and relax. Finally.

If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to contact me. It was great working with you both.



I did the Blazeman 5K on Saturday, what a great event. After the race my mother, girlfriend and I talked with your father, he knows a lot about triathlons. I am doing Ironman Lake Placid this year and I am planning on doing the Janus Charity Challenge with "The Blazeman Fund" as my beneficiary.

Your father was telling me about the Blazeman Warriors, when it starts up, I would love to join. He also said there would a multi-sport clothing line coming out. If anything would be available by IMLP, I would love to purchase some and be honored to wear it during the race.

We are forever changed by your inspirational story and will never look at a challenge in the same way again.

Thank you,

Peter Firth

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