Former foster kid Michael "Bing Bing" Taylor has done it again. After 4 consecutive long-distance walks, Michael was sponsored by Hathaway-Sycamores Child & Family services to run the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon...And he did it! In 5 1/2 hours, Michael crossed the finish line after 26.2 miles of running, jogging, and walking.
With very minimal training, Michael still believed he had it in him to complete the mission. The race started at the iconic Dodger Stadium and hosted a very creative path to the Santa Monica pier. "I took it one mile at a time. I was coasting through it until around the 18th mile where my legs began stiffening," says Michael, who raised $1,045.00 for Hathaway-Sycamores before completing the run. It wasn't the conditioning that got Michael to the finish line. He made it to the end simply because he believed he could. And that he will. And so, he did.
Along the way, Michael ran into his 4th grade teacher who still teaches at West Athens Elementary School in South Los Angeles. "I remember Mr. Smith would tell us that he runs the L.A. Marathon and wears a santa claus hat. Around the 11th mile, I got back in the race after stretching and crossed paths with him. He instantly recognized me," says Michael. Mr. Smith is a legacy runner in the LA Marathon and the senior teacher over at West Athens Elementary. Michael & Mr. Smith took a picture after they received their medals at the end of the race. He also gave Michael a limited edition "Legacy Runners" chip. He's been running the Los Angeles Marathon since it's inception in 1986. "The easiest part of the marathon was when I was talking to Mr. Smith as we ran. We must have talked for like a mile. Then I look up to see I traveled a good distance before I knew it," Michael explains.
As Michael traveled down San Vicente Bl., he pulled over to the island on the right to stretch his legs. As he took a seat, he looked up to see two fire fighters standing there with bikes. On the bikes read the name "Pasadena". When Michael noticed that the fire fighters were from Pasadena, he looked up at them and asked," Engine 33?" The fire fighter looked back at Michael and said," Bing Bing?" Turns out, Michael was talking to Tre, a fire fighter who works at Engine 33 on Lake & Villa avenues. A few years ago, Tre supported Bing Bing's music when he took an unexpected trip to the hospital. It was ironic that the two ran into each other.
Michael also passed by the RunWithUs athletic shoe store canopy stand along the marathon route. As he passed, he let them know that he got his shoes from their store. The conversation was short lived, but the connection was made.
According to the race results, Michael passed 324 runners while only being passed by 50 others runners. "It's kind of hard to tell where you're at because there is just so many people," Michael says after the race. "I probably won't be punishing myself like this again anytime soon lol."
Now that the 2014 marathon is over, Michael is collaborating with staff at Hathaway-Sycamores on finding ways to raise more money for the cause of foster children. He is seeking to raise $1 million to the Hathaway-Sycamores organization because he is confident that they will effectively use the money to help transition foster youth into productive, independent, self-sustaining citizens of society.