A local pastor doesn’t mind coming in second to his running companion.
Pastor Jim Aniol is creating a My Team Triumph chapter in the Quad City Area.
It’s a national non-profit designed to help everyone get in the race with some people lending their feet.
Pastor Jim Aniol was first introduced to My Team Triumph about a decade ago while serving a church near Green Bay, Wis.
Combining his loving of running and service to others, he serves as what is known as an angel, pounding the pavement for the captain, who can struggle to do it for themselves.
It’s a fun run through the streets of Cambridge about a mission to cloth the soles of feet.
Pastor Jim Aniol said, “That’s what Project Dragoste is about. Collect shoes and also fund the mission to send more people to Romania.”
But Jim is also here running for another mission.
Pastor Aniol said, “God gives us each different talents, God gave me the talent to run.”
Jim runs for Jacob Martin.
Jacob Martin said, “When I first opened the door, I was a bit surprised and confused.”
Jacob is a participant in this run like any other.
Jacob said, “People cheering for me.”
But cerebral palsy would make the 5K an even more grueling race if he had to cover the distance on foot.
Pastor Aniol said, “Let’s hear it for Captain Jacob.”
That’s why Jim is giving him a lift.
Pastor Aniol said, “Everybody has an ability within him. If it’s to run. If it’s to smile. If it’s to laugh if it’s to get people involved. But everybody is differently-abled.”
It’s the mission of My Team Triumph, which Jim is working to grow in the Quad Cities since his call to the Cambridge United Methodist Church.
Pastor Aniol said, “This chair came from the church.”
They’ve been helping him propel this team so everyone has a chance at that race day experience.
Pastor Aniol said, “The more runners we get, the more chariots we get, the more kids we get on the road and that’s our goal.”
And as Jim and Jacob come to the end, there’s one part Jacob does on his own.
Pastor Aniol said, “Set out a goal for Jacob to actually finish the race.”
On his walker, Jacob takes those final steps on his two feet.
Jacob said, “It really puts a big smile on my face.”
Completing the destination, but only just beginning the journey.
Jim leads My Team Triumph in a handful of races each year.
His church is also helping him purchase another and larger chariot for the team.
“I started asking and all of a sudden, we had a chair in a matter of weeks. Had enough funds,” said Pastor Aniol. “Now what we’re doing is collecting funds for a larger chair so we can push disabled veterans, adults and larger children in it.”
They are about $400 short of what they need for the chair.
People looking to contribute, run or volunteer can reach Jim at the Cambridge United Methodist Church by calling 309-937-2018 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.