Vance recalls record-setting run with Dr. Wandell

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

While setting a record could be enough for some, don’t expect Team Wandell to stall their mission anytime soon.

Sunday was a record-setting day on Virginia Beach for the running group members as they were able to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon (male) time for pushing an individual in a wheelchair. Flocked by teammates, Jeff Vance was able to push Dr. Josh Wandell across the finish line with a time of 1:35.12 during the Shamrock Anthem race. The previous time on the books was 1:54.49. To keep up with the authenticity of the time, roughly seven individuals were able to witness the time, which will be provided to Guinness, and be recognized by the book moving forward.

Going after goals is something not out of the ordinary for Wandell and the rest of the running group. Since Wandell’s diagnosis with ALS in 2013, the group has worked to inspire others with stories of positivity and running various races throughout the year.

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Vance, who served as Wandell’s dance partner of sorts during the race, stated the goal was something that was in the works for months.

“Dr. Josh Wandell and Team Wandell had the goal in sight for breaking the world record for awhile,” he said.

So the search was on afterwards to find a race. After participating in races in Jonesborough and Johnson City, the group was able to find a flat-surface area in Virginia Beach. Once the location was in place, Jeff’s wife, Brooke, started the application process while other team members started looking for witnesses to document the final time.

When asked about taking part in the race, Vance was quick to defer any praise to the rest of the team and Wandell.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for this opportunity and to have the ability to participate in such an amazing event for Dr. Josh Wandell,” he said. “I don’t want any of this to be about me. It’s simply amazing to see the Tri-Cities stand behind Dr. Josh Wandell and the team. It is very inspiring to see all the prayers of so many people. It’s like nothing I could ever truly put into words. They say sometimes there is strength in numbers. That’s what I felt at the starting line and all throughout this race. It was that Josh and I were running for a greater cause.”

Another key component of achieving the record is to raise awareness for ALS, Vance added.

“We are backed by so many people in our surrounding communities and others just like us will keep running the race in life and on the courses in the hopes of bringing to light a cure for ALS,” he said. “It was an amazing race and uplifting feeling when we crossed the line looking over to the clock time and knowing our hard work and staying the course had paid off on this day. I was praising Jesus. The look on Josh’s face said it all. We may have shed a few tears. It’s amazing to accomplish such a goal with a Brother in Christ!”