For many people in New York City, 1.7 miles is what they walk in work day without thinking about it. For me, it’s a stretch. Generally speaking, I hate exercise (unless I accidentally get it while dancing). I don’t enjoy walking long distances if I can help it.

Still, running the Hope and Possibility Race last year was so much more than just a workout.

The Hope and Possibility Race is an annual event organized by Achilles International. The race unites people both with and without disabilities to support the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream athletic events.

For me personally, it had to do with the race’s namesake and what Jon Stewart called the “human spirit.” I was lit afire with enthusiasm when Jon Stewart himself personally wished us a great race two feet from me…and ready to show the world and my students with disabilities that Hope and Possibility are very real indeed.

Every day is an opportunity to be a positive example for someone else, and an opportunity to stand, walk, or run for something that matters to you (even if you can’t stand, walk, or run). When I started to slow in the middle of the race, I would hear, “You’re doing great, you can do it!” and it would fill my heart’s gas tank. I’d try to say something back: “Thank you, I love you…I love New York.” and I’d instantly get a rush of energy, a boost of “can do.” I realize how much we can uplift each other with a clap, a smile, or positive word. The race meant more and the sense of accomplishment was so much greater because it was not easy. I learned that day that the harder something is at the beginning, the more worthwhile it is in the end. As I approached the finish, I was tired but strengthened by the voices and presence of encouragement. Strengthened by the cause.


I was physically exhausted, but spiritually energized and aware of what crossing that finish line would mean to the hundreds or thousands of people surrounding the last quarter mile, to myself and for God. And as I crossed the finish line, ER’s Anthony Edwards said a heartfelt Congratulations to me! I yelled, “Thank you Anthony Edwards!” as I rushed past him into the arms of teammates, and into a rush of victory like I’ve never experienced. There, in the arms of our coach, surrounded by others who earned their medals, I realized the power of will and spirit over the body. I realized that I am Xian Horn and I am Positively Positive (and I’m not alone)!

Race with me this year:

For more info about the 2012 Achilles’ Hope and Possibility Race on June 24th, please visit Achilles International and sign up at New York Road Runners.

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy, serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. To support her True Beauty efforts for people with disabilities, please join Xian’s Facebook community and follow her on twitter here.