We are honored to introduce to you this year’s special guest speaker, Thomas Odom! Although to many in our local community, the athletic community, and the special needs community, this guy really doesn’t need an introduction at all. Thomas’ reputation as a dedicated athlete, community philanthropist, and inclusion advocate precedes him. He has earned much respect in the sport community for his impressive list of accomplishments, such as: 10 Ironmans (including the Ironman World Championship), a double Ironman, many half Ironmans, a couple 100-mile runs, many Ultra Marathons, two Marine Corps Marathons (pushing his friend Jon), two Half Marathons with Jon, and a Triathalon with Jon…and the list is growing with an upcoming Half Ironman with Jon later this month and Race Across America (“RAAM”) next June.
With a special education teacher for a mom, Thomas grew up with a heart for the special needs community and a passion for inclusion. As a founding member of ConnectAbility’s Race For A Reason (https://connectabilityinc.org/r4r/) and a long-time participant and supporter of the Kyle Pease Foundation (www.kylepeasefoundation.org), Thomas has been able to combine that passion and his own love of sport to make an incredible impact and inspire so many others to use their gifts to do the same. When asked what motivates his advocacy for inclusion, Thomas says, “The main reason is because I love seeing others thrive. If my abilities can help them do something they love, then I must do it. If I don’t, I’m wasting my gifts. The second reason is selfish. I love to push my body to the limits. When I can partner with someone with different abilities than I have, I can push just that much more. There is no feeling like being pushed mentally by the mental toughness of the one you are pushing. It’s magic!”
We invite you to come out to the race in Hancock Park this Saturday for an opportunity to be inspired by this picture of inclusion in action. After the race, you will get to hear more from Thomas about his “WHY” and learn more about ConnectAbility’s heart for this mission. In the meantime, check out what Thomas is currently working on to support inclusion in sport and his goal to raise $250,000 for ConnectAbility and Kyle Pease Foundation at https://kyle-pease-foundation-inc.networkforgood.com/projects/53147-team-kyle-pease-foundation