Photo courtesy of Vaughn Ripley

Photo courtesy of Vaughn Ripley

We asked some of the athletes that we’ve featured here on P2P to 1. Divulge their Thanksgiving traditions, and to 2. Reflect back on what they’re most grateful for this year.

Without further ado:

Vaughn Ripley

Vaughn Ripley Uses Fitness to Survive Hemophilia, HIV, and Hepatitis C

Holiday Traditions: Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday ever since I was little mainly because I love gratitude, eating turkey and potatoes, and watching football. My tradition is always a big family event. Lots of food. Lots of family. And lots of stories.

Thankful for: This year, I am most grateful for my lessons. I am just getting over a severe hip bleed, lower back issues, sciatica, a partially ruptured Achilles, and an ankle bleed. I know that sounds more like a complaint then something to be grateful over. But, I learn the best under pressure and from pain. I’m more of a man this year (at 48 years young) than I’ve ever been. Thanksgiving isn’t my only time to think about what I’m grateful for. I have a small stone that my daughter, Trinity, gave me when she was two. She’s about to turn 11. When she was two, she gave me the stone to remember how much I love her. I keep it on my nightstand and rub it every night and morning. While rubbing it, I think about everything I’m grateful for. Every day I’m grateful for my life, my family, my friends, my work, my hobbies, and my experiences.

Photo: Dave McGillivray/Boston Globe

Photo: Dave McGillivray/Boston Globe

Dave McGillivray

Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray a Pioneer in Running for Charity

Holiday Traditions: I’ve been directing a local 5K / 5M road race called the Feaster Five in Andover, MA, with 11,000 runners in it for the past 20+ years. Everyone who finishes gets an old fashion apple pie to take home for a Thanksgiving treat.

Thankful for: The health of my entire family and me!

Ellen Gallant

Ellen Gallant Treated Head Injuries in Mt. Everest Avalanche, Encourages Continued Relief for Nepal

Holiday Traditions: I am a terrible chef and end up visiting amazing friends who actually are able to cook turkey, etc.   My tradition for over ten years is that before a lovely dinner, I will hike/ski/cycle (depending on snow conditions) with a few friends, usually for a few hours to work up an appetite. I enjoy the silence and beauty of being outside.  Pretty sure we all reflect (sometimes out loud) on what we all respect and are thankful for.

Thankful for: Given this last two years on Everest,  I am grateful to be alive.

Eddie Vega

Barefoot Marathoner Breaks Records, Sends Shoes to Poverty Stricken Areas of the Philippines

Holiday Traditions and thankful for: It is that time of the year again where we have to be reminded to be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us by our Good Lord. As a first generation immigrant to this beautiful land of opportunity, my family has embraced the American tradition of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by sharing our blessings with family and close friends.

America has given my family so much and we are extremely grateful for our blessings and not just in terms of financial but for our health, as well. You see, had I not immigrated to Guam, USA, at the age of 6,  I would have probably not survived from illnesses that I contracted from going barefoot in the Philippines. I was fortunate that with America’s modern medical facilities, I was cured of hookworms and the deadly tuberculosis disease.

This is the reason why I am so passionate about my cause to create awareness for the 300+ million children worldwide who are without shoes or adequate footwear because of their impoverished living conditions. One of the main reasons why I love America so much is because of the generosity of the American people who are always so giving and willing to help those who are less fortunate.

Imagine that in less than two years, I received enough monetary donations from the American people to be able to provide over 20,000 pairs of shoes to underprivileged children in the Philippines. And, these were not used shoes but they were all brand new pairs of shoes!

Thank you America and Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Photo courtesy of Kelli Tanghe

Photo courtesy of Kelli Tanghe

Team Ari

Mother/Daughter Duo Tackle Adaptive Running, Make Disabilities Disappear

Holiday Traditions: Our thanksgiving traditions begin on Thanksgiving Eve as we make our stuffing the night before and our kitchen begins to smell like a holiday feast! On thanksgiving morning, we enjoy a cold, brisk, fall run as a family with all our kids. The Macy’s Thanksgiving day Parade is a must see afterwards on TV. After stuffing our turkey and getting it in the oven, we spend most of our day in the kitchen preparing food, sharing stories,  laughter, and eating! And don’t forget the Pie. Pumpkin, apple, chocolate…just yummy!

Thankful for: We are most thankful for our family & friends. Grateful that everyone is still with us. Michael and Ari are in good health. Big sis Lindsay was unharmed in the Paris attacks, & big bro Nic has moved back home & is the best physical therapist a family could have . We are also grateful for all the finish lines we have crossed together this year.  The time spent on the road with old & new friends is what makes the journey most meaningful. We wish all of you a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

Bonner Paddock

First Man with Cerebral Palsy Climbs Kilimanjaro, Completes Ironman

Holiday Traditions: Our Thanksgiving tradition is dinner up at my dad’s house in central California (Arroyo Grande). There are about 15-20 of us each year. A lot of eating and watching the football games. Nice to hang out with some of our family. My brother, Mike, and I drive up together so it’s a great time for us to catch up.

Thankful for: This year, I am most grateful for the craziest and best year of my life. I got to see so many of the amazing people who have helped make OM Foundation go for years when they came to the launch party of my book at Oakley in March. I am grateful for so many people who work on OMF and at Young’s Market Company that allow me the flexibility to do all the appearances and trips to Africa and our other projects we are working on.

John Sciarretta

Overcoming Substance Abuse and Homelessness, Obstacle Course Racer On His Way to World Championships

Holiday Traditions: Every Thanksgiving is different for me. Aside from my daughter, I don’t have family in the area, so my friends are my family. All my best friends and their parents love me and always want me to be part of their Thanksgiving celebrations. So, each year I like to celebrate with one of my friends family’s.

Thankful for: I am grateful for my sobriety. It has been a great year and I would not have had such a great year as a father and in my personal life without the help of AA and support from my friends.

Photo by Shannon Boffeli

Photo by Shannon Boffeli

Jen Hanks

Pro Mountain Biker Jen Hanks Pedaled Through Two Rounds of Cancer

Holiday Traditions: My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is to travel to St. George, Utah and spend the long weekend binge riding mountain bikes with friends in the desert; sometimes family even joins us.  This will be our third consecutive Thanksgiving in St. George!

Thankful for: I am grateful for my health. For the mutual adoration between me and my husband. For my best buddy, Dizzy Dog.  For my family and friends. For the ability to ride, train, and race my bike. For the ability to work at a job that I find rewarding and satisfying. And to continue to be able to find so much joy and happiness in life.

Vanessa Cantu

Undeterred by Spinal Cord Injury, Vanessa Cantu Hits Dallas Gym Harder Than Most

Holiday Traditions: Considering it is the one holiday that all my sisters and cousins are under one roof, we typically meet the night before Thanksgiving and assist my mom with chopping and prepping for the meal the next day. After, we all go out to a bar that has games we can play and catch a nice family buzz together. On Thanksgiving day, we eat around noon and then all scatter to fall asleep on the floor while watching a movie only to wake up and eat again.

Thankful for: I am most grateful for my daughter who has kept me grounded and encouraged me to provide the best life I can for her. I am also grateful for my Crossfit family that grows each year and my Adaptive Training Foundation family for just being themselves. I realize that everyone struggles with something, some worse than others, but we push past it and support each other through it. We hold each other accountable. They make me want to train harder and give it 110% of myself when I train. This is will ultimately be what inspires another athlete to do the same!

Steven Cook

Golf Course Superintendent Will Climb Nepal’s Most Technical Mountain for Michigan’s Make-A-Wish Foundation

Holiday Traditions: We try to meet my parents midway between their house and ours, usually Chicago, for thanksgiving dinner.

Thankful for: After abandoning Ama Dablam due to hazardous conditions, I’m grateful to be uninjured, grateful for a supportive wife, family and circle of friends. Grateful to a wonderful employer. Grateful to have a great staff at work. Grateful to make a wish for what they do. Grateful to all the donors who granted wishes. Grateful to have had the opportunity to be in the Khumbu region. Grateful to be going home.

Kanya Sesser

Photo: Dave & Sheri Hawkes

Photo: Dave & Sheri Hawkes

Kanya Sesser Blossoms with “No Legs, No Limits” Attitude

Holiday Traditions: For Thanksgiving, I usually get together with my family and have a big family BBQ. Food all day! But the best part is being with people I love.

Thankful for: I am grateful for the achievements and blessings that I have worked for to get to where I am heading in life right now. I’m so happy for the awesome new friends, opportunities, and people that have entered my life for a reason.

Lota Ward

Lotatoa Ward Becomes Ultra Runner at 8 Years Old, Despite Brain Tumor

Holiday Traditions: I’m excited about eating healthy food with my family.
Thankful for: I’m very grateful for running – running a lot.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, our faithful readers. We’re grateful for you!