I called up Mo for the first time and found a person who was warm, friendly, and incredibly easy to talk to. He shared openly when I asked him my favorite question, "why do you run?"
It is fascinating what you find when you ask people this question because the conversation always goes far beyond running. There is usually an impetus to getting into this activity. There are reasons that we choose to travel down certain paths.
During Mo's military service he had a surgery on hig leg that resulted in major arteries being cauterized to the extent that amputation of his leg was discussed as the best option. After the surgery he only had 10% of the normal blood flow in his entire leg.
When he returned from duty in the military he began to fall into an inactive lifestyle and became 150 lbs over his normal weight.
In 2003, Mo was told by doctors that he would never run again. They informed him that excessive use of his leg would ultimately result in an amputation. He would require at least annual surgeries on his leg and recovery would limit any active style he was hoping to seek.
"After 9 years of progressive and numerous surgeries I decided to make life changes and become more active", Mo remembered.
"I could easily highlight weight loss and other healthy habits I picked up through this process but at no time were those the main reasons I started and continue to run. I started because medical professionals and others close to me thought I could not do it.
I completed my first 5K on Jan 2012 and a 10k shortly after. My first 5K and 10K, I was the fat guy with a fully loaded Camelbak. Of course, I looked like a dork, however, I did drink all the water.
I decided to push my limits to see what my body could do and over the course of 2 years I completed trail 10Ks and half marathons and in June 2014, my first 50 miler."
Mo worried about what may happen to his leg with increased running, however, this felt like less of a risk than dying from unhealthy lifestyle. He dreaded the thought of shopping for a prosthetic leg. He dreaded the thought of not being active and mobile with family and friends more.
"Although I prove those doctors wrong daily, my motivation switched. As a disabled veteran, there was one gap I noticed in the running community. Coaches, product testers, nutritionists, etc. that gave great advice for those that do not have disabilities, but individuals like myself never received benefit from that advice. Do not get me wrong, there are folks out there trying however, if you do not have a disability and you are offering advice, your truly do not know the hardships.
I run to document what hardships I encounter, how I overcome them and wait to share with runners in similar situations as me. I am running for you. I am running to help others like me make the connection."
Although Mo started running to prove doctors and others wrong he is now rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment at the ends of races, the discussions he has with others on the trails along the way and the views from the places that running has taken him.
Regardless if you are a runner with or without disabilities, remember these wise words from Jimmy Buffet, "Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see."
Mo live is Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and two kids. You can find him on Instagram @blazinginov8r, Twitter @blazing_inov8r, and FB @Blazing Mo.