Category Archives: Charity

Race Review: 6k for Water

About 10 of us met at the Linden Hills Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream shop to start a 6k around Lake Harriet. The 35 degree weather and impending snow storm wouldn’t usually seem to abnormal but having had near 70’s weather made it a little harder to get prepared for a cold race/run. Gathered among us were 3 strollers! This could have been the 6k stroller dash for clean water!


Why a 6k? The average distance people travel for water in parts of Africa is about 6 kilometers one way. It took us about 40 minutes to run 3.72 miles, can you imagine walking that carrying a 5 gallon container of water? I can’t. But that is the daily task for many women and children across the developing world. My “registration fee” of $50 helped to provide Edwin from Kenya with clean water for the rest of his life.

Like training for a race, there is a long process for him to get clean water, but the finish line is now in sight. Soon he will be able to walk a short distance and get clean, healthy water. This will improve his overall quality of life by allowing him more time for school, he’ll be sick less often due to dirty water, and he’ll be safer by not requiring long walks to get the water.


For our part in the virtual event we met at Sebastian Joe’s which happens to be below the local World Vision office. From there our group headed to Lake Harriet and we chatted and had a grand time for the first mile or so. Then like many runs (at least with me) someone pushes the pace, I think this time it was a cute kid and her dad who would run ahead and then she’d hop in the stroller for a bit. And suddenly the group starts getting split up as the pace increases. We were at sub-9 for the middle mile. Around Lake Harriet the running path is pretty flat so we were able to keep the strollers rolling pretty well.


At the Lake Harriet Band Shell we turned right and headed towards Lake Calhoun. From here until the finish we hit some “rollers”. The hills really aren’t that bad, but those of us pushing double strollers felt them a lot more than normal! I had only glanced at the course map briefly and Anne wasn’t 100% sure so we had to make sure we didn’t veer of course as we turned at the light and then the next light and ended the run on the sidewalk running down Sheridan. At some point around the Band Shell Nadia started singing in the trailer, loudly! We rolled into the finish line and celebrated our success! Our little team had raised almost $2,500 for clean water projects (we were the 5th ranked team as of this writing). We joined 1,400 people in all 50 states for this first time virtual event!!

You can’t be that close to Sebastian Joe’s and not get some ice cream. Even if it is snowing outside! This little guy will probably never know what it is like to carry 5 gallons of water for 6k. And hopefully together we can provide easy access to clean water to for everyone before he starts running competitively. Will you help make that a reality? Please donate to my fundraising mission this year!


Running with Purpose: A Short Story

I’ve been a runner since 8th grade.  I didn’t join the track team in 7th grade because I was afraid.  I don’t remember what I was afraid of, track is the only sport that you couldn’t get cut from!  I remember the first time I had to run around the cinder oval – it hurt and felt like forever.  Who would have thought that 20 years later (yikes!) I would have run two marathons, numerous half-marathons, and many many other races.
Throughout middle and high school and much of college I ran to be a part of a team. Sure I got picked on by the upper classmen because I’m a scrawny little guy..  but on the track I felt great.  It seemed natural to join the cross country team in college and that was as close knit as any fraternity I’ve seen.  Some of my best friends are from those 4 years.
Somewhere in college my body and I got addicted to running.  I couldn’t stop.  As I traveled to England, South Africa, New Jersey, Ghana I ran. Running is a great way to see the world and to explore it in a different way.  You see a different part of a city when you run at the wee hour than you do when the tourists are out in force!
As I moved around and settled in to life I kept running.  Running is such a huge part of my life that the times I’m not able to run hurt.  I’ve continued running because I enjoy the pure pleasure of the wind in the face and the dirt on the legs after a great run.  I’ve met many great people and had numerous deep friendships develop on the roads and trails in my life.
Why am I telling you this? Another passion of mine is concern and compassion for the international community.  During my studies in South Africa and Ghana I’ve seen some of the worst poverty imaginable. I’ve seen hope and progress, but the poverty still lingers.  The continent of Africa has captured my heart and won’t let go.  As a family we continue to pour our lives into sharing with others the skills we’ve been blessed with.
In 2007, at the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon I saw something that would soon bring my running world and my passion for international issues together – a Team World Vision jersey.  After some research, I discovered that Team World Vision was raising money for clean water in Africa.
In 2008 I ran my first marathon raising money for water projects in Africa.  Each year since I have been involved with Team World Vision as I’ve done a variety of races.  This has become a better purpose for my running.  Connecting with others about the needs around the world, raising awareness, and supporting others as they run their first races… Why?
Did you know that people are still dying because they don’t have clean water?  This is 2013 and kids are dying because they don’t have clean water to drink.  The statistics will overwhelm you (783 million lack clean water, 6,000 kids die daily as a result of waterborne illness), but the solution is fairly simple.  $50 provides clean water for one smiling kid, for the rest of his/her life.   In the time you’ve read this several kids have died…  Would you consider supporting me as I raise money and awareness about the need for clean water?  I live in the City of Lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and these lakes are cleaner than the nasty water that many kids around the world drink, cook, and bathe in each day.
Please thoughtfully consider a $100 donation at this website.  It is safe and secure and would provide clean water for two wonderful children – maybe even some as wonderful as my Nadia and Caleb.
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Movember & Moustache Run 5k

A few male co-workers decided that we should participate in Movember this year.  The basic idea is that you grow a moustache during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues – specifically prostate cancer.  I was non-committal and shaved once over the first weekend before embracing it.  I actually did more of the No-Shave November thing, except that Christy was adamant that I use one a comb for your beard and that I not have a neck beard!

The only catch was that the person in charge of our Movember was adamant that to be in the contest you couldn’t have a full beard – just a ‘stache.  So on the morning of November 30 I had to shave my beard into something more ‘stachy.   Here are few pictures:

Before aka clean shaven:




How did this Moustache not win?

Some other shots of the “scary” ‘stache.  It was also called the Asian looking ‘stache and the No, No, No ‘stache.

Now the race… I saw the Moustache Run, which was actually quite expensive for a 5k at $45.  A few days later, Living Social had a coupon for about 1/2 off.  I know the money is for a charity, but I still took the coupon which made it a more reasonable price.  This was an untimed fun run, but it was still a little disorganized at packet pick-up.  About 600 runners had to fit into a tiny little patio area without any signage demarking A-G and H-Z.  After we got our bib number – everyone wore 2012 we then had to go to another line to pick up our hat and then yet another line for the post-race beer wristband.  None of this had signage which created a lot of confusion.

I had ridden by bike down to the river for the race so after checking in I went back to the bike and waited for closer to start time.  I didn’t know anyone else running so I just waited around.  As time approached I dropped off my coat at the bag drop and got in line for the start.  Check out the Run’s Facebook page for some great pictures.

I went out faster than my current training dictated and pushed the whole thing.  I didn’t feel super great the whole time as I pushed myself.  I made sure to cut the straightest line through the curvy West River Road and found people in front of me to try to catch.  The first mile was 7:20 and was at the top of the Plymouth Bridge, the only real “hill” on the course.  Mile 2 was in 7:23.  During the third mile I could see the Stone Arch Bridge the whole time which helped make the mile go faster.  Mile 3 was 7:13.  The last 0.1 miles was in 10 seconds…  Strava said the race was only 3.01 miles long, so who knows…  Either way I finished in 22:06 which was towards the front of the pack.  It hurt and I was very surprised when I saw my time.

After running the Moustache Run I played around a little bit more with the facial hair.  Just a Moustache:

And a soul patch:


How should I wear my facial hair??  And I probably should throw out a plug for some prostate cancer organization… so go show your support for  men’s health at Minnesota Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Give to the Max 2011

Today is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.  It is your chance to support your favorite MN nonprofit organizations.  Why is today special? One donation each hour is a Golden Ticket, earning the recipient an extra $1,000.  Additionally there are awards of up to $15,000 given in a variety of categories.

This year, in the first hour of giving $100,000 was given! In 2010, over $10 million was raised by 42,000 Minnesotans.  Each year (2009, 2010) I’ve provided a list of running related organizations you could support.  This year’s list is sadly smaller.  I’ve decided only to highlight organizations that have completed the GiveMN portal’s profile.

In no particular order:

Bolder Options – youth mentoring

YWCA of Minneapolis – fitness, youth, women, and so much more

YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis – fitness, youth, and so much more

She Runs – helping young girls complete their first 5k

Twin Cities in Motion – Support TCM’s community work

Team Tesfa – support education in Ethiopia

Midtown Greenway Coalition – support the Midtown Greenway

I’m sure I’ve missed some great running organizations.  Let me know which ones and I’ll gladly update the list.

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Run for Refugees

October 1, 2011, 9:00 a.m.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Jensen Lake Trailhead, Eagan

Come one, come all to a fun, relaxed, beautiful 5K! Very family friendly! Not a runner? There is a 2 mile walk option around a beautiful lake. This great event is sponsored by St. Anne’s Episcopal Church and benefits MCC Refugee Services.Register online today.


 3rd Annual

           5K Trail Run  2 Mile Forest Walk

Partnering to End Poverty at Home and Around the World        

October 1, 2011

       Jensen Lake Trailhead – Lebanon Hills Regional Park – Eagan, MN

Registration for 3rd Annual 5K Trail Run/ 2 Mile Forest Walk