Tag Archives: Africa

Very Crazy Idea – I need YOUR Help

Dear friend who may or may not occasionally run,

I decided to do something a little crazy, especially since I’ve been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and my knee randomly swelled up on me recently.

I signed up a team for the Ragnar Relay – Great River edition. On August 20 and 21 this race goes from Winona, WI to Minneapolis, MN and traverses 193 miles in the process. With 12 people running out of 2 vans the average distance any one runner runs is 16.1 miles. Over three runs and two days that isn’t too scary of an idea. Throw in the fun of running together and 15 passenger vans and it is a piece of cake.

I signed up for four reasons, 1 – we saved a good chunk of money on registration fees 2 – I got two free Ragnar headlamps, which will come in handy during the night-time legs of the race 3 – Ragnar posts a fairly easy training plan that starts April 9 and 4 – children are still dying for lack of healthy water.

To make the race even more exciting I and (ideally) the whole team will be raising money for Team World Vision. All money raised this year for Team World Vision will support water projects in Kenya and other African countries. World Vision is an amazing organization and I’m sure you’ve heard of it, if you haven’t I’ll direct you to this series that I wrote on my blog. My goal is to raise $2,000 again this year, which averages out to about $10.37 per mile of the relay.

So what I need from you is two things. First, I need you to e-mail and say that you are excited to join Team Run the River for Africa. I actually have to add you to the team on Ragnar’s site, we’ll then make arrangements for you to get me your $85 registration fee and a signed waiver. Secondly, assuming you want to help support water projects in Kenya you’ll need to visit Team World Vision’s site and signup under our team.  (This isn’t a requirement but I’d like the entire team to be wearing Team World Vision jerseys.)

What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? I’m sure you are! We’ll iron out more of the logistical details over the next few months.

I’m pretty excited about this and look forward to running with you.


PS. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, Team World Vision is hosting a 13.1 mile race in Minneapolis on August 22. This is one of their big national events and a portion of all proceeds goes towards their water programs. Additionally, there will be a ton of World Vision focused stuff going on with hopefully 1,000’s of runners sporting TWV Orange. When I first came up with this idea, I was planning on doing the relay and finishing with the 13.1 mile event on Sunday. I’m taking a more cautious wait & see approach on that right now, but if you do it, I’ll probably do it too! If you were a little bit of a chicken and wanted to only commit to running the 13.1 that’s fine too, I suppose. You can still join my Team World Vision team!

PPS. Ragnar Relay rules require us to provide 3 volunteers to help throughout the weekend at aid stations, etc. We may also enjoy having additional drivers and nighttime bike riders/pacers. So let me know if your interested in that too!

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Running from Apathy

rural school
Image by crossn81 via Flickr

Today, Dec 1 is World AIDS Day.  You really should read this article about hope from Relevant

I left Desalech with an amazing sense of hope, and also urgency. She had seen her life turn around. But I could only imagine how many other women there were like Desalech who desperately needed help: life-saving help.

I had traveled to Ethiopia with a couple of other World Vision staff who worked solely with Team World Vision. They basically recruited people to run marathons in honor of people like Desalech in Africa, raising awareness and asking for financial support in the process. This marathon thing, to me, was an absolutely ridiculous idea.

In seventh grade, I was the girl who faked being sick to avoid running one mile in gym class. Chalk it up to all the classic reasons: self-consciousness, fear of failure, embarrassment. I dreaded that one mile so much that I probably wasn’t actually faking sickness at all. The thought of running for even 10 (OK, maybe 14) minutes, coupled with the resulting humiliation of it all, was enough to make me physically ill. Let’s just say that my aversion to sports did not improve throughout high school. Or college.

Be sure to read the whole article.

[tags] Relevant, World AIDS Day, World Vision [/tags]

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Give to the Max

For 24 hours, starting at 8:00 am on November 17th, every donation made through www.GiveMN.org will be eligible to receive a portion of the $500,000 match. These funds were contributed by the Minneapolis Foundation, St. Paul Foundation and Bush Foundation. Also, generous funders are defraying donation processing fees on this site, so 100% of your gift goes straight to the organization!

In addition to the matching funds, the three nonprofits that receive the most individual donations will receive cash prizes: $5,000 for first prize, $2,500 for second, and $1,000 for third.

Over 36,000 organizations have a profile on the site. Thirty-two show up when I type “running” into the search engine though most of them aren’t running related or are too specific for my purposes. So I helped narrow it down for you.

Running Related

  • Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) is my running family in Minneapolis.  It is one of the largest clubs in MN and does some great work.
  • Twin Cities Running Club (TC Running) they are a “rival” USATF team but it is all fun and games.
  • Team USA – MN is a post-collegiate training center and group for runners to be coached and supported while they strive to fulfill their athletic goals.
  • Bolder Options is a great youth mentoring program that connects youth and mentors through running (and biking) activities.  I would highly recommend volunteering as a mentor with Bolder Options.
  • MN Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contains 13 member colleges that support student athletes.
  • YWCA provides a variety of services to pretty much every population. They focus primarily on racial justice and empowering women and girls. In Minneapolis they also operate 3 fitness facilities. We are a member of the YWCA.
  • YMCA also provides a variety of services and operates a lot of fitness facilities around Minneapolis and the West Metro. Some of our friends work for the YMCA, though none of their facilities are conveniently located for us.

Below are 7 organizations that I have given to or would give to if I had more money! (in no particular order)

  • Longfellow United for Youth and Family have played a huge role on my work here in MN. LUYF is a coalition of community members and churches that provide a free tutoring program and strongly support the work of the Sanford Job Corps – one of my primary responsibilites at Sanford.
  • Elpis Enterprises has been another great partner for my work in MN. Elpis or Hope provides teenagers the opportunity to gain work-related skills and leadership through screen printing and other businesses. My first encouter with Elpis was with their bird feeder program. We bought kits and Paul brought out one of his employees and they helped my kids build 20 bird feeders in 1 hour!
  • Achieve Minneapolis is more or less a foundation that supports programs within the Minneapolis Public Schools. They provide grants for classrooms, teacher professional development, field trips, host career fairs, and much much more.
  • CommonBond Communities provides affordable housing and supportive services in the Twin Cities. I put CommonBond under youth development because I volunteered with them during the summer of my Americorps*VISTA service. I served as a program assistant in a summer program that combined fun and learning during the afternoons for children residents of the Seward Towers. They provide many more services to their residents.
  • World Relief helps refugees adjust to life in Minnesota and America. This is the umbrella organization for the English literacy site that Christy and I co-coordinate. They also provide job training, initial welcoming services, housing assistance and much more to refugees as they walk off the plane and into the sometimes harsh tundra of MN.
  • Minnesota Public Radio is a great news source for both local and national issues. They also have a rocking music station that plays a lot of local bands.
  • Second Harvest of the Heartland is a large food bank that is helping to end hunger in MN. It is affiliated with the national Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest Network) and does some great work here in the Twin Cities.
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World Vision Wrap-Up

World Vision

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t say how thankful I am for everyone of you who supported me through the marathon and especially through my fundraising efforts for Team World Vision.  It was a humbling honor to run on behalf of my African friends and to share their stories with you over the last months.

It really has been fun to combine two of my passions into such a powerful event.  Thank you! I am excited to announce that as of writing this post, we have raised $2,086 for Team World Vision!!! This exceeded the $2,000 goal!!  Thank you!!

Below you will find a list of the posts where I shared about my passion for Africa and my experiences there.  You can also read all of the posts by clicking on this link.  In the order they were published:

That pretty much sums up Team World Vision.  I’m not sure when/if they actually close down the fundraising page, but you still have the opportunity to give today.  Thank you!!

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

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September Highlights

I probably say that every month seems to fly by, well September was no different.  The middle school I work at started right after Labor Day and it has meant some busy weeks. It is good to have the students back though, they help give purpose to my work – since my job is focused on finding opportunities for volunteers and community organizations to engage them, this makes sense! I also celebrated my second anniversary!!

It is a little odd to interrupt the flow of marathon related posts considering that the marathon is a few short days away, but it is good to look back on the month while I still have it fresh in my mind.  As you know marathon training has been going well and weeks 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 were successfully completed!

If I wasn’t out running a long run, it seemed like I was racing and happily setting PRs. This month I just raced the City of Lakes 25K – my furthest race distance and left feeling super excited. I really enjoy running in Minneapolis because there are so many different place to go running.  I just wish there was more dirt trails near my house! Some of my favorite places to run include the Minneapolis Riverfront and Pike Island.

I continued sharing about my experiences in Africa and different programs of World Vision.  I wrote about Hurricane Relief, making Caregiver Kits with Cindy McCain and Laura Bush, the World Vision Experience, and I shared from my journal some of my initial thoughts about Ghana.

Blogging is fun, so I’m glad to see that the new USATF CEO has started his own blog.

Last Year a friend wrote a guest review of the Lewis and Clark Marathon, it was much better than this year’s rain soaked affair.  My blog last year was called Run Central Indiana and it was the featured blog of the week over at the Phedippidations podcast.  Two important but often forgot about training tools are accellerations and strides.  I ran a DINO Series race (15K trail races) and wrote a nice review and had fun despite the muddy conditions. Finally, I shared what was currently on my mp3 player.  The list has changed some but some of the shows are still there!

Monthly Mileage

Running – 160 miles

Biking – 146 miles

[tags] Highlights [/tags]

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