THE RUN4LIFE PART II

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THE RUN4LIFE PART II

The Accidental Run Part II

I had a crazy thought a few years ago. I was in the lobby of a Church talking to Matt Blacklock. Matt is a friend and ultramarathon runner who has tackled some of Canada’s toughest long distance runs. An ultramarathon is defined as anything over 50kms. Matt was telling me how difficult and mentally challenging ultramarathon runs are and I was thinking how I dislike running.

As the conversation continued a common synapse problem occurred which I am familiar with. The problem has happened several times before. As my mind was processing just how much I dislike running, my mouth started talking as if I were not in control any longer and out came the words “I would like to try one of those!”.

What I do like to do is commit myself verbally and unfortunately many years of programming seem to have allowed my mouth to operate independently of my brain. After a few more minutes of conversation I was further committed to a date, a location and a distance. The Cabrakan 100km Ultramarathon in Guatemala. What had I done?

As it happens, Matt is also the base director for local charity FeViva that our Foundation, Rally4Life supports and so there was a natural charity fit. Later, I admitted to my wife that I might just have made a foolish decision and I was going to run 100km. The furthest I had run up to that point was 21.1km. I busily spoke to other ultramarathoners and read about training plans and prepared to do a lot of running and my first marathon.

As we got closer to the date I asked my wife if we should broaden the scope of the trip and see if people wanted to join us and use the event to raise money for FeViva. We sent out a call and were overwhelmed with the response. In total, eight other people, including one of the founders of FeViva decided to participate in the run, not just come with us.

None of these people had ever run a half marathon in their lives, many had never run other than on a treadmill but what was evident was the mental commitment these people made to the event, the charity and their challenge. They had all decided to run 25km and create two relay teams. At the same time a group in West Kelowna decided they would raise funds and run a similar distance on the waterfront in Peachland on the same day!

This whole accidental run started with one sentence…. “I would like to try one of those”.

After the event, which happened last November in Guatemala, the whole team had raised over $80,000 which was used to provide clean burning wood stoves to poor families in Guazacapan and to purchase a school in a slum area of Nicaragua.

Yesterday, I had coffee with Kim Wieler. Kim is one of the Founders of Fe Viva and at 53 years young and after having run his first race last year, here we go again! We decided to repeat the Run4Life!

FeViva and Rally4Life are partnering to create an annual fund raising marathon in Guatemala. The run will take you up a gentle slope with a beautiful view of volcanoes that guard the original capital of Guatemala, Antigua. After 21.1kms you will turn around and head back down to the Pacific Ocean.

Your option is to run a half-marathon or a full marathon. This year we will be raising funds to build infrastructure in the school in Nicaragua. The school is already overfull, needs a kitchen in order to be able to feed the children and washrooms as well as some additional classrooms. For only $320 per child we can provide all of the common area facilities they need to get a meaningful and healthy education.

The Run4Life will happen again this year on November 9th 2013. Many of us will be heading down from Kelowna and we will package a trip that allows you to participate in some charity work while you are there, enjoy the run and perhaps even take a few days off in El Salvador on your way home!

While it has been an accidental journey for me and others who participated, there are many grateful families and children around the world who are more than happy that my mouth is not connected to my brain!

For more information contact me mark@markjenningsbates.com


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