This coming Saturday, good friend of mine, Masumi Herota, will lap the Daffin Park 1.5 mile loop numerous times for 24 hours starting at 8:00am. Insanity, perhaps? Probably, but he’s doing it for a very noble cause. So, we’ll excuse it this time. Actually, it’s a personal challenge for him but more importantly he is doing it for CAF, Challenged Athletes Foundation. Masumi is hoping to bring more exposure to this very worthy organization and, much needed financial support as well.
In light of the horrific attack on innocent people during the Boston marathon, the run for this cause is more important than ever! A lot of fellow runners were injured and maimed by that atrocious act of terror. CAF will play a big part in helping many of those maimed in Boston get back on their feet to experience the joy of running again. It is very difficult for me to imagine a world where I am unable to run due to an accident or other circumstance that may leave me without the ability to continue running. CAF is an organization that is enabling and empowering amputees to continue fulfilling their passions in sports. There is a lot of nobility in that.
Kelly Luckett, a mutual friend of Masumi and I, has through CAF realized her potential as an athlete, an amazing ultra runner with a prosthesis below her knee.
Please read the Q&A between Masumi and I below and see why he is running 24 hours this weekend at Daffin Park. Then, if you would, please consider supporting CAF by making a tax deductible donation.
And, if you are able to, please drop by Daffin Park on some time on Saturday, May 25th and cheer Masumi and the others that are joining him on this 24 hour run. This is something that is very good for the soul.
I hope to see you out there.
- At 8:00 am this coming Saturday you will begin a 24 hour run at Daffin Park. You will follow a 1.5 mile loop around the perimeter of the park from 8:00 am Saturday to 8:00 am Sunday. You have chosen to do this run as a personal challenge and for the Challenge Athletes Foundation. Why the personal challenge, why for CAF?
The run started off as a personal challenge outside the confines of a sanctioned event. A challenge that encompassed the ideas of not running for the sake of a “placing” or a “medal”, but simply pushing yourself and the personal satisfaction of doing just that. The same day that I gave birth to the run, I asked all my friends if they had a charity in mind. Kelly Luckett was the first to respond by mentioning the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Before researching CAF, I had no idea who they were and the impact they had on Challenged Athletes such as Kelly. After researching CAF, I knew this was who I wished to be the beneficiary of the run. At the same time I knew this was a great way to introduce CAF to many others like myself who were unfamiliar with them. A few days later I contacted Stephanie Ward of CAF and discussed what I wished to do. Asking her as well if she could set up a page for the event in which people could donate “x” amount per mile achieved in 24 hours or an amount of their choosing. I figured that people would feel better donating to the page, than handing some crazy stranger donations directly. At the same time it was a way for us to see what we were able to achieve through this event.
I would like to add that CAF has pledged to assist athletes that were injured as a result of the Boston Marathon tragedy.
- What do you hope to achieve by undertaking this challenge – personally, and for CAF?
How many are familiar with CAF? I wasn’t familiar, and I have no doubt many others are not either. And unless you know a “challenged athlete” or are one, you can’t begin to know the costs for access and tools needed to participate in an event. So I hope this will bring awareness to those that are unfamiliar CAF, while also generating donations to a stellar foundation.
Personally?…I love to run… Although I do have some goals, the personal satisfaction of giving back is first and foremost. And why not “give back” to the community through something you’re passionate about. If healthy the entire run, my goal is an ambitious 140+ miles. Minimum would be between 100-120.
- You and I both know Kelly Luckett who is a challenged athlete and fellow ultra runner. What is it about her that inspires you to run for CAF?
Two words….humility and perseverance. Although I have not known her long these are two traits that define her as an athlete and individual. How many healthy individuals with all their limbs attached complete or even attempt at all a 5k, 10k, half/full marathon? Well she’s done this including multiple Boston Marathons. How many healthy individuals with all their limbs attached attempt an Ultra Marathon? Much much less than the former. Well…on January 12, 2013 she did just that completing the Ledesma Rails To Trails Ultra 50k. And she is “humble pie”….grin.
- Please share how you have prepared for this run?
In the words of Forest Gump,”I run a LOT”. Didn’t train any different than I do for other Ultra distances. And if there wasn’t an event or race ahead of me I would still train the same. I just love to run. When healthy (without injury) I run 100-110 miles a week. Two days a week I run an Ultra Distance of 50k (31+) miles. 3-4 days of the week I run 15+ miles. And then I throw in a short run of about 8-10 miles on 1day or so. The longer days involve sometimes a blend of both intervals and speedwork. Intervals meaning that within a 30 mile run or so I may run 10 miles, then walk a 1/4 mile or less. This also gives me a moment just to savor it all. And intertwine the speedwork. I believe speedwork should be done when your fatigued as much as the short runs. Also this time of the year I try to run when it’s the hottest part of the day. This way your more acclimated to the heat.
- How many people are running with you for this cause?
Not sure of an exact number. If I had to guess I would say 50+ scattered throughout the 24 hours. Kelly Luckett whom is the inspiration for this event will be running some mileage as well as volunteering. Lara Zoeller bring the only one that has committed to running the entire 24 hours. Many of our mutual friends aa well as some I have not yet met have different goals. I want this to be a fun event that brings awareness and donations benefitting CAF. I think at the same time it demonstrates what an amazing community/family of runners that we have, and what we are able to accomplish through this passion of ours. Not to mention inspiring others.
- What kind of shoes will you be running in?
Two pairs…Asics “Gel Lyte 33′s” and Adidas’s new “Boost”. I may start with the Asics for a bit more speed, while going to the Adidas’s after “x” amount of hours. The Adidas’s have been an unexpected surprise with the combination of sub-10oz and cushion. The Asics are my lightweight racer (for now).
- How do you plan to tackle this beast of a run?
Depends on different variables like how long it takes me to get into a comfortable rhythm. Usually it takes me 3-5 miles to get there. I would like to start off a bit faster pace at the beginning to makeup for any fatigue or possible injuries. Will start off in the low 8 minute miles and possibly high 7 minute miles. As I get much further into the mileage it’s hard to tell where I’ll be….9 min miles for hours….and so on… This is a mental challenge as well. This is why I love Ultra distances so much. It’s quite the mental challenge. And as with any Ultra distances there are times when you may walk briefly. As with the most recent Ultra I ran, the Delirium Ultra Endurance Race (ran the 12hr), I only walked about 30 seconds of the 12 hours, with a few too many aid station breaks. But 24 hours is another beast. Just figure out the math. Ambitiously I want to achieve 140+ miles in 24 hours. This puts me at about 15-20 miles behind the top 10 24 hour finishes in the world. In the end it’s a battle with yourself.
- What happens after this challenge is over?
I have quite a few Ultra Marathons that I’ve already signed up for all the way up to early 2014. About one a month. Looking at doing another run for charity before the end of the year. Perhaps 36 or 48 hour run. Often I think of what I can do next… Running across the state, and even across the United States. Along with the numerous goals that I have in sanctioned events like Badwater, Western States 100, and all the grassroots Ultras included, running should be enjoyed on an unsanctioned level. Although there may be goals that involve competing at a high level, it’s not ONLY about medals and placing. It’s about challenging yourself without expectations of medals, running for the fun of it all while pushing past what others including sometimes yourself seems impossible. I don’t see impossible when I look at the top ten 24hr times for a run in the world. Instead I work on pushing myself to reach those times one day. And this transcends to other parts of life.
- Will you continue representing CAF in other endeavors?
I would love to make this an annual event. And if there are other ways that I can bring awareness and support to the Challenged Athletes Foundation I will surely do so.
- Please share anything else you would like.
I would like to thank everybody who has and will be helping with the event.
It starts with Kelly Luckett. Not only is she the inspiration for this event, she is also running miles, volunteering, and donating items for aid station.
Would also like to thank Joseph Shearouse and Chris Foran of the City Of Savannah Bureau Of Public Facilities, Events & Services for graciously granting me the permit to run this event.
Would like to thank Stephanie Ward of the Challenged Athletes Foundation for all her assistance in putting this together.
Bren Tompkins for his help with the “pledge cards” and helping to provide items needed for the event.
Dan “Bigfoot” Hernandez for being an inspiration in more ways than I tell him (now you know Dan, a little…). Dan has been the voice of reason when I’ve been stubborn about injuries. He also introduced me to many that I know now in the running community. He’s given me (and all of us) events like Ledesma Sports Medicine Rails To Trails Ultra 50k that benefits the “Rails To Trails” and his newest creation Chase The Sun Ultra Marathon this September benefitting Liam’s Land Foundation. All while organizing almost weekly group runs for everyone. “Everyone” means ALL are welcome. Whether its your first time or your a seasoned veteran. And thanks Dan for being an integral part of putting this together by taking a lot off my shoulders including volunteers, aid station, and the occasional cheer.
There are so many people to thank….and so many reasons to be thankful…