We took part (and by "we", I mean "Kellen", and also mean "while I sat in the stands and watched him like the lazy soul that I am") in a really great fundraiser effort today, held at a local high school.
David Swanson, a local high school graduate and current cadet at West Point, decided for his spring break that rather than go to Miami or Padre or wherever it is those crazy college kids go these days, that he wanted to make a difference. His goal for Spring Break was to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that supports soldiers wounded in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Calling his project 24 Hour Brigade ultramarathoner Swanson invited area runners, walkers, mothers with strollers, virtually anyone, to join him in his effort.
I know, I know .... soliciting donations, or getting people to sponsor you for so much money for every mile or lap you run or walk. You've all heard of that, right? What's the big deal???
I'll tell you what the big deal is: This boy (and yes, despite the fact he attends West Point he is still a BOY to me) ran the ENTIRE TWENTY-FOUR HOUR PERIOD WITHOUT STOPPING, EXCEPT FOR BRIEF POTTY STOPS AND NUTRITION BREAKS.
Holy cow, can you even believe it??? Twenty-four solid hours of running, in the hopes he would reach his goal of raising $10,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
That, my friends, is freaking awesome.
Since Kellen is the only one in our family who enjoys running (shocker, I know .... you probably assumed I did, too, based on my ultramarathoner body ::cough::bullshit::cough::....) I figured making a donation would be easier than trying to solicit sponsors. Plus ...... um ....... to be honest ........ I sort of forgot about the run until the last minute.
Swanson started Friday evening at 5pm, and we showed up around noon today, right near his 19-hour point. I have no idea how many people joined in throughout the evening, or the morning today, but there was still an impressive group when we arrived. Including one man who appeared to be about my age who (rumor has it) had never met Swanson, but was also a West Point graduate. When he heard about this run he was inspired, but knew he could never run that long ... so he had walked the entire time himself. Running, walking, I can't think of ANYTHING I could do for twenty-four solid hours -- not even eat chocolate!
He had a group running with him, and I was told he had had someone running with him from the very beginning.
This was the really amazing part --- I actually saw the young man smile while running, and at this stage in the game he was closing in on the 100-mile mark. Are you hearing what I'm saying???? He had run almost 100 miles, basically without stopping, and was still smiling! I don't know whether to be shocked, or impressed, or freaked the hell out!!
Kellen checked in, made our family donation, and ran three miles without breaking a sweat. In fact, he probably would have gone farther but in a bizarre coincidence, we ran into friends there (who we didn't even realize, but they are friends with David's family, and we showed up to run at the same time, what are the odds of that --- Hi Stacey!) and it was sort of cold and windy and basically I wanted to go eat lunch. So we left after only three miles.
Clearly, self-sacrifice is NOT my thing.
But I'm so blown away by what this boy (OK, I guess I'll call him a man .... heaven knows with this kind of goodness in his heart he deserves it) has done. When we left the field, rumor had it he had reached double his goal.
As I type this, the run ended almost three hours ago. I hope Cadet Swanson is proud of himself ... I don't even know him and I'm proud of him.