Saturday, March 21, 2009

24 Hour Brigade

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.

18 comments:

Pam D said...

That is absolutely awesome! The only thing I might could do for 24 hours is sleep... and even that would be tough! And Kellen ran 3 miles with no problem? THAT's pretty awesome, too...

Cozyflier said...

Wow Kristie, thanks for sharing this awesome story. Stephanie is here in Lubbock, and said she got to meet Cadet Swanson at church last Sunday!

Congrats to Kellen, I couldn't run 1 mile, I'd be in the stands with you!

Anonymous said...

God Bless Cadet Swanson. I couldn't run half a block without passing out. Good for Kellen too.
Lori

shara said...

I saw the same story on the news last night. I didn't see anyone running w/ him and was worried that noone would show since it was rainy. I pooped out (I didn't see me in the pic). I am so glad you and others were there!

M said...

WoW! That's AMAZING! Makes me want to make a donation....I read about 100 mile runs...and one never crossed my mind....I rode 100 miles on my bike, drove 100 miles in an old '63 Micro Bus but never, ever would run that far- Maybe watch though! -Can't think of anything I could do for 24 hours either...no, not chocolate here either!

Good job Kellen!

Cindy in Yukon said...

David has always been an inspiration. He and Amanda graduated HS together in 2006. Way to go Kellen, 3 miles is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a heartwarming story Kristie. What a great guy!

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Previous post from Dianna in Louisiana...................

Stacey said...

Hi back! It was fun and David is a remarkable young man. Last night Alex was still marveling that he ran (well, ran, loped, walked while scouring for free snacks and water) 4 Whole Miles!!!! Lunch was the best part. Good luck this week and love to Blaine. Talk to you soon.

Stephanie D. said...

Kristie - thanks for posting this story. It is amazing what one young man can do, huh? My son is a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy and just like the Cadets at West Point - these kids never cease to amaze me. We had kids from the Naval Academy that used their Spring Breaks to go all over the US and the world to help build homes, churches, work with orphans, etc. It's very humbling isn't it??

BTW, I just finished reading the book "The Unforgiving Minute" by another West Point grad, Craig Mullaney. Knowing what a great reader you are and your love for the military (and Blaine)... you would probably love it. JMHO!

Mama Bear said...

Amazing.

With young men (and women) like this training to run our military, I feel our country is headed in the right direction. Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it nice to know that there are alot of good kids still in this world. It seems like most of the time the only time kids get mentioned is for the bad things thast they do. My son who is a senior in high scool spent his spring break(for the second year in a row) in Guatemala doing mission work with 15 other kids from his youth group at church. Most of his friends were going to Cancun to a resort but he said he wanted to go to Guatemala to work at Compassion an after school program for kids in Guatemala. He said there was nothing more special than when a little boy that he meet last year came running up to him yelling his name and jumping into his arms!

Anonymous said...

What an honorable young man! That's the kind of guy I want defending my country! Thanks for sharing! Also, seeing that Kellen ran for 3 miles to honor David's goal shows me that you have a pretty big-hearted kid there! Yea Kellen!

Anne in GA

Anonymous said...

Amazing!!!!! It's so heartwarming to hear about people who are so willing to help.

Katie said...

What an awesome story. Thanks so much for sharing it Kristie.

AND GO CADET SWANSON!!! :)

Elaine at Lipstickdaily said...

Great story! I can't imagine doing that!

Anonymous said...

I just saw a news clip about this on CNN Headline news. I was hoping they might have the video on the web, but haven't found it yet. I'll keep looking.

The Running Girl said...

Amazing! I can't imagine running straight for 24 hours and I love to run. Great job to Kellen for getting out there and making a difference.