Friday, September 27, 2013

Running for a Cause

I've been involved with ultra running for over a decade but it's only now that I've gotten the chance to run for a cause. Oh I've donated/supported many different causes over the years and I've even run non-ultra events for this cause and that but never an ultra. It's crossed my mind over the years but I've never done anything beyond thinking about it. A shame really but now I have a chance, better late than never right?

Bighorn 100 this past June was a bit of disaster. Knowing that I was in for a tough time because I was going into it undertrained due to injuries I suffered during training didn't make it any better. I was out there for a long time, way past the time I wanted to finish in. As disappointed as I was with my performance I was immensely blessed to have finished at all and I was inspired to keep training through the summer in the hopes of having a better 100-mile ultra experience in the fall. I can happily say now that the summer indeed has been good. I'm entered for the Javelina Jundred set for late October this year. Those who know me, know that I'm no stranger to this race. For the past 5 years I've been crewing and pacing my friend Tony Portera. I've logged 160 pacing miles on the course! I'm excited to finally get the chance to run the race myself.

Even more exciting is the opportunity to raise funds and bring awareness to the work Asante Africa Foundation is doing in Africa which is focused on tackling educational challenges through the creation of safe and healthy learning environments, raising of the teaching quality and learning opportunities, by providing merit-based scholarships and the leveraging of partnerships and local expertise. This organization believes in the power of education, knowledge, and  opportunities – globally! They also have a passion for teaching others how to overcome challenges and conquering fears. All of this takes money of course and a part of raising awareness for Asante Africa Foundation is to spread the word for the need of financial support. In an effort to support us in our 100 mile journey Asante Africa has secured $10,000 in matching funds to match 1:1 of every dollar raised by October 30th. Kind of cool right? I think so. I wish I had someone who would do that for my contributions to my 401k. If you feel inclined to do so, click here, this will take you to the fundraising page for Luis and I.

It was Luis Velasquez, who got me involved and I didn't have to think twice. I've been telling family and friends. I've mentioned it before; training and participating in ultramarathons forces me to put myself first, it becomes all about me. I mean I'm always thinking about my training - how much to run and where, what I'm eating (and what I shouldn't), how I'm feeling, me, me, me! Volunteering at events, crewing, pacing and now, running to raise awareness for Asante Africa, helps me to un-focus from myself and do a good thing for others. It's a wonderful feeling and a great reminder that there are more important things, things of higher priority than myself. Even in my own universe, I should not be the center.

Asante Image1
Photo courtesy of Asante Africa. Photographer: Howard Jue.

Asante Image 2
Photo courtesy of Asante Africa. Photographer: Howard Jue.

Asante Image 3
Photo courtesy of Asante Africa. Photographer: Howard Jue.

Asante Image 4
Photo courtesy of Asante Africa. Photographer: Howard Jue.