So when I heard about it and how shaken everyone at work was I felt I had some way of helping. I could run.
So I went back to my office and within a few minutes I had a full plan in the works. I would run for 24 hours and ask for pledges of any variety of dollar amount and the total donation for each person would be their pledge times the number of laps I completed. It was a take on the "Bowl-a-thons" we used to do back in Vermont with the Boy Scouts. I'd get my family to pledge a nickel or something per pin I'd knock down as a 9 year old. Then i'd go out and crush it and come back asking for $150. This was nothing like bowling but I felt it could work.
So I ran with it. I had three courses mapped out, calls into parks, race directors in the area and before the day was out I had it rolling. The family needed money now not in a month so I knew it couldn't wait until after Thanksgiving. I was already planned to do a double crossing of the Grand Canyon on November 2nd so it would have to be the following weekend, November 10th. I'd have 9 days to prepare for what is hopefully 100 miles.
As soon as I sent out an email to my entire hotel company, Hotel Valley Ho and the Sanctuary Resort & Spa, I had a massive response.
Everyone wanted to help Ana's family out. In any way they could. See, Ana is the niece of Maria Gonzalez and has worked at our hotel for probably five years. She's the sweetest, kindest, most good natured young woman you'll likely find and has always been that way since I met her.
So the pledges started to come in and within an hour we had over a dozen pledges totaling over $15 per lap. Then I posted it on Facebook and my friends in the running community chimed in with an equally overwhelming response. Friends I hadn't heard from in years, people I see every day, small amounts and huge amounts, people pledged with their hearts for these children and the totals rose with every day.
Then we sent out a press release and the pledges rose once again. At the end of today, Thursday the 8th, we are sitting at $39.74 per lap.
If I can make it to 100 miles on 24 hours that's almost $4,000.
It is surprisingly difficult to secure a location to run for 24 hours.
In the age of liability and lawsuits, so many roadblocks out there. City parks are not an option despite many being very sympathetic and wish they could help. Even the Indian Bend Wash, a seemingly "open" park system can't allow a runner to run loops on the multiuse path despite being able to run through the park at any time of the night. Police and Fire need to be alerted in nearly all areas and really, just one problem after another. It would seem that nobody wants to allow a random guy to run around in circles all night.
So I'm just going to pick my own course and found one that is 1.0 miles around and on trails in one of the parks in town. It has its own access without having to leave a vehicle on park property and has only 46 feet of gain in one mile loop, or only 4,600 over 100 miles. It's far more mentally engaging than a track or paved loop with many dips, weaves and turns through the desert. It's exposed of course but does have some tree cover here and there and overall, a course I think I can run for 24 hours and not go completely insane.
I'm just praying that should some well meaning Park Ranger come see me running around the desert at night Saturday night, to please understand the reason behind it and kindly look the other way. I'll pick up every piece of trash in sight and leave it in much better condition than found. I can guarantee that and just hope it can be a live and let live situation.