It’s been a crazy month of September so far with the Angeles Crest 100 cancelled by the wildfires in the Angeles Crest forest. I’ve never had a race cancelled due to natural causes, even if this fire was caused by arson (which is abhorrent in light of the consequences and deaths resulting). The one nice thing was that it gave me some time over the past 2 weeks to really hone in on putting the finishing touches on the 1st annual Running For The Wells 11k- Marin Headlands which was a major undertaking(http://www.seegundyrun.com/Running_For_The_Wells.html). We ran the event as a fun run starting at the Rodeo Beach Picnic Area near the lagoon. Runners ran about 0.7 miles to the Miwok Trail before going another 0.6 miles to connect with Bobcat Trail. Then there was on a gradual 2 mile uphill leading to Alta Trail. At the peak of Alta Trail near the intersection with Morning Sun Trail. On a clear day, Alta trail offers picturesque views of Mt. Tamalpais, Corte Madera, Tiburon, Belvedere and Angel Island on towards the East Bay. Runners then began a gradual descent on Rodeo Valley Trail, which normally offers views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco. The trail levels off at the bottom before reconnecting with Miwok and the run finishes right where it started.
Well, to say the event was a success was an understatement. Considering the dry lightining and thunder from the night before and the grey clouds in the sky on the morning of the event, we still had about 30 runners at the event and over 10 volunteers who helped setup, cook breakfast for the runners and cleanup afterwards. I had quite a few family members there helping out with my wife Wilma, my parents and Uncle Andy helping out with the preparation and at the start/finish, and Uncle “Mambo” Jose heading up the aid station. In addition, I had Steve, a director from work at Abbott Vascular, and his daughter joining Uncle Jose at the aid station. Sky and Pete, friends via the Runner’s World Forum helped man the grills and Alice, a friend of Wilma’s helped with the food preparation. Rick, an ultrarunning friend and training partner, was busy marking the trail earlier that morning (starting at 6:30 am) while Mike Lim was sweeping it at the end to ensure everyone got back alright. I couldn’t have done this alone and I hope I didn’t forget any of the volunteers.
While the sky never quite cleared and the light storm intended for Monday came a couple days early to intermittently drizzle on our run, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves out there. While most of the participants aren’t regular runners and those that are don’t always venture off-road, it was great to see everyone stretch themselves beyond their normal comfort zones in a place that has been home to many of my own training runs. I really wanted people to see it in all its beauty and although the weather didn’t fully cooperate, I was pleased beyond compare with how everyone brought a great attitude along with their great generosity. No injuries, no shortage of good food (chocolate chip pancakes…mmm) and no shortage of good company.
The best part of the run? Combined with other off-line contributions, we have raised over $3,000 which means one well will get built soon and we’re on our way to building a second well. To those that know me, East Africa and Uganda in particular are places that are deep in my heart. I loved seeing the faces of these villagers last year when I was there as they expressed the gratitude for those who’ve supported World Harvest Mission’s well-building in the past. Some will say that their problems are too much for one person to overcome, but we’re proving that with a little bit of teamwork we can steps to move things from “impossibility” closer to “reality”. I really believe that the Lord endows us with the ability to stretch beyond what we can imagine and having the runners and volunteers help to do that through this event was an inspiration for me. I am encouraged even more to consider making this an annual event and I will be consulting with folks in the Los Angeles area about an event down there in early November. We’ll see….:) Either way, feel free to support the well-building effort by making a donation via the PayPal at http://www.seegundyrun.com/ or at http://www.seegundyrun.blogspot.com/.
A huge thank you also goes to Injinji who helped me provide a pair of Injinji socks to all the runners who donated and all the volunteers. They have always responded to my calls for assistance with a helping hand, so I definitely thank them for that. Maybe some day I can come up with a race performance worthy of their support of my various running endeavors.
Good times, indeed. There’s only one thing left to say on this post: Thank You for your generosity in the past, generosity in the present and generosity in the future. God bless.
Pics to Follow Soon!