Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Running 13 races 13 miles long in 2013

Emmanuel Jal - International Hip Hop Artist and Peace Activitist
The first race I ever ran was a 5 K River City Run (11-01-2008) in my parent's winter home, DeBary, Florida.  I had never done one before, but I did it and it was really great when it was over.  So, I did a few more, and in December, 2008, I ran a 5 K race in Orlando with the OUC Half Marathon.  I saw people lining up and thought, "OMG, they are going to run 13 miles??? Are they crazy???" Then, in 2009, one year later, I ran that half marathon.  I couldn't beleive that I did it.  I did it. 

On January 10, 2010, I ran my first full marathon - the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida. I did not do well, but I finished. I never, never, never imagined I could run a full marathon, but I had two things - 1) a burning desire to do something noble after losing my career, my money, my life partner and my self-respect, and 2) I had the music of Emmanuel Jal on my iPod and when I listened to it, I could run for miles.

In February, 2010, I became Facebook friends with Emmanuel Jal and we would chat. He invited me to go to the Clinton Global Initiative in March, but the volcano in Iceland grounded Jal in London and he could not attend. Also, in February, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon which was going to take place on 10-10-10. That date will never come again until 2110. So, I decided to raise money for Emmanuel Jal's charity - GUA Africa. Gua means peace in Jal's home language, Nuer.

The following year, I decided to run 11 marathons, half and full, for GUA Africa. In 2012, I ran 12 full marathons. I thought I would stop after that, but I cannot give it up. It makes me feel so good about myself; it is one of the few things that doesreally make me happy and proud. 

Kids benefiting from GUA Africa, South Sudan

This year, I was running the St. Pete Beach Classic and I thought "I should run 13 halves because that would be 13 x 13.1 x 13 - 13 halves (13.1) in 2013 and try to raise moneyfor GUA Africa by getting 1000 or even 100 people to donate $13.00. So that is the goal...check out my website at

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