Before You start thinking this is another Coronavirus commentary, this is something much more than that. Something much more important.
Let me explain…
Since the Coronavirus Pandemic hit the United States, things have truly been upside down. Schools and Universities are closed and now left to remote learning. Almost all businesses are closed except for those deemed “essential”. Unemployment numbers are currently surging past 10 million claims. Our numbers of infected and deaths in our country continue to grow by the hour as fear an anguish are emotions, we all are experiencing as the lives we once knew, are being dramatically altered. New Jersey continues to be the second highest state of Covid-19 cases and deaths next to New York in the country and things are just getting plain scary here. When is this Curve going to Flatten? Is social distancing really working? How long will the country remain closed like this? These are some of the questions I know we all are wondering.
As a highly competitive, some would say elite ultra-marathon runner, all my goal races have either been canceled or postponed. I was hoping to put up a performance that would place me on the USA 100k road team that would be competing in the Netherlands in October (The race canceled for 2020). I have been going through a roller-coaster emotion of trying to figure out WHAT TO DO? How can I contribute to help those in need? IT HAS BEEN EATING AT ME the last few weeks feeling powerless in this pandemic, not feeling like I can help anyone. People are dying and here I am stuck at home, able to run outside to catch a nice break from the time spent at home but I am no doctor, no true essential person to fight this pandemic. What can I do?
The best ideas always pop up during a run and this one day, something just clicked.
I have spent my life running the Delaware-Raritan Canal Towpath and have run much of the 75 miles of the trail throughout my life in different sections. Why not run the whole thing? And why not use my legs and heart to hopefully inspire others to find their own ways to help.
On April 11th, I will be running the full-length of the D&R Canal Towpath from Milford, NJ all the way to New Brunswick and raising money and awareness for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund to help provide funding for supplies and grants for hospitals, their workers and for small businesses most affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic in New Jersey.
Link to NJPRF: https://njprf.org/
Link to the FKT of D&R Canal Towpath in NJ: https://fastestknowntime.com/route/delaware-raritan-canal-trail-nj
I have started a GoFund Me for this run where 100% of your donations will go the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and with your kind support will literally help save the lives of all those affected in New Jersey. I know that many give New Jersey a bad rap, but this is my Home and the homes of many others fighting for their lives and their small businesses.
Go Fund Me Link:
I have grown up around this trail and run its many sections all throughout my life. I find this time in the world is no better than ever to run this attempt to inspire other runners to use their running and race fitness as a mode for giving back to our communities that might be affected by the pandemic. I also hope to showcase the importance of social distancing and how much of an importance it is when we do exercise and spend time outdoors. I hope that in doing this project, you will get to find a new appreciation for the natural beauty of New Jersey as a trail state and will be motivated to help in your own ways.
You can follow me live here:
Our races may be canceled or postponed, but lets take this as an opportunity to use our legs and hearts to do some good for our local communities, the country, and the world.
****THINGS CHANGE IN AN INSTANT:
This was my post in regards to running the Towpath FKT. On April 7th, the NJ Governor closed all state, county parks, wildlife and recreation areas indefinitely. It was a tough pill to swallow as I was hoping I could run this attempt and raise essential funds for our frontline medical staff in need just as the spike in cases were to reach their peak.
With the D&R canal FKT being on a state park recreation trail, the April 11th run had to be postponed. This attempt will have to wait until conditions improve and the trails and parks can be opened up again!
So what did I do instead?
I felt that I still wanted to do something that was within my available limits. I instead came up with the idea of running a 50 miler around a loop close to home around a corporate plaza that has a paved path that goes around the perimeter of the complex. It would offer a safe and reliable surface. I found that the loop I had made was about 4 miles in length. Read my next post Titled: 50 miles- The Homemade Way to read all about the run to fight Covid-19 in NJ.