I’m heading to North Carolina today for another racing adventure. My good friend, Gina, is attempting an amazing feat—she is taking on the Tuna Run 200 solo. That’s right, 200 miles by herself!
The Tuna Run 200 is a relay race (similar to Hood to Coast in Oregon) that starts in Raleigh and ends on the boardwalk in Atlantic Beach. Most people who do this race have a team of 12 to get them to the finish line—Gina will have only her sheer determination (or some might say, stubbornness), sturdy running legs, and the support of her crew, consisting of her friend Erin and yours truly (known fondly as “Erin Squared”).
Although the race officially starts on October 10th, Gina starts her challenge two days earlier on Wednesday, so she can run the final miles and end the race with the other runners.
Erin and I will certainly have our work cut out for us. First and foremost, our task will be to make sure that Gina is safe, stays on course, eats and stays hydrated, and perhaps even smiles and sleeps occasionally. In August, I shared my take on the role of a pacer during ultras—check it out for more details on how Erin and I will assist Gina during her 200-mile journey.
Although it will be a long few days, I’m looking forward to being a part of Gina’s challenge and getting her to the finish line. If you’ve been following my blog over the last few months, you know that a destination race provides the opportunity to support a nonprofit organization as part of my Small Change initiative.
It’s always tough deciding which organization to donate to—there’s so many inspiring organizations leading important work, striving hard to make a difference. For help identifying organizations in North Carolina, I reached out to my social media network and got several wonderful suggestions: North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, N.C. Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve , and the BHI (Bald Head Island) Conservancy.
While I applaud these organizations for the goodness they are doing in their communities (and certainly appreciate the suggestions from my social network), I ultimately landed on the Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Piedmont Wildlife Center is a wonderful organization whose mission is to foster healthy connections among people, wildlife and nature. Their work includes education (children and adults), conservation, and promoting the care of injured and sick native wildlife. It’s easy to get disconnected from the natural world—this important organization helps us stay connected and become better stewards of the environment.
SMALL CHANGE — BIG IMPACT
Since starting my blog in July, I’ve donated to the following organizations as part of the Small Change initiative:
- Push to the Finish – $25 (Speedgoat 50k, Snow Bird Resort, UT)
- Youth Roots – $20 (Pikes Peak Marathon, Manitou Springs, CO)
- Panda Paws Rescue – $20 (Cascade Crest 100, Reston, WA – Crew/Pacer)
- Ashland Woodlands & Trails Association – $20 (Pine to Palm 100, Ashland, OR – Crew/Pacer)
- Piedmont Wildlife Center – $20 (Tuna Run 200, Raleigh, NC – Crew/Pacer)
In total, I’ve given back $105 to the communities in which I raced or travelled to support a friend who raced. I realize that $105 is not a significant amount of money—however, small change can add up to BIG impact. You can find out more about these organizations and why I donated to them here.
If everyone who participated in these races supported an organization of his or her choice, think of the impact we’d have for these communities. Given that math is not my strong point, for simplicity, let’s say that on average each of these races had 400 participants who donated $20 each—that’s $40,000! Up the donation to $30 and an astonishing $60,000 would have been generated for these races’ communities—I hope it’s clear what we can accomplish when we join forces!
I encourage you to consider donating to an organization of your choice the next time you set off for a race or an adventure. Learn more about creating social change and the Small Change initiative.