Saturday, November 26, 2011

185 for Heroes

Clay and Ashley(right) hand off to Don and Chris(left) for the 2011 185 for Heroes.

Imagine running a marathon-a-day for 7 days straight! That’s exactly what Clay and Ashley Anderson decided to do in support of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The brother and sister team are both in the United States Navy. They wanted to create and run an endurance event to complete together that would make a difference in some way. They decided to run 185 miles along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail (C&O), from Maryland to Washington DC, along with the aid of a bike crew and the support of the Georgetown University Running Club.  They finished the inaugural 185 For Heroes on September 11th, 2010, raising $7000 for the WWP and the severely injured military members that are served by this organization.

In 2011 Don Snook and his brother Chris committed to the event, Chris was prior military as an Army Ranger and their family has a long military heritage. Don was not sure about the challenge as he had just ran his first marathon the previous year and sustained an injury along the way. But he was 100% committed to the cause! He was extremely focused leading up to the race not only in training, but in trying to raise as much money as possible.

Life is not about what you plan, it is about what you actually complete and how you react when it doesn’t go according to “the plan.” When Don and Chris, headed out on September 4th, little did they know that like in life the best laid plans often have to be revisited. Chris has had several issues with his knees so after the first couple days he was using a stick and they had to walk. Don said it was quite an adventure with all the rain; he even got poison ivy while searching for a stick for his brother! The week of September 4th ended up being a week of heavy rainfall and flooding along the trail. At the point when the brothers had 3 days and 76.6 miles left, the canal trail was flooded and parts of the trail were closed.
Don understandably was disappointed in the situation, but he said at no point did they consider not finishing. The brothers agreed they were not going home, they were going to find a way to log the miles and get it done! They found a gym in a city along the route. For the next two days they completed 30.3 miles a day on treadmills, they had to mostly walk because of Chris’ knee. The final 16 miles were rerouted to the Washington’s Old Dominion Trail where the two met up with the Georgetown Running Club for the last three miles and fittingly passed the Marine Corp Memorial on the home stretch to the finish-line celebrations!

In 2010 Clay and Ashley, decided to dedicate each day of the event to a specific wounded soldier. Don said that thinking about some of the men individually really motivated him and made it very meaningful. Don and Chris and the team helped raise over $14,000 this year, that went in full to the WWP.
This all started with a brother and sister with a passion and an idea and has become an annual event to help many. It really makes you think……

Picture of Don and Chris Meeting Robert Bartlett, USA SGT Retired

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