Kiawah Island (SC) Marathon Report

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Thirteen marathons run in 2010, one-a-month, with two in May!  To recap, this year I've raced in Florida (Goofy Challenge -- half, then full marathon), Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, China, Minnesota, Australia, Alaska, Nebraska, Connecticut, North Carolina and South Carolina.  I've racked up over 95,000 flight-miles and together, we've raised over $26,500.00 for Alexandria's kids and families!

2011 takes me to Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, London (5th and final major - a category closer!), West Virginia, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, New Hampshire, Indiana, and either Alabama or Hawaii...

I'd like to say 'thank you' and send hugs to all of my supporters. Your support of me is giving support to Alexandrians in need.  It's giving a family a safe place to call home.  It's providing preschool classrooms for a jump start in life.  It's providing books to homeless children and after-school tutors for homework and extra help.  Your donations are putting food on tables and giving stability to where none was.

I'd like to bring special attention to my Sponsors:  Bonitt BuildersPacers Events, a division of Pacers Running Stores, McLaughlin/Ryder InvestmentsTJ Fannon & SonsMacNair Travel ManagementMark G. Anderson ConsultantsSean McEnearney and McEnearney Associates and McGinn Investment Management, INC.  These are local businesses who have laced up their shoes to donate $1K a year over the next 5 years to The RunningBrooke Fund.  And neighbors, as your checks keep pouring in, I am inspired by your giving, and my heart warms with the encouraging notes.
*There is still time to make a difference in 2010!  Please consider making an online donation through ACT for Alexandria's website.  Remember to designate RunningBrooke in the Comment Box.  Always 100% tax deductible and always, 100% goes to those in need.

Goldie Hawn and me

*A final note before the Kawah Island marathon report...
Earlier in the month, we had a terrific time hosting an event at the house for Goldie Hawn.  Visit The Hawn Foundation to learn more about her work with children!

So, without further ado:
about the only trees without Spanish Moss...

Kiawah Island, in South Carolina's low country was calm and beautiful.  Spanish moss hung low from most every limb, and even though it was cold and windy (and rainy), you could imagine a hot and sultry afternoon, dappled sunlight filtering through the dense canopy.

* Factoid.  England 'purchased' Kiawah Island from the Kiawah Indians on March 10, 1675.  Purchase price: cloth, hatchets, beads plus other manufactured goods...

Dane and me at marathon expo

I've known of Dane, and followed his blog for years, and it was good to finally meet him.  Dane lost a bet.  The result?  Him running 52 marathons in 52 weekends.  Love it!  To learn more, check out his website: See Dane Run.

heading over to the race

Favorite husband was with me -- he celebrated a big-number birthday, but you'd never know it...

Can't say that he was thrilled about the half-marathon distance -- he'd probably have preferred a 10K -- but he finished well.  I had a lot of fun being and running the first 8 miles with him!  Half-marathon today, marathon tomorrow, because if you can run a half -- with little training -- you can run a full -- with some training -- for sure!

This was a terrific weekend.  The marathon was a beautiful loop, run twice.  There was no Bad and certainly, no Ugly.  So I've had to deviate from my normal Good/Bad/Ugly format...  Sorry fans.  As you'll see from my pictures below, I was fascinated by the interaction of light and color, by the reflections in a winter-beach landscape, by the birds foraging for food and by all things washed up on the shore.

I wish you all Happy Holidays and Peace in the New Year.



sunset approaching

lone figure

Water and sky


and sky...

and more sky...




and another...

Washed-up things

one of hundeds

horseshoe crabs

animated sea twig

beautiful symmetry

in my Lululemon

That's it.  The End.

City of Oaks Marathon, The Raleigh Report.

Dear Friends, Family, Neighbors and New Readers-

Finally a marathon that I could drive!  Favorite Daughter #3 and I pulled out of Alexandria just before the Friday rush-hour(s) traffic and headed for Raleigh.  Soccer tournament (CASL) for her, marathon for me  -- state # 17, marathon # 26 and marathon # 11 in 2010 -- and Favorite Father's 75th birthday...

(*Small segue for New Readers:  I run marathons around the world to change the lives of others.  I run to raise awareness and to raise money for local, at-risk children and families.  How: by starting The RunningBrooke Fund with ACT for Alexandria and committing to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- a marathon a month.  I pay for everything.  All donations go to 5 worthy Alexandria charities (Community Lodgings, The Reading Connection, ACT for Alexandria, Child and Family Network Centers and Girls on the Run).  A donation is 100% tax deductible and ACT for Alexandria generates tax receipts.  Visit

Noble Oaks on the capital grounds

Commercial over, back to regular programming...

Founded in 1792, Raleigh is North Carolina's capital city.  Named after Sir Walter Raleigh -- who attempted to establish the first English colony in the New World in the 1580's -- it was soon known by its citizens as the City of Oaks.  And they dedicated themselves to the oaks preservation...

* Thanks Raleigh Observer for the great RunningBrooke press.  They consider me part of the hard-core contingent who love to run marathons -- i.e.  me and The 50 States club.  Click HERE for more.

* And to FYI Alexandria (city's e-letter) for the feature...

So, without further ado...

The Good

  • The Marathon.  The course started and finished at N.C. State University and featured a surprisingly scenic and diverse way through downtown Raleigh, the city center and the beautiful Umstead Park.  Felt great and finished in a respectable time -- fastest this year.  Plus, I was able to stay WARM until race start.  Sweet!
Feeling strong

I met and jogged with 1/2 Marathon Winner Maria Busienei, origionally from Kenya.  She led the women with an average of a 6:08/mile and a 1:20:21 finish.

  • The Soccer and The Birthday...

Favorite Father on his 75th birthday
Favorite Mother keeping warm and dry...

  • The Downtown Walk-A-Bout...
    The Capital
    Completed in 1840, the capital building is a great example of Greek Revival architecture.  Total cost: $532,682.34, three times more than the state's general income at the time...

    At the capital with downtown at my back...

    Episcopalian Spire.

    • The Perfect Equipment...

      Kudos to Gracie, who had a booth at the marathon expo, at gracies gear for the design and development of (possibly?) the most perfect, chafe-free, non-belt carry-option out there.  For demo, it holds phone and chap-stick but race day, it held 5 GU's, car key and inhaler...

      Am a little envious -- written with a smile -- as many runs ago, I was in the planning phases of co-marketing the similar idea of running-pal Kathy.  Ours was going to be called the Gu Garter.  Shrug.  Missed opportunity...

      The Bad (no Ugly, sorry)

      • The car.  Great option pre-race, but an albatross, post.  Loads of time wasted trying to circumvent on-going marathon and stress of the GPS Genie calling out invalid directions.  Thanks to the nice Raleigh policemen who after listening to my plight, allowed me to cross the marathon path...

      and The Featured...

      Having fun...

      Girls on the Run (GOTR) -- a 2010 RunningBrooke beneficiary -- is a truly innovative organization with a mission!

      Through fun activities and running, leaders educate and prepare girls (grades 3-5) for a lifetime of healthy living, as they train for a 5k fun run...  Self-esteem enhancing lessons encourage positive emotional and physical development and are an integral part of the framework to the curriculum.  I wish I could have done this when I was a kid!

      Currently in City of Alexandria, GOTR has 125 girls (3 public schools and 2 private schools) running towards a healthier future!  Thanks GOTR for having me to your practice.  It was incredible to see so much teamwork and group success.  See you at the Reindeer Romp (5k), if not before...

      Me and the GOTR Team

      Best quotes, "I did it without stopping" and "I don't need ruby slippers when I have running shoes!"

      * There are 3, 365 GOTR girls running towards a healthier future in Northern Virginia.

      Upcoming Events

      • This Saturday Nov. 20 - Lululemon Charitable Giving Day.

                                      Sweat once a day and join us in giving back!

                                      3-mile Fun Run (led by me), Yoga and light brunch
                                        Saturday, November 20th. Event begins at 9AM.

                                                            2847 Clarendon Blvd.  Arlington 707-807-0539

      This year, we are celebrating the following two local organizations in their efforts to elevate our community: The RunningBrooke Fund and YoKid...Stretch Your Limits. We will be donating a portion of sales from the past year to support both organizations. *Join us in giving back by donating gently used yoga mats, athletic wear (any brand) and athletic shoes to benefit both organizations. Drop them by anytime that day.*

      • Save The Date!  Wednesday Dec. 1 (6:30 - 8 PM) and Thursday Dec. 2nd (10 AM - 7 PM)

         Kiskadee is doing it again!  

        20% of sales during Wednesday's special RunningBrooke hours (separate invitation to follow) and ALL day Thursday -- mention my name at checkout -- will go to The RunningBrooke fund benefitting the at-risk kids and families in Alexandria.

        Shop and make a difference!  women's apparel and accessories...  gifts for all occasions... men's and boys' shirts, belts and ties...  home, garden and gourmet...  kids and babies...

        Think of ALL of the Holiday shopping you could do, and for such a good cause too!

        • Watch out for the December issue of Washingtonian Magazine -- at newsstands later this month...  I'm in it!
        • An exciting and new RunningBrooke Website to be unveiled within a few days...
        • Become a fan of The RunningBrooke Face Book Page!
        • Fundraising letter with "I'm a RunningBrooke Supporter" pencil coming to mailboxes later this month.  Please consider The RunningBrooke Fund for your annual giving.  Remember, 100% of your donation goes to Alexandrians in need -- fighting for literacy and health, and fighting against hunger and homelessness -- PLUS, your donation is 100% tax deductible.  Click HERE to contribute now!  Remember to but "The RunningBrooke Fund" in the comment box.  $26,500.00 raised so far this year.

        Whew.  Congratulations on making it to the end!  December's marathon is in Kiawah Island, SC and completes my 2010 goal of running -- at least -- a marathon a month on behalf of Alexandria's at-risk.  13 marathons ran, 2 continents covered -- Australia and Asia -- and 11 states; 95,000 miles flown.  2011's running schedule is coming out soon and includes London -- which concludes my 5 marathon majors category.

        Cheers and it is a beautiful day to run.


        Do Good by Shopping Well!

        Holiday Shopping Extravaganza
        Do Good (for at-risk Alexandrians) by Shopping Well (at the Holiday Extravaganza). 
        You can make a difference! 
        • Susan Hyre’s PAPERWORKS fine stationery, note cards, snappy holiday invites and photo cards, monogrammed everything. Clever hostess gifts, stickers, notepads galore.
        • Karen White’s Stella & Dot jewelry - fabulous jewelry for all ages and occasions. Featured in all the top fashion magazines.
        • Willow House (formerly Southern Living at Home) - beautiful home decor & gift items
        • Cindy McMahon & Scout bags get all your stuff organized in the finest fashion.  New holiday and fall fashion patterns.  

        Thursday, October 28 (one day only so shop fast) 
        9:00 - 11:30 am and 6 – 9 pm

        2413 King Street
        Alexandria, VA 

        Your friends are our friends!  Bring them.

        Check out these great websites:

        Funds raised will benefit the “Running Brooke” Fund. A one-woman running machine, Brooke runs a marathon-a-month (covering 7 continents, 50 states and 5 marathon majors), for at-risk children and families in the City of Alexandria. In 2010, the Running Brooke Fund gave 36 kids the gift of education by sending them to preschool! 

        The Hartford, CT Marathon!

        Headed to Hartford

        Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

        Had a great, but short -- less than 24 hrs -- stay in Hartford, CT.  Known as the Insurance Capital of the World because so many of the world's insurance companies are headquartered thereHartford is one of the oldest cities in the US -- almost 400 years old -- and the state's capital.  The city is home to the nation's oldest public art museum -- Wadsworth Atheneum --, the oldest public park -- Bushnell Park -- and the oldest continuously-published newspaper -- The Harford Courant.  It was the home of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  And as Mark Twain put it, "of all of the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief..."

        The weather was beautiful, the race was well run and I hit a milestone -- my 25th marathon!  Here are the stats: 15 states done, 5 continents done -- Antarctica scheduled for March of 2012, Africa, ? -- , 4 marathon majors done -- 5th and final in London, scheduled for April, 2011.  I've raised over $26,500.00, giving children and families hope for a better future.

        So without further ado...

        The Good

        • Unexpected Reunion #1, childhood neighbor.  Our families lived next door to one another and took many family beach vacations together for over 20 years.  I remembered that Bill lived somewhere in the area -- and then, there he was volunteering at the race expo!   Like a big brother to me, Bill coined my nickname "Boingy," as I had an obnoxious -- to others -- habit of while sitting, bouncing my back off the seat back... repeatedly.  Car seats were my favorite.
        with "Big Brother" Bill at race expo...

        • Unexpected Reunion #2, runner friend Mike W.  Race morning at the Elite Runners Village, I saw super-runner and super-dad, Mike Wardian.   Mike came up with my marathon-a-month plan after I asked him "What would impress you, Mike?"  And... he won the marathon that morning.  Great job, Mike!
        Mike and me this summer.
        He broke the world indoor marathon record that night...

        • Homes of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain.  Neighbors -- houses just yards apart in a section of Hartford called Nook Farm -- and contemporaries, these two prolific authors shared many interests.  

        Harriet Beecher Stowe transformed her world, and arguably ours, with Uncle Tom's Cabin, the ground-breaking anti-slavery novel.  "I wrote what I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw..."  Harriet Beecher Stowe

        Home and garden of Stowe, where she spent the last 20 years of her life, a modest Victorian cottage...

        Home of Mark Twain and family

        Mark Twain, American icon, writer, lecturer, social critic and entrepreneur, built this 19 room mansion with every luxury and modern efficiency known at the time.  A man who thumbed his nose at social convention, he called his year-around white suit his "don't care a damn" suit.

        *Factoid #1: Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Clemens.  Samuel chose this pseudonym because it conveyed his love for the water and riverboats.  A riverboat leadsman called "mark twain" to signal the water level was two fathoms deep -- 12 feet -- and safe for boat passage.

        *Factoid #2: Ernest Hemmingway said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn."

        • The State Capital Building (1872).  Standing on the edge of Bushnell Park, this High Victorian Gothic building houses the executive offices and legislative chambers.
        State Capital with gold leaf dome
        interior capital sculpture

          Soldiers and Sailors
          Memorial Arch
        • The Marathon.  We ran on a beautiful, crisp morning through downtown Hartford, along the Connecticut River, over into East Hartford, on rural roads and past red-clapboard barns.  Great race swag including a handsome medal -- the arch you see to the right, an artsy tech shirt and a reusable water bottle.

        Race Start (the day before)

        The Bad

        • Missed Press Opportunity.  I had a TV interview lined up for raceday morning -- to talk about The RunningBrooke Fund and its support of children and families in Alexandria -- that didn't happen because of a missed call.  Ugh!
        • Missed Speaker and Book Signing.  I wanted to hear author Christopher McDougall speak at the Eat Pasta, Run Fasta carbo-load dinner.  He wrote A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  He suggests -- because this technique resolved his pain issues -- we drop our high-tech running shoes and run like the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico's Copper Canyons.
        • Hamstring Leg Cramps.  Both legs from mile 15 on...

        Planes, trains and automobiles...
        Took the train from Hartford to NYC to meet up with
        favorite husband and favorite daughter #3 -- in NJ for a soccer tournament --,
        then drove home from there...

        The Featured

        ACT For Alexandria, a RunningBrooke Beneficiary

        ACT for Alexandria is an invaluable resource for me and Alexandria!  They are a community foundation that seeks to raise the level and effectiveness of community engagement and giving for the benefit of all Alexandria.

        For the RunningBrooke Fund, ACT acts as my umbrella organization that provides The RunningBrooke Fund the ability to accept charitable donations.   They collect, hold, and distribute donations -- based on my recommendations -- and let me do what I do best, running to make a difference in the lives of children and families!

        Last week ACT sponsored a FREE half-day forum that gathered non-profits from around the city to share tools -- innovations in philanthropy and strategies for building our organizations -- to enable us to be better at our jobs of serving those in need in our community.  Thanks ACT, I learned a lot!

        The Upcoming Events

        • Shopping Extravaganza to benefit The RunningBrooke Fund.
        Obama Says the Recession is Over... 
        Time to Jump Start Your Holiday Shopping!
        Thursday, October 28th
        9:00 - 11:30 AM and 6 - 9 PM, at the house

        Your friends are our friends, bring them!

        Paperworks snappy stationary, hostess gifts and monogrammed galore...  Stella & Dot Jewelry, as seen in the latest fashion magazines, super-cute Scout tote bags for all of your toting needs and Willow House (formally Southern Living at Home), beautiful home decor and house gifts...

        Your Dollars will make a Difference!

        • Lululemon Charitable Giving Day.  November 2nd (exact details to follow...)  You choose  -- between two charities, one being mine --, Lululemon donates!  

        2847 Clarendon Blvd.
        Arlington, VA 22201

        Your votes count!  More votes for The RunningBrooke Fund, mean more money Lululemon contributes to the cause!  Come in, vote (for me) and check out the latest fashion in high-quality running and yoga  gear.  Plus, find my photo on the store wall...


        marathon medal in Bushnell Park

        That's it.  You're done!

        Feeling great and looking forward to The City of Oaks marathon on November 7th, in Raleigh, NC.  I hope to see a lot of you before then.

        Remember:  You don't have to run but you can be a part it!  Come to RunningBrooke events, or write a check/make an online donation!  And relax, it's ALL tax deductible and I pay my own way for everything...   Here's the link to change the life of a child.  Please remember to put RunningBrooke in the comment box.

        Snail Mail Users:  Please make check out to ACT for Alexandria with RunningBrooke in the memo line.  Mail to:

        ACT for Alexandria
        1421 Prince Street, Suite 400
        Alexandria, VA  22314

        *You will receive paperwork from ACT for Alexandria for you tax purposes.

        Oh! What a city. The Omaha Marathon Report!

        on my way to Omaha...
        Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors-

        Just back from Omaha (15th state, 10th marathon in 2010 and 24th marathon overall).  Feeling great and looking forward to running in Hartford, CT in two weeks!

        Omaha (founded in 1854) is in the heart of the midwest.  Lewis and Clark trekked though there (1804) on their westward quest to the Pacific ocean.  Originally populated by three Indian tribes (Pawnee, Otoe and Sioux), Omaha soon saw Mormons (great Mormon migration) and pioneers, and, later, laborers and meatpackers.  The construction of the transcontinental railroad started (1863) and the mighty Union Pacific Railroad was born.

        Omaha is the birthplace of Malcolm X and the home to five Fortune 500 companies (Berkshire Hathaway, Con Agra Foods, Union Pacific Railroad, Peter Kiewit Sons and Mutual of Omaha); it was an interesting place to visit.

        And so, without further ado...

        The Good

        • Walkability.  A Distinct Downtown District with Sculptures and Parks.

        Pedestrian Mall though downtown
        one of a series of commemorative wagon train sculptures...
        stampeding bronze bison

        • The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge: a cabled bridge spanning the mighty Missouri River that connects Nebraska with Iowa.  Cool!

        Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

        looking back into Nebraska...

        State Line

        • Small-town feel.  While there, the River City Rodeo was at the Quest Center, the Cornhuskers were playing Oklahoma State and the Heritage Day Parade marched though the downtown.

        some Husker Fans...

        Heritage Day horsemen and... 
        covered wagons...

        and some really adorable kids.

        • Corn-fed Omaha Steak.  I hate to admit, as I am a grass-fed proponent, that this was the BEST steak I have EVER eaten.  Period.

        • Meeting up with Fran and Jerry.  Fran is the mom of a running friend of mine; Fran just completed a marathon in all 50 states.  Congratulations Fran!  And... Jerry and I know each other from the Easter Island, Chile and The Outback, Australia marathons.  He's also running in Hartford, CT in 8 days.  See you there, Jerry!

        *Fran and I have been following each others' progress and met for the first time in Omaha at the 50 States Club quarterly reunion.
        Race Start

        The Bad
        *glad to be able to deliver to those waiting for some bad as
        I've been getting some questions about the soundness of my reporting :)

        • The Marathon.  I either picked up the cold floating around home, or caught one on the plane, but every step was a uninspiring struggle (along concrete roads and through industrial areas, twice), complete with cold sweat, towards the finish line.  I did get tons of compliments on the run-wear, however.  Glad I had something going for me! Lululemon, of course...

        holding up my medal at Lewis and Clark Landing
        *individually-crafted glass metal - cool...

        The Important (as there was no Ugly, thankfully!)

        • Sometimes I think it  'all gets lost' as to why I'm doing what I'm doing (running a marathon in all the states, in all the continents, all 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month, and paying my own way -- to raise money for those in Alexandria who need it far more than most of us do) as it becomes something that's considered "oh, that's just what Brooke does..."  It's cool to follow.  It's interesting to read her write-ups (I hope) but (and sorry for the bluntness) maybe you're thinking"why should I care?" or "what difference can I make?"
        • Let me tell you...  The at-risk get lost, overlooked and forgotten.  People or areas that we drive by, think little about, and go on with our day.  These are real people.  People who need assistance (read the Washington Post this week?).  Let me tell you that no donation, or purchase at one of my shop-parties, is too big or too small.  Every bit adds up.  Through my sacrifices, I hope to inspire you to give.  And remember, it's 100% tax-deductible.  ACT for Alexandria -- my 501 (c)(3) umbrella organization -- will send a receipt for your tax purposes.
        • So far this year, I have left my family, or most of my family, once a month (sometimes for 10 days or more).  I have flown over 95,000 miles (thanks United), have bought over 8 pairs of shoes (thanks Mizuno and Pacers), run 10 marathons and eaten marginal, airport-like food on more occasions than I care to remember.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm having a great time.  I feel complete and honored to run and to give back.  But the sacrifices are real.
        • How can you help?  Click here to donate (*remember to put The RunningBrooke Fund in the Comment Box),  attend RunningBrooke events, or become a RunningBrooke Sponsor (Alexandria businesses who have committed to giving 1,000K a year for the next 5 years to the RunningBrooke Fund).  Thanks, it will make a huge difference to the life of a child and family.  
        • Let me do all the running and hard work!

        Read this success story from one of my 2010 beneficiaries, Community Lodgings.  It shows what we can do together!

        In November 2008, B.T. and his fiancĂ©e L.T. were living in a basement in the city of Alexandria. They had a premature 2 month old infant who required intensive monitoring and were being evicted from their basement housing. They were homeless when they were admitted into Community Lodgings’ transitional housing program. B.T. was working as a custodian in DC Public schools. B.T. and L.T. worked and complied with all aspects of the program. B.T. had a son from a previous relationship for which he sought and received full custody because he had been stabilized through our program. Eventually, L.T. became uncommitted to the program and B.T. was supportive in her decision to take their infant return to her family. In March 2009, B.T. was caught in the DC Public Schools reorganization and lost his job; CLI assisted him in obtaining another custodial job at a local private school. Although he did well there, B.T. had a dream to become a security guard or police officer. In April 2009, Community Lodgings paid for him to enroll in the Alliance Criminal Justice Academy where B.T. took courses to become a licensed armed guard. Upon graduation from the Academy, he moved into a full time security job where he has progressed steadily; increasing his earnings from $1700 to $2300 /month in less than a year. In November 2010 he will graduate from the two year transitional housing program and he and his son will be moving into their own apartment, totally independent and self-sustaining.

        these are not actors and this scene is not staged...

          Phew, you made it to the end! Did you see the recent Alexandria Gazette article? It's the write-up about the Inaugural Woodrow Wilson half-marathon. Great race and great pictures (I'm in a few)... Off to Hartford, CT for the October 9th marathon. Cheers, it is a beautiful day for a run!