Run the National 1/2 with the RunningBrooke Team!



Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

As many of you know, I'm a lululemon athletica Clarendon run ambassador who helped the gang start up the great Team Lemon Run Club.  But my main role, and mission in the community, is to raise awareness and money for the struggling children and families in our community of Arlington and Alexandria.

After years for running only for myself, to reach a time goal, then another and another, my running, ironically, meant less and less to me.

One day early in 2009, as I was driving through a poor section of town for the umpteenth time,  I had an epiphany of sorts.  Shocked by my own past apathy for my struggling neighbors, I decided that I had to do something.  And so I did.  I committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- a marathon a month.  By engaging in such an audacious plan, I felt like I could ask my friends, family and neighbors + businesses for donations.  Just so you know, I pay for all of my own travel and related expenses, every dollar I raise goes to those who need it most.

In 2009, I raised over $20,000, sending 36 kids to an accredited preschool (in their own neighborhood of Arlandria).  This meant that 36 kids got a great head start to their education and their families received free ESL classes, job training and social services (hearing/vision screening + a social worker to help navigate their new world).  In 2010, I raised $32,000.  I will grant to the preschool again (Child and Family Network Centers), but will also assist Community Lodgings (homelessness to self-sufficiency), Girls on the Run NoVA (self-esteem, healthy living and a 5K event), The Reading Connection (free books with story time in shelters) and ACT for Alexandria (community giving catalyst).  In 2011?  My goal is $50,000.

I've been a one-man show so far and I'd love to get some help!  I'm using the National 1/2 Marathon as a fundraising platform and paired with lululemon for a fantastic time. Sign up (special discount codes) and help out.  Seldom are we able to make a real and lasting difference to the life of a child.  But today you can!  

Besides knowing you are working to support those in need right here in your own community, there will be loads of great things that will help you along the way (ie: extra support, a training program, and surprises from lululemon). Check out the information attached and stop in store or email me with any questions!

Thanks, friends!  Use these Special Discount Codes:  11rbhalf (half marathon) and 11rbfull (marathon)

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Mississippi Blues and First Light Marathons, a one-weekend recap!


First Class upgrade, sweeeeet.
Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Successfully made it through my first double-marathon weekend!  Two marathons, two states, two days.  I'm grateful that it all worked out.  It seemed like a fairly reasonable idea since I'd already run a 50 miler (JFK50, 11/09), and I thought that if my body could handle that, it could handle two marathons in two days.  Only 2.4 additional miles, right?  It was a mental game of perseverance -- a 'just do it' attitude -- and putting one foot in front of the other.  Not over-thinking, just starting...  The hardest and most stressful part of the weekend though, was navigating back through the Atlanta airport before the big storm hit on Sunday.  Made it home by hustling, riding standby (3 times), and a whole bunch of luck.

Before I start with the recap, some Housekeeping:

  1. December's Washingtonian article, did you see it?
  2. End-of-Year donations are just about in and it looks like... $32,500+.  Thanks to ALL for supporting The RunningBrooke effort and making a real and lasting difference.  More to come as I start making my grants!
  3. National 1/2 Marathon and The RunningBrooke Fund (in association with Lululemon).  An exciting opportunity to challenge yourself and change a life.  Train (I'll help you), raise some money for The RunningBrooke Fund, and run a half-marathon through downtown DC.  What's in it for you -- besides health and satisfaction of helping your neighbor?  Great Lululemon team-gear, a training plan,  race-day Pace Runners, a Lululemon after-party and more!  Register HERE using these special discount codes:  11rbhalf (half-marathon) and 11rbfull (marathon).

So without further ado...

Part 1: Jackson, MS and the 4th annual Mississippi Blues Marathon 1/8/11.  A small marathon -- 665 finishers -- with a big marathon feel.  A very friendly place where onlookers yelled "thanks for running in Jackson!"  My goal was to take it easy and finish strongly, with enough left in the legs to run again on Sunday.  Fairly pleased to finish 146th overall, 8th in my division with a 3:46.  Especially with the relentless hills...  Big thanks to Ken from Celebration, FL for providing the tunes -- ipod/speaker attached to his belt.  He and I ran from mile 6 on, and played 'name the song/artist/band/album...'  Highly entertaining.  See you in New Orleans, Ken!

Jackson, MS elevation chart

New Capital - 1903

Jackson, located on the Pearl River, is the State Capital and the largest city in Mississippi, with the slogan: City with Soul.  And it has that.  In and around Jackson are known for its greats: Elvis Presley (race day was his birthday),  Muddy Waters, Charley Patton, BB King, Bo Diddley, just to name a few.  This unique Mississippi art form has long been recognized as the foundation for much of today's music.  It's tangible, a way of life.

Terry "Harmonica" Bean
Since the mid-60's, Jackson has undergone a series of dramatic changes and growth.  Much of its downtown has been replaced by modern-ish buildings that little resemble a city with history.

Named after President and General Andrew Jackson, in recognition for his victory in the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson in the 1960's became a site for civil rights activism.  A place of sit-ins, merchant boycotts, Freedom Rides and the murder of Medgar Evans.  Evans, a prominent civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith.  Thousands marched in his funeral procession to protest the killing.

MS state flag outside Jackson's Governor's mansion

** Factoid:

In 2001, citizens of Mississippi voted overwhelmingly (65%) to keep their original Rebel Flag as part of their state flag.

Part Two: Mississippi to Mobile, Alabama, and the 10th annual First Light Marathon 1/9/11

In my Lululemon
After some finish-line red beans and rice (with Andouille sausage) -- I know this will surprise some of you -- I drove 200 miles from Jackson, MS to Mobile, AL, in my hot-rod, rental car.

Fun to drive, and pleased that I didn't get lost OR get a ticket (8 hours of recent driving school left an impression).

Mobile (pronounced / mou'bi:l / moe-BEEL)  Finally got the pronunciation right just as I was leaving.  I kept wanting to say Mobil, as in Mobil oil.

Mobile is the third most populous city in Alabama,  and sits at the junction of the Mobile River, Mobile Bay and the northern Gulf of Mexico.  That's a lot of water!  But it is the state's only seaport.  Mobile felt like a less-amplified New Orleans, more Old Town less Georgetown.

** Factoid: Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival celebrations in the United States, dating to the 18th century and its early colonial period.

And I'd go back there in a heartbeat.  For everything Jackson has lost in its old-style architecture and sense of 'walking back through time,' Mobile has retained.  Huge trees, converging limbs, and large concentration of historic architecture.

Sunday's course was much flatter (thankfully) and was run to support the L'Arche Mobile organization, an international group that help those with intellectual disabilities lead fulfilling and independent lives.  Unbelievably, I felt pretty good -- the hardest part, motivating to the start line.  Finished 3rd in my age group with a 3:55, 95th out of 471 finishers.  Thanks to Paula -- Lobsterman from Maine -- for her entertaining stories and descriptions about her life as a lobster-boat captain.  Made for a very quick 20 miles.

L'Arche Mobile resident who gave me my hand-made, by him, finishers medal
**Factoid:  This marathon was not chip-timed.  We ran into chutes and tore off the bottom portion of our bib to record our finish place.

Home along a tree-lined street
Like Jackson, Mobile struggled with social justice and race relations.  By 1840, it was the second only to New Orleans in cotton exports for the nation.  As we all know, Mobile was part of a Confederate state and we know the history.   Starting at the turn of the 20th century, segregation ordinances and Jim Crow laws were passed, legislating what had been the informal segregation practices.  After WW II, according to some accounts, Mobile became more tolerant and racially accommodating -- compared to other cities in the South.  Its police force and Spring Hill College were integrated in the 1950's and bus and lunch counters were voluntarily desegregated by the early 1960's.

The Good

  • Running two marathons (#28 and #29), in two states in two days.  And, it wasn't that hard.
  • Reuniting with running-pal Jerry. Jerry has completed marathons in all of the continents and is on his way to finishing the states.  Way ahead of me!  Jerry and I compare marathon notes, okay, it's usually him giving me loads of practical advice and me following his instruction to the letter.  He and I have now run simultaneous marathons in Easter Island, The Outback, Omaha, Hartford and now Jackson.
  • Hearing awesome Blues at The Mississippi Blues marathon expo and getting a good sense of what Blues is all about.

The Bad/The Ugly

  • The Atlanta Airport.  Just the thought of being stuck there.

That's it.  You made it to the end.  Next month's marathon New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Marathon.  See you there!

Assorted Pictures

Me and Terry "Harmonica" Bean
met back up with Dane at the Mississippi Blues expo.  We last saw each other in Kiawah Island, SC.  Dane ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks after losing a bet...
    Governor's Mansion, Jackson, MS

    Me and Paula (Lobsterman)
    Mobile, AL
    Mobile, AL
                                                               her hoop and hat were so large that this was a close as I could get...

    Weekend Finisher Medals

    Going the Distance - Washingtonian, Dec. 2010 edition

    One Alexandria woman is running hard—all in the name of charity

    Brooke Curran at the May 2010 Great Wall Marathon.
    Brooke Curran at the May 2010 Great Wall Marathon.
    Brooke Curran ran her first marathon in October 2004. Twenty-five marathons later, she’s still running.
    But now she doesn’t do it just for sport. Last year, Curran combined two of her passions: running and giving back to her Alexandria community.
    Running to raise money isn’t an original idea, but the scope of Curran’s ambition might be: She plans to complete a fundraising marathon in every US state and on each continent, including the five major marathons—Boston, Chicago, London, New York, and Berlin.
    “I wanted more out of my running,” she says. “What can I do to make it more worthwhile and to have an impact on the community?”

    Curran, 42, runs a marathon a month and pays for all travel expenses and fees. She’s up to 17 states, four of the five majors, and five continents, with Antarctica and Africa still on the to-do list. Her highlights include running along the Great Wall of China and coming face to face with a moose in Anchorage. She’s scheduled for South Carolina’s Kiawah Island on December 11 and is registered for Antarctica in 2012.
    Curran, who grew up in Richmond and got a degree in studio art from James Madison University, is a stay-at-home mother of three teenage daughters; her husband, Chris, is an attorney in DC. Her current goal is to raise $50,000—she’s more than halfway there—to benefit a handful of charities. Helping children is her focus. In February, Curran gave $20,000 to the Alexandria-based Child & Family Network Centers, which provides free preschool education to some 200 at-risk children in Northern Virginia.
    “I believe that making a great adult starts with making a great kid,” she says.
    Curran raises money from area businesses, through donations, and by holding events at her Alexandria home. She publicizes her efforts and accepts donations primarily through her Web site, ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation, handles all the donations.
    “I didn’t realize what impact I could have on others until I took this on,” says Curran, who so far has seen her fundraising used to help keep open two Child & Family Network Centers classrooms that serve 36 students. “I feel like I’m doing something really great.”
    This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of the Washingtonian.