Run the 1 Summary for 2016

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THE FACTS...

  • $19,000 raised and counting
  • Over 100 runners worldwide
  • Over 3,250 miles covered
  • An infinite amount of Thank You's still owed from me

AND NOW THE STORY...

Season's greeting to everyone. Please forgive me for not writing this sooner. Run the 1 finished up on December 3rd and I was abroad up until now. The time away helped me process everything even better though. We have so much to be grateful for. As usual, for those who are not fond of reading too much, please let me tell you that Run the 1 in 2016 raised more money than we ever have and brought more people together than ever. There is so much more behind that statement. Please read on to learn just how much came together this year and our plans for 2017. I've never felt more gratitude.

Laura has been nothing but kindness to us over the years

Laura has been nothing but kindness to us over the years

PALO ALTO PRE PARTY AT THE PALMERS

One of our biggest supporters are Laura and her three boys Noah, Nathan, and McKinley. Laura has brought together an incredible group of people each year. Many of them are returnees and I look forward to seeing them every year. In the past, I would do a presentation so the folks would know more of the history of Run the 1. This year, because many of them already know our story, we decided to make it music themed. Many of the children of the guests got together and practiced some songs together. We got to hear a very special performance of Let It Be by The Beatles and more. I followed after. I gave a quick summary of our past, present, and future. In between I would play a song or two that had some relevance to Rwanda. The intimacy was very appropriate and we ended up having a wonderful time and everyone was extremely generous for the kids.

DAY 1 - December 2nd - Santa Cruz to Big Sur

This year, as I wrote leading up to the event, was not an easy one for anyone and everyone knows well now that the first 50 miles to Carmel is not that stunning compared to the rest of the event. So I told everyone to wait until Carmel. I decided to run it myself and not put the burden on another. Luckily, I had more than a few people jump in with me for a bit and support me too. I started around four in the morning and had Michelle and Claire with me the whole day. I kept telling myself that when I got to Carmel, I would be greeted by Tudie and Dave with their signature Grilled Cheeses and Ibuprofen. As the day progressed, more friends came to help. We had some very old faces and brand new ones and it was really cool to see. I eventually crawled into Carmel and a gang of guys continued on to Big Sur chasing the sun towards the end. It was another beautiful sunset and the guys running had the most fun you could. We had two bikers too. Wiley and Taylor rode the whole chunk and killed it. I will do my best to get the miles right

RUNNERS

  • Shaun Sullivan - 50
  • Ben Holmes - 31
  • Chris Stephens - 26
  • Gam - 26
  • Mike Welker - 26
  • Nate Allen - 26
  • Sky Reeves - 9
  • Naomi Townsley - 5
  • Michelle De Young - 6
  • Dan Staab - 6
  • Tyler Kuhn - 6
  • Wiley Zink - 80 (Biker)
  • Taylor - 80 (Biker)
Crawling on...

Crawling on...

NIGHT 1 - December 2nd - Fernwood

Fernwood did not disappoint again. More people had showed up by that point and it was warm and cozy at the tavern. We all knew that no one was going to be attempting to run 80 miles the next day so everyone could sleep in a little later than usual so I even got to enjoy myself a little more than in the past. One thing to note is that Fernwood is a mile short of the Big Sur Fire Station. Over the years, runners have begun to stop at Fernwood so they can get warm in side faster. Last year I ran the extra mile to the station so we could say we ran it all. This year I was fresh off a 50 miler so I opted out of that. As the night progressed though, I still felt guilty. In stead of hitching a ride home, I took a nice sobering walk back to the station from Fernwood. So let it be known, all miles were accounted for!

Run the 1 Co founder, Ali and Mark kicking things off early in the morning.

Run the 1 Co founder, Ali and Mark kicking things off early in the morning.

DAY 2 - December 3rd - Big Sur to Cayucos

It was a weird morning for me. In the past, Claire or Holmes had always started by midnight or one in the morning. I would always support them by driving ahead a few miles, park, and sleep until they found me. However, this year, they gave their legs a break and thus, gave me a break as well. However it felt very strange. I woke up at five in the morning and felt restless and was trying to see if anyone had left or what was going on. I stressed myself out until I realized to take a breath and chill out. The day was going to work out just fine, we were just going to have to piece it altogether if we wanted to follow through on our word. It all worked out too. Highlights included our very first tandem bike riders which was adorable and sweet. We had a handful of new faces from Boise, Alaska, and other fire crews in the nation. I remember hearing that Hildie was out ahead running towards the end of the day. I went to find him and found more than 10 other runners I had no idea had shown up. I love the initiative. We all got to Cayucos just in time to awkwardly bunch ourselves together for a group photo before the sun set. It was glorious. The energy for the after party was high.

RUNNERS

  • Claire Mellien - 26
  • Jen Nix - 13
  • Seth Larson - 20
  • Dustin Grise -18
  • Ishmael Canas - 18
  • Kyle Nakazawa -35
  • Demi Castanon -9
  • Jon St. Vincent - 8
  • Jason Hall - 13
  • Jerry Green - 13
  • Evan Adsit - 15
  • Nate Allen - 3
  • Shaun Sullivan - 3
  • Sky Reeves and Anastasia- 13 and 13 on a tandem bike!
  • Joshua Blacksmith and Sage Blacksmith - 26 and 26 (Sage is not even a year old)
  • Jess Gilkey - 8
  • Brett Hildibrandt - 13
  • Laura Strand - 13
  • Luke Strand - 13
  • Nicholas Tranquata - 13
  • Tyler Kuhn - 30
  • Dan Staab - 20
  • Ryan Swartz -13
  • Jamie Sullivan - 3
  • Jo Booth - 3
  • Courtney Carter - 3
  • Ali Zikratch - 13
  • Mark Fischer - 13
  • Dylan Todd - 9 and 9 and 9 with his daughter Teya in the stroller and his dog Brisco on the leash!
  • Stephanie Todd - 4 and 4 with her dog Rowdy
  • April Holmes - 5
  • Aunt Tudie -5
  • Dan Holmes - 5
  • Uncle Dave - 5
  • Devon Kelsey - 35
  • Sam Kane - 35
  • Kalen Kao - 15
  • Chris Codding - 40
  • Loryn Bedell - 21
  • Victoria Torres - 12
  • Dave Goldstein - 50 on a bike
  • Paige -10
  • David Weber - Major Support
  • Michelle De Young - Major Support
Our youngest Run the 1 participant yet. Little Sage and her father Joshua Blacksmith.

Our youngest Run the 1 participant yet. Little Sage and her father Joshua Blacksmith.

NIGHT 2 - AFTER PARTY - Kreuzberg - San Luis Obispo

This was one of the best nights I can remember. It was definitely our best after party we have ever had. SO many people came, I couldn't believe it. We even brought in a decent amount of strangers too. The best part was seeing old fire guys from lots of peoples' varied pasts coming as well. If nothing else, I was content seeing so many of us come together. Even better, we raised a ton of money for the kids too. The music lineup was our best ever. The Holy City Zoo kicked us off with Laura's voice luring people in off the streets like a siren. Rowan McGuire's band came on after. We had never heard of them before but they played some great rootsy jams that kept the energy steadily increasing. Our favorite West African Dance troupe played for us again. They danced and played their asses off better than ever. Samba Loca made their grand entrance and turned it up another notch. I remember looking out at the dance floor and seeing a ton of people who I didn't know. So I want to give a big thank you to everyone who helped get others in the party. The Glorified Gardeners closed the night and I don't have the words to express how much fun I had playing with the band and dancing with you guys. The highlight for me was playing our version of Marty O' Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra's gem called "Cold Canary Gaslight." After the party was done, we all stayed out and continued the fun. How can we not thank Kreuzberg, Firestone, the bands, and everyone for sticking around and having so much fun. The biggest thanks goes to Ali and James for making it all happen again.

DON'T FORGET THE RAFIKI RUNNERS!
This year we easily had more runners than ever! I will highlight them the best I can..

Shyaka and Die Donne running together. You may see that Die donne is wearing his AG hat that I gave to him years ago. He has always kept great care of it.

Shyaka and Die Donne running together. You may see that Die donne is wearing his AG hat that I gave to him years ago. He has always kept great care of it.

Our kids in Rwanda - 12 Kilometers - 6 ish miles

I am told that they began in the day time when it was extremely hot, but by the end of it, a massive rainstorm hit. They all finished though and I am proud of them. Those dirt roads become hell to even walk on when it downpours. It was so nice to feel them running with us again.

Sunish and Brina in India

Sunish and Brina in India

Sunish Oturkar and Brina ( India) - 5 miles

Sunish is my best friend and on the trustee board for our charity. He was away in India during the event but he still ran with a friend over there!

I am assuming Doug''s young daughter made this in spirit with us.

I am assuming Doug''s young daughter made this in spirit with us.

Doug Kirkesmith and family (Malawi)- 3 miles

Doug was the one who initially introduced me to the kids in Rwanda. Now he is living in Malawi with his family. They all got out and jogged for the cause as well!

It looks like Kevin may have won worst weather for the run this year.

It looks like Kevin may have won worst weather for the run this year.

Kevin Chambers (New York) - 4 miles

Kevin and I used to work together for my hometown Fire Department. He has always supported our efforts and always goes for a run in our name.

The Able Ebenezer gang in my hometown of Merrimack, NH.

The Able Ebenezer gang in my hometown of Merrimack, NH.

Able Ebenezer Brewing Company (Merrimack, NH) - 2 mile route (30+ runners)

Able Ebenezer is a craft brewery in my hometown. I have come to love not only their beer but also everything they stand for, and the way they bring our small town together. Heather Martin is in charge of their sales and she asked me how Able could help our efforts. In a small amount of time she organized a Rafiki Run and 30+ runners came out on a cold day in December. It was very special to see my hometown coming together for it. My father even came and walked which was heartwarming. The event raised a great deal of support for the kids too. There was even a few Rwandans in attendance. One of the patrons from the bar has been supporting a Rwandan family that came here years ago after living in a refugee camp for years from civil war. I look forward to meeting them soon. I got a list of names from Heather, I hope I didn't miss anyone.

  1. Kartn Merriman
  2. Amanda Dogul
  3. Jim Dogul
  4. Kyle Marsden
  5. Greg Kieffer
  6. Glen Campbell
  7. Bill Williams
  8. Faustin, Angelique, and Jean Marie (Rwandans)
  9. Dennis Mellina
  10. Jeff Maistrosky
  11. Casady Hospodar
  12. Tony Difranco
  13. Heather Driscoll
  14. Roswmarie Rung
  15. John Rung
  16. Jeff Warenda
  17. Adam Dodge
  18. Bob Normandy
  19. Cindy Normandy
  20. Cheryl Oshea
  21. Tim Oshea
  22. Kristan Patenaude
  23. Mike Hebert
  24. Dee Foley
  25. Maria Tetley
  26. Mike Sullivan
  27. Jason Roark
  28. Meg Roark
  29. Jeremy Earp
  30. Mike Frizzelle
  31. Dalton Paquette
  32. Heather Martin

THE CHEESY THANK YOU PART

I will try not to get too crazy here but its very difficult. In some ways, many of us were more disconnected than ever this year. The Arroyo Grande Hotshots were gone almost all summer. I was in Alaska. Many friends and family had moved to other areas as well. If you looked at the potential of Run the 1 this year on paper, it would seem that it might lose steam. The exact opposite happened. I remember my sister came to me on the beach in Cayucos and asked me how the event went before the after party. I thought to myself for a minute and then realized I would have to be a total jerk to say it went anything less than amazing. The fact that it happened at all to me was amazing. And to think that it was happening in places all over the world too. It went AMAZING. We had new faces and old and everything in between.

Also, thinking more about it; I needed peoples' help more than ever too. I showed up to California pretty much homeless. Friends and family offered their houses, vehicles, and their time best of all to me to help with general life and Run the 1. I had it in my mind to list them out at the end of this but after awhile, it became too insane to do it adequately. If you are reading this and you did anything for me even if seemingly small, you must know I've never felt more humbled and thankful.

I found an old photo of us running on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012 just for Nostalgia.

I found an old photo of us running on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012 just for Nostalgia.

ONE MOMENT TO DISCUSS BUSINESS

So I will leave for Rwanda in early January. I can only stay a month this year sadly due to my new work schedule. Rest assured, the kids will be off to school fine, and our sponsors will get fantastic updates on their kids. I can't say yet how the extra funds will be used. For sure I will communicate with you though upon my return. I hope to build some more but we will evaluate after our kids are off to school.

Please stay tuned to see how great it will be sure to go thanks to all of our hard work. Until then, I encourage you to look back at some of the blogs to see how far we have come and all the things we have been a part of. You can see how close we are to finishing our dream home to help street kids in Rwanda for years to come. Look even closer and you will see the land that it sits on and how we helped to purchase it. And then look at some of the pictures of the some of the kids and how they have grown since because we made sure they got the opportunities that we have gotten in our lives. We have come so far.

Two new young ones that I can't wait to meet in a couple of weeks. I like to see them playing on the fake streets and than living on the real ones.

Two new young ones that I can't wait to meet in a couple of weeks. I like to see them playing on the fake streets and than living on the real ones.

FINAL CHEESY THOUGHTS

In the end, it is pretty simple. Over the years, I have tried to point out all of the great things that come out of Run the 1 for the kids, me, and everyone involved. But when it really comes down to it, its about us coming together and keeping our kids off the street in Rwanda. After I met the kids, I knew I couldn't allow them to fall back to the street again. And after all the places I have gotten to call home over the years, I know I don't want to lose my connection to any of them. Run the 1 brings it all together and for all the right reasons in my book. I will never have the words to fully express this sentiment but I will always go for a run each year in honor of all of us, and I hope you reading this may always join me when you can.

Every year, more humbled,

Sully

p.s. Happy Holidays to everyone! Enjoy some picutres!

Our first Tandem bikers ever. Sky and Staci

Our first Tandem bikers ever. Sky and Staci

Dodi trying to outrun the storm

Dodi trying to outrun the storm

I don't think Dodi outran the storm.

I don't think Dodi outran the storm.

The winner of best supporter for this years run goes to Claire Mellein. Honorable mentions go to Michelle De Young and David Weber. Michelle hates to be in pictures so she will forgive me, and Weber got to be front and center on the Rafiki Run without his shirt on so he's cool.

The winner of best supporter for this years run goes to Claire Mellein. Honorable mentions go to Michelle De Young and David Weber. Michelle hates to be in pictures so she will forgive me, and Weber got to be front and center on the Rafiki Run without his shirt on so he's cool.

The gang in Merrimack, NH got to drink the finest Able Ebenezer brews but the runners on the 1 typically partake in Tecates.

The gang in Merrimack, NH got to drink the finest Able Ebenezer brews but the runners on the 1 typically partake in Tecates.

Doug and his daughter in Malawi

Doug and his daughter in Malawi