Monday, March 12, 2012

Let the Fundraising Begin!


Dear friends and family,

Once more, the streets beckon to my feet, and once more I hope to dash through a number of marathons this spring.  Like last year's equinox fling, the big events kick off with the Honda LA Marathon on March 18.  Then, 5 weeks later, I'll be hitting the pavement in my short lived but thoroughly beloved expatriate home of London, England.  After that, I am heading to Fort Collins or Fargo (or both!) for more 26.2 mile jaunts.  My big goal for this year is to complete a 50 mile race.  Crazy? Sure!  But first things first.  (Yep, it's fundraising time! Here's the link for those wanting to skip the commentary: https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun)

The Awesome Stadium to Sea Course

Now, you may be wondering why LA again.  Well, of course geographically, I should run LA.  Yet more than that, I really have loved the past two years competing in the Stadium to the Sea Course that kicks off at Dodger Stadium, heads east to downtown and then back west through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood and Brentwood before ending in Santa Monica above the Pacific Ocean.  Heavy rain last year did not dissuade me from a third crack at this awesome route.  With Frank McCourt selling off both the Dodgers and the LA Marathon, no one has any idea how long this course will stay in place.  And even beyond those reasons, I like being proud of running in Los Angeles.  This is my hometown, and while I have lived in many places and liked them all, I should be loyal and supportive of LA's race - one of the oldest big city marathons.

This support of LA extends to one of the four charities I am backing again this year.  The Alliance for Children's Rights provides free legal and support services to children in the foster system here in LA.  They do amazing work with adoptions, child defense, reuniting siblings split by foster parents and creating programs to support kids moving into college and beyond.  They have mentor programs and take a very hands on approach to everything they do.  I am the co-chair again this year of their LA Marathon fund raising.  Last year we hit over $50,000, and the goal this year is much bigger.  We expect over 80 runners between the 5K and LA Marathon on March 17 and 18.  If you are in LA and want to run one of these, please let me know!  The team at the Alliance does a great job taking care of us runners, and they will be at mile 20 of the marathon to cheer us on.  This is also the 20th anniversary of the charity.  Rebecca's new medical practice is a sponsor of their efforts as well.  Learn more:  http://kids-alliance.org/

Later, 2012 finds the world descending on London for the Summery Olympic Games.  So, I wanted to run the Virgin London Marathon as my way of connecting to that amazing event in a place where we lived for about a year.  When I am in London, just walking through the streets makes me feel at home and relaxed.  The race is April 22 and follows a lovely course from Greenwich to near Buckingham Palace.  The 1908 London Marathon was the first to set a marathon distance at 26.2 miles (42.1 km), and so in many ways, it is part home of the marathon (along with Athens which hosted the first ever and Boston which has kept it alive for over 110 years).

To celebrate the London marathon, I'm running for Rays of Sunshine.  I met the Executive Director and her family on a flight to Morocco back in 2010 during my 7 continent quest.  She gave me the opportunity to run for her group, and I took advantage.  Rays of Sunshine provides wish fulfillment for children suffering form terminal and serious diseases.  They work throughout the UK and have been around for many years.  They are well known and moreover well respected.  I am proud to add them to the fold.  https://www.raysofsunshine.org.uk/

While I left Activision in December, I still believe strongly in the C.O.D.E. mission of providing training and jobs for our veterans.  C.O.D.E. has been gaining a lot of momentum and continues to establish new scholarships and job opportunities throughout the United States.  Whenever I post on the C.O.D.E. site about my running, I get a lot of positive support and affirmation.  http://www.callofdutyendowment.org/

Children International is another awesome group.  I was privileged to visit their Viña del Mar facility in Chile this past October.  In fact, I actually followed my 7th continent marathon with that excursion.  I'm so happy I did because it reminded me of the power of people helping others;  I spend a lot of time running by myself, and connecting my running to something much bigger than my mileage log is crucial to my fun.  In December, I visited the C.I. HQ in Kansas City.  Together, we brainstormed how the funds we raise could be used, and we agreed that all funds donated to the marathon efforts will go to their new kids sports program: Game On!  This program is designed to keep kids busy after school so they do not fall in with the wrong elements in their impoverished neighborhoods.   Soccer is the main activity, and that means a lot of running!  At some point this spring or summer, I will go back to KC and run a race with their staff for fun.  Learn more at www.children.org

Over the next few days, I'll provide some updates as the LA Marathon unfolds, and I gear up for London.  As always, if you want off the list, please just email me.  No worries at all.

And moreover, thank you to those who have supported me in my 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 campaigns.  We've officially opened the 2012 donation page at: https://www.justgive.org/registries/wishlist/donate/runlairdrun.  This is for the US charities.  Another email will detail how to donate to Rays of Sunshine on a similar UK site.   For all donations made, we will match $10 per donation to the charity chosen.  So, giving anything nets more money to each charity.

Thank you in advance for considering any amount you see fit.  Also, if you prefer to write a check to any of these organizations, please let me know.  This saves on the processing fees and gets more money into the charities' programs.

Here's to hoping whatever endeavors are inspiring you are going amazingly!

Best,

Laird

PS Once again, thanks for reading and supporting.

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