Sunday, August 16, 2020

Running for Charity: Announcing the Berto 77 At Home Marathon

Berto wearing a blue jersey with a white number 14 on the back running during a rugby match being pursued by opponents in yellow jerseys
I've done most of my running in cleats

I'm not really a runner. I've run as part of my fitness routine over the years, but I'm not a runner. I know this because I've been around runners. T has run several half marathons and one full marathon. Our former roommate, Jay, used to run 50 and 100 mile ultra marathons. I've tried to keep up with them here and there over the years, but they definitely outclass me. I've always been athletic. Heck, now that extreme sports are considered sports, I guess I've always been an athlete thanks to my many years skateboarding. But even when I was running regularly, I've never been a runner. The farthest I've ever run is 13 miles while training for a marathon. On that one, my knee gave out and I had to call T to bring me home.  Right after that, my mom died and I never seriously considered a marathon again, but I also never gave up on the idea. 

For a long time, my idea was to go down to the local high school track around my birthday some year with a bunch of water and try to run it there. The thing is, that also always seemed like too much effort. I never know when the track is open or available. I definitely don't want to do it with people there watching. Yikes, no thank you. So, it never happened. 

And then...2020.

So it's been a crap year for everyone. We were getting through it OK until I lost my steady job. So now I'm home a lot more hoping to pick up freelance work. In the meantime, I may as well chase a dream.

I started running with Yo a couple months ago to distract xir from causing a ruckus while T tried to attend virtual church. Xe is a surprisingly enthusiastic runner for a five-year-old. Xe recently did 2+ miles with me, going around and around our block. I'd taken to running around the block some mornings before work and I knew that once around was almost exactly .34 miles. I did some quick math and figured that if I ran around my block 77 times, I'd complete a marathon.

77 times seems doable. For one, I'll have a great support system right there in front of my house. The kids can set me up with water and there's a bathroom that I know and trust. Second, I'll have a cheering section rooting my on every 1/3 of a mile. They can even join me on the course for a lap or two. Best of all, I'll never be more than .17 miles from home. I could blow out my knee and still crawl home if I had to. Or maybe Yo could pull me back home in the Radio Flyer. The thing is, I think I can do it. There's no time limit, I can't get kicked off the course, I'm not trying to qualify for anything. I just want to get it done so I can say I did it. 

Then I had another thought...

Of course I was going to hype this up on the blog and social media. It's a fun, quirky idea. Maybe people will get a kick out of it. If I'm going to write about it and Tweet about it, why not try to make it bigger than myself? So I decided to do this for charity. T and the kids jumped on board and now we're all going to be running some part of it. Each member of the family has picked a cause they want to raise money for. While I am committing to running all 77 laps, the others will do as much as they can (or want). We're going to livestream the event to create engagement and so donors can track our progress in real time. So with that, the #B77AtHome Marathon has come to be. We will run on September 27th, 2020, starting at 8:00am. You can find all the details on how to pledge on the Berto 77 At Home Marathon home page.

I will be running in support of the Alameda County Community Food Bank. This is the charity most often suggested by my followers on social media. Food banks are being heavily utilized during the pandemic as people struggle with finding steady income. I wanted to raise money for a place that would have an immediate impact on people's lives. T has chosen the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which works in the East Bay "to break the cycles of incarceration and poverty once and for all." Buddy will be running for Camp Indigo, a summer camp for transgender and gender diverse youth. Lou will be supporting Berkeley Humane, where we adopted our dog, Saracen. Yo will harken back to xir preschool walk-a-thon days in support of the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID), where Yo attended day care. 

So if you can donate an amount per lap (each lap is about .34 miles), please do. Or, if you'd like to come by to cheer, drive by to cheer, or maybe even join us for a socially distanced lap, please do. There will be more info at the blog An Interdisciplinary Life, on Twitter: @bertoinpublic, and on IG: @aninterdisciplinarylife. We will try to live stream the day as much as possible through the event website and on Facebook Live so you can see us go.


A couple pics from when we ran Bay to Breakers

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