I had an amazing opportunity this past weekend. I got to spend a few miles with a guy who is running ACROSS THE COUNTRY. But not only is Chris Praetzel running across the country, he is doing it totally self-supported. No crew. No support vehicle. Just Chris and a baby stroller of supplies:
Chris started in California and is heading to New Jersey, already covering more than 500 miles. I was blessed to spend a day with him. Since running through the Mojave and into southern Utah, temperatures are scorching so he has been running through the night. I met him at 8:00pm to start running and it was exactly 100 degrees outside. My friend Ryan joined us as well:
Chris is running to raise awareness of organ donation since his brother is alive thanks to a kidney transplant. This topic is close to my heart as well since I work in dialysis centers where people pray every night that a kidney will become available so they can get off dialysis. (Here is my favorite picture from our run.)
What I really admired was his determination and his humility and his kindness. Instead of seeing a cold, uncaring world, Chris sees the kindness and support of strangers. I ran around 8 miles then drove back to meet him along the way to drop off some food from In & Out Burger.
From there he ran a few more hours before reaching Hurricane, Utah. He said over the last 500 miles a few guys from Highway Patrol have stopped him saying they had reports of a crazy guy running through the desert with a baby in a stroller. But when they found out about his cause (and the fact that he didn't have a baby) they were totally supportive and even gave him a hat.
Since he was passing through my town I asked if he'd like to stay for the night and get a real bed, shower, and air conditioning. Our family was thrilled to spend the day with him on Sunday and the kids were so sad when it started to cool off and it was time for Chris to head out.
I found later that my daughter gave him a note before he left that said "Dear Chris, my name is Danica and I believe that you will be able to finish your race. I'm glad that you are able to stay with us. I am so sorry that you aren't able to sleep on a nice comfy bed like you did last night. Thank you so much for caring so much about your brother and running so long for him. I hope you will keep this note as long as you live. From Danica." Our family all stood in the yard watching as he ran down our street and onto the next step in his courageous journey.
Are you like me? Do you think this is the coolest thing EVER? Here's what you can do:
1) Please, please register to be an organ donor. Give the gift of life. Visit www.donatelife.net
2) You can visit Chris' website at www.brotherlyloverun.com
3) Check out the most updated info on Chris' run at his blog www.brotherlyloverun.blogspot.com