March 30, 2008

ING Georgia Marathon

The ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta is only in its second year, but what a great event they put on! I was picked up at the airport by Don who is retired but helps out at the marathon with his wife. As we were driving into downtown Atlanta, it was easy to see what had taken place just a couple of weeks prior. A tornado had ripped through the downtown area! Windows were blown out of many of the high rise building there as they were all boarded up, that didn't keep race director Victoria and her staff from going ahead with their plans!

They had 15,000 runners signed up and it went off without a hitch as far as I could tell. I spoke at the expo and also at the VIP dinner. Others that were also there to speak are all good friends of mine and it’s always great to see them! Katherine Switzer, Patti and Dan Dillon, and Norm and Helen Klein.

Thanks Atlanta for a great weekend and for the wonderful race you put on!

March 29, 2008

123rd Annual Little Falls Chamber of Commerce Banquet

What a great time I had in Little Falls, Minnesota! Little Falls is a town of around 8,000 people located on the Mississippi River in North Central Minnesota. It’s most famous for the birthplace of Aviator Charles Lindberg!

I arrived in Little Falls the afternoon of March 23 and helped with the Grand Opening of a beautiful new fitness center in Little Falls, what a gorgeous place! Then I did a book signing at a local book store.

That night I had a great meal with some runners of the local running club.

The next morning I was up bright and early for a run with runners from the running club. My next stop was on to the elementary school in the small town of Randal, MN. I spoke to 3rd - 5th graders about running and leading a healthy, active, chemically free lifestyle.

After my talk I opened it up to questions, boy did they have a lot and were not afraid to ask me anything! The kids and staff were great!

That afternoon I spoke to a community drug task force group, then onto the Little Falls High School to talk with the kids. An old friend of mine, Jeff Massman, is the Gym teacher there. The students were excellent!

My main talk while I was there was for the 123rd Annual Little Falls Chamber of Commerce Banquet. There were about 400 folks in attendance, we had a wonderful meal and my talk went very well!

Thank you Little Falls, what an awesome community you have!

March 21, 2008

Run On Texas

My trip to Dallas to speak at the Run On stores was great! The drive to Dallas from Austin was another story though! I was heading north on I-35, and 40 miles north of Austin, it started just pouring and was that way all the way to Dallas, even the interstate had pooling water on it!

I had a great meal that night with the folks from New Balance, the next morning it was up early for a run with Run On store owner Bob Wallace. I have known Bob for over 25 years, in our younger days we used to lock up in some pretty good races against one another.

We ran 6 miles with some folks Bob was training for the Boston Marathon. After our run it was on to a radio station where Bob and I were interviewed.

Later that morning I was on the road with Dave Shelbourne from New Balance and the area NB rep, Len Chatwin. We visited some of the Run On stores in the Dallas area and a running store over in Fort Worth.

That night I gave a talk to about 100 runners at a dinner that Bob hosted at a local Dallas restaurant. The following morning I gave a talk to some of Bob’s employees at his home, and then it was a nice drive back home to Austin.

A big thanks goes out to Bob and his wife Rebecca and all the great folks at New Balance for making this trip happen!

March 8, 2008

Chamber of Commerce Banquet, Aberdeen, South Dakota

Aberdeen, South Dakota is a bustling city of 30,000 people located in Northeast South Dakota. I flew from Austin to MSP and then took a small prop plane from MSP into Aberdeen. Amy Blackstone from the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce was my host and picked me up at the airport.

Wednesday evening I was a special guest at the monthly meeting of the Aberdeen Area Running Club. We met at the Ward Deli, a very neat refurbished old hotel. The Aberdeen Area Running Club just got up and going in the last few months and already have close to 100 members!

I had a chance to chat with most folks and then I gave a 40 minute talk and answered questions, it was lots of fun!The next morning about 20 folks showed up at 6am for a nice 5 mile run, we were all bundled up as the temperature was around zero with light snow falling. The local paper even showed up to take pictures of all of us out on the run!

Later that morning I gave a talk at Aberdeen Central High School, the kids were awesome! I had a short break and then gave a talk to students/athletes at Northern State University in Aberdeen, once again those kids/young adults were wonderful and had some great questions after my talk.

Thursday night I gave the Keynote talk at the 123rd annual Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Banquet. There were close to 500 folks there and I had the honor of being introduced by Amy's brother, Tim Blackstone. Tim was a top runner at South Dakota State University back in his day and he told a few stories about me that brought back some great memories! My talk went very well and the audience was super to talk to!

The next morning it was up and out the door for a run at minus 13 degrees out! I forgot how cold it can still get this time of the year in the north land!

I had a wonderful time out in Aberdeen and I can't thank Amy Blackstone and all the folks in Aberdeen for helping make my trip such a great one!

Thanks Aberdeen, South Dakota!