Trailblazer Gary Thompson celebrates after finishing the 2016 Hospital Hill Run half marathon course in Kansas City, Missouri.
Run 70 marathons by age 70.
That was Gary Thompson’s goal, and he exceeded it. His most recent race was the Shamrock Marathon last month in Virginia Beach. It was his 72nd marathon at “70 years young,” he said.
For Gary, a professor in the law and criminal justice department at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, running is about more than fitness. It’s about travel, being social and doing something good for others.
Get more inspiration from Gary!
By Becky Findley, Unbound International Evaluations Manager and Unbound Trailblazer
Becky Findley after completing the 2015 Kansas City Marathon as an Unbound Trailblazer.
Becky Findley (left) with fellow Unbound Trailblazer Xandra Alpiser.
We’ve all been there. That point during a run when you begin to think — “how much longer? Why am I even doing this anyway?” Unbound Trailblazer and staff member Becky Findley shares her reflection on her pursuit to overcome these feelings and become a “real” runner.
I’ve almost reached mile 22, and I’m feeling beat. The weather is unseasonably warm and humid, and my legs are sore. I signed up for this marathon to test my limits, and, in this moment, I think I’ve found them. In this moment, the topic cycling my brain is the question of why I signed up for this race.
Like most runners who began in adulthood, starting to run was a struggle. Going to the park was a humbling act. Other runners zipped past with an elegant combination of speed and athleticism while I struggled to find my stride with the grace of a duck. Quickly, I’d lose my breath, slow to a walk and wonder if I would ever be a “real” runner.
Unbound Trailblazer David Scarpello with his wife, Jennifer, after completing the 2015 Twin Lights half marathon in Gloucester, Mass.
From left: Nick, Reyna and David
When David Scarpello first sponsored 11-year-old Reyna from Honduras in 2001, he had no idea he was about to set foot on a path that would eventually take him on three trips to Honduras, into the lives of 17 more sponsored children, and into the role of an Unbound Ambassador.
In June, that path will also lead David from his home in Boston to the starting line of the Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City, where he will participate for the first time.
Topeka sponsor Christie Appelhanz and her daughter, Kate, often go for runs together.
Sponsor Christie Appelhanz is starting her birthday celebration a couple days early. Not with a big party or a fancy dinner, but by running for charity. She’ll be visiting Kansas City on June 5 to take part in the Hospital Hill Run as an Unbound Trailblazer.
“Hospital Hill Run is special because the 5K takes place two days before my 40th birthday,” Christie said. “Instead of gifts, I’m asking friends and family to contribute $40 to Unbound.”
Marybeth Stucker after running the Akron Marathon.
Marybeth and her sponsored friend, Miriam, on the 2014 Bolivia awareness trip.
When asked what people should know about her, Marybeth Stucker said, “I tend to talk obsessively about the things I am passionate about … entrepreneurship, running, Unbound … and really good food!”
Marybeth learned of Unbound in 2006 when a priest visited her hometown parish in Cincinnati to talk about the organization’s work with children and elders. The priest’s message resonated with Marybeth, prompting her into action.
“Even though I was only 16 at the time, I really wanted to help a young girl in need,” Marybeth said. “I used my earnings from my part-time job at a bakery to pay my monthly sponsorship.”
Unbound editor Loretta Kline and her husband, Robert, train together for Kansas City’s Hospital Hill Run.
By Loretta Kline, editor at Unbound
I ran track in high school and participated in road races. I hadn’t run in organized events for years when my daughters asked my husband and me to participate in a run on Thanksgiving Day. We ran as a family, survived it all and had fun in the process.
So when the Unbound Trailblazers were formed, I thought it was good motivation to get in better shape and help raise awareness of our organization at the same time. My husband and I started training for the Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City by running and walking 2‐4 miles several times a week.
We’re looking forward to joining the other Trailblazers June 6 on the road to physical fitness and helping a good cause.
Find out how you can join the fun and become an Unbound Trailblazer.
Do you engage in a sport? Many of our sponsors find creative ways to combine their favorite activities and help raise awareness of sponsorship at the same time.
For example, Rob Grant, a CFCA sponsor, is a longtime marathon runner and runs in honor of Jursha, his sponsored friend in India, and others sponsored through CFCA.
Rob has participated in marathons in Miami, the Twin Cities and Cleveland. He’s planning to run in the Fort Lauderdale Marathon on Feb. 19, 2012. He hopes to offer any medals he receives to his friend, Jursha.
Thank you, Rob, for all your efforts on behalf of children, youth and the aging waiting for a sponsor. And thanks to all of you who share your enthusiasm about CFCAís Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
If you’re interested in seeing how you can spread the word about sponsorship through activities you’re passionate about, we’d love to hear from you. Email email@example.com for more information.