Run4Papa versus The Sandbar


You might not think heading to a lake would be an ideal running spot to train; however, with a venue like The Great Wall of China, I am constantly thinking outside of the box. There is no handbook to simulate the elements of this run so I figured any type of training would be beneficial. With this in mind, my father and I headed to  Union Lake, located in Commerce Township, Michigan.

We headed out on our pontoon boat and took a loop around the lake.  The weather was around 75 degrees and being a fall Sunday in September, there weren’t many boats on the water. As we reached the midway point of our ride, I had the notion of running the sandbar: End-to-End. I figured, why not? I have run on all types of surfaces and races the past couple months; surely, this would be a one-of-a-kind training experience.

I had no idea exactly how accurate that statement would turn out to be…

For those of you unfamiliar with the depth of a sandbar, it is roughly 3-5 feet.  Most people pull their boats into the designated area, anchor, and swim. With only a couple of boats on the lake, we dropped anchor and I slid into the water – slightly cooler than 4th of July weekend.

When I began running the sandbar, there was soft sand beneath my feet which produced minimal resistance in my strides.  This lasted for several hundred yards and was comfortably manageable.

As I continued getting further and further away from the boat, the dynamic of the run shifted because the surface below was getting deeper and muckier. My strides shortened considerably and transitioned from a solid run to a slower jog. The once smooth sandy surface quickly turned into a thicker muck surrounded by algae (god only knows the species roaming around below).  It felt like someone attached 10 pound weights to my ankles because my feet were sinking and needed to be stretched ever so carefully to release them from the surface below.

Step after step became tougher and tougher; however, like running any long-distance race, you just put one foot in front of the other and push forward.  I was able to reach the end of the sandbar and was jumping up and down for a long-distance picture.  On the third jump, my sunglasses flew off my face into the murkier water.  I held my breath, cupped my hands and dove below to try and catch ’em.  For the record, I have never lost a pair of sunglasses on any body of water; yet, a pair of $7 Venice Beach sunglasses were just donated to the bottom of Union Lake.

After reaching the far end of the sandbar, I thought it only appropriate to run back to the boat.  Without a doubt my father would have grabbed me, but he looked pretty content relaxing on the boat.  And to be honest, it has never been my mentality to do anything halfway.  Putting one foot in front of the next, I strided back through the sandbar until the muck was behind me. At last, I was able to run full stride and complete the Run4Papa v. Sandbar challenge.

This valuable run proved to be a solid test of both mind and body because you can never fully anticipate how the elements and mother nature are going to alter your route. Marathon preparation is 80% mental & 20% physical so when unexpected moments occur, you need to be able to readjust your approach and improvise along the way…

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Run4Papa v. Sandbar

 Ever thought about running a sandbar from one end to the next? Me neither until recently.



To see running pictures from the sandbar at Union Lake, go to: End-to-End

To read what it’s like to run end-to-end through the sandbar sandbar, go to: Run4Papa v. Sandbar

Wear Your Purple

World Alzheimer’s Day

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. Wear your purple in support of those with the disease and their caregivers!

Sponsorship Opportunities

The 2nd Annual Run 4 Papa

To benefit the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Sponsorship Opportunities

 Title Supporter (1) $10,000 (tax deductible)

  • Category exclusivity
  • Most prominent and largest sponsor logo placement
  • Runner will wear Title Supporter’s apparel while training, in all races – 5K, 10K, Mud Runs, Stair Clubs, Half/Full Marathons, and in all video postings on the webpage
  • Supporter receives own “spotlight” at the top of the front page of
  • Logo recognition and link on the front page of
  • Sponsor provided with an employee team viral video to promote after the completion of final destination run
  • Sponsor name/logo included in all publicity efforts such as radio, television, print advertisements and media releases
  • Name, Logo and Link recognition under Sponsorship Supporters
  • Recognition in Run4Papa Social Media – Promotional mention on Facebook (20), Twitter (20), Blog, etc.
  • Ability to create tie-ins related to sponsor’s marketing, advertising and promotional efforts

Full Marathon Supporter $5,000 (tax deductible)

  • Large sponsor logo prominence
  • Logo recognition on the front page of the
  • Sponsor provided with an employee team PowerPoint presentation fortheir workplace
  • Sponsor name/logo included in all publicity efforts such as radio, television, print advertisements and media releases
  • Name, Logo and Link recognition under Sponsorship Supporters
  • Recognition in Run4Papa Social Media – Promotional mention on Facebook (10), Twitter (10), Blog, etc.
  • Ability to create tie-ins related to sponsor’s marketing, advertising and promotional efforts

Half Marathon Supporter $1,000 (tax deductible)

  • Medium sponsor logo prominence
  • Sponsor logo, phone #, and website on the back of the business cards -10,000+ to be distributed locally
  • Name and Link recognition under Sponsorship Supporters
  • Recognition in Run4Papa Social Media – Promotional mention on Facebook (5), Twitter (5), Blog, etc.
  • Ability to create tie-ins related to sponsor’s marketing, advertising and promotional efforts

5K Supporter $250 (tax deductible)

  • Name recognition under Sponsorship Supporters
  • Recognition in Run4Papa Social Media- Facebook (1), Twitter (1), Blog, etc.
  • Ability to create promotional tie-ins related to the event

Reply Form

_______         Yes! We would like to sponsor the 2012 Run For Papa!We have chosen sponsorship level:
_______ $10,000 Title Supporter
_______ $5,000 Full Marathon Supporter
_______ $1,000 Half Marathon Supporter
_______ $250 5K Supporter


Company Name (As you wish it to appear on all printed materials):
Contact Person/ Title:
City: State: ZIP:
Phone: Fax:


Payment Options

Enclosed, please find our check in the amount of: $______________

(payable to the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center)

Please bill me in the amount of: $________________

Charge my American Express, MasterCard or Visa via in the amount of: $________________ (circle card type)

Card Number: __________________________________________Expiration:____________

Print Name as it appears on the card:____________________________________________

Authorized Signature:____________________________________________

Stop Wishing. Start Doing.

 For more information, contact Jason F. Boschan, Director of Fundraising / Runner

Tel: 980-328-5400                   E-Mail:  [email protected]

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Run4Papa “Under the Lights”…sort of

Michigan v. Notre Dame 9-10-11: First Night Game Ever!

I managed to record a brief clip of the madness that captures the essence of the night:

9-10-11.  Sure that sounds like a numerical sequence, but on this day, or should I say this “night,” that order of numbers would mark a very special evening for the University of Michigan football program.  The first ever night game took place at the Big House between the two most storied universities: Michigan v. Notre Dame. 10 out of the previous 20 meetings have been decided by 5 points or less.  This game has been “hyped up” for over a year in Ann Arbor and throughout college football.  All you can hope for in a setting like this is for good weather and a close game, or as my father would say “I would be comfortable with a 30-point lead by halftime!”

The idea was to tailgate with friends for about 4-5 hours, head to the stadium, watch a competitive football game “under the lights,” and then run around The Big House at night.  Pretty straight-forward approach (on paper) or so I thought…

Unless you have been locked away in some dark room or pretending you didn’t make the drive from South bend, you should know by now that this battle royale was one of the, if not “the” best games ever played at the Big House.  Down 24-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter, the mighty Wolverines came back with a 4th quarter for the ages – an instant classic.  A fumble by Michigan’s running back at the Notre Dame 1-yard line could’ve been disastrous, but QB Denard Robinson picked up the loose ball and ran in for the touchdown.

Momentum is a funny thing.

No matter what the venue or setting – be it a collegiate football game, a relationship, life or certainly training for the likes of the Great Wall of China.  It’s contagious and you better take full advantage of the the ride when it’s moving your direction.

As Michigan narrowed the gap from 24-14, then 24-21, the stadium was erupting!  I have been fortunate to see many games at the Big House, but this was unlike any my eyeballs had witnessed before.  I couldn’t believe the atmosphere.  With 1:10 to go, Michigan took the lead 28-24 on a dump-off pass to RB Vincent Smith. I couldn’t hear a thing, the noise level was deafening.

This was one of the greatest comebacks in Michigan history or so it seemed. 40 seconds later, Notre Dame scored a touchdown and like many times before, this game was being decided in the final minutes. I texted my good friend Derek and said “We are still going to win.”

:30 to go, Michigan had the ball on their own 20. An incomplete pass left :23 on the clock.  My heart was racing, the stadium was shaking and the tension was eerily all-encompasing. Robinson stepped back and made a pass to a WIDE open Jeremy Gallon who sprinted down to the Notre Dame 16-yard line with only :08 remaining.

A field goal to tie, a touchdown to become legendary.

Michigan QB Denard Robinson took the snap…7,6,5, – the ball was lofted to the corner of the end zone, 4,3,2…


114,804 fans were going bonkers!!!  Michigan wide receiver Roy Roundtree came down with the football making the final score 35-31 for the Maize & Blue.  Originally, I wanted to run around the Big House for Papa & PPA research but this environment was too insane.  I fully admit I got caught up in the chaos. The Big House was rocking, under the lights, and no one was leaving, not even the Irish fans (probably from being in shock more than anything).

Rest assured, I will return against our arch-rivals, the hated Ohio State Buckeyes.  One way or the other, Run 4 Papa will run around the Big House even if it’s single digits outside in the heart of wintertime. I’ll just make sure not to wait until the very last second…although that can be exhilarting!

To see more pictures from the game, go to: Under the Lights

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Former Detroit Red Wing Backs PPA

Shawn Burr Endorses Run4Papa

Former Detroit Red Wing left-winger Shawn Burr agreed to go on camera to help raise awareness for PPA research:

Burr joins the fight!

After a very fun and adventurous night out with my buddy Dan in Tampa, I awoke fairly early on Saturday morning.  Instead of sleeping in, I decided to head up to the pool area around 9AM.  I figured why not go for a swim before starting my day.  When I got up to the pool deck, I changed course and headed over to the jacuzzi.  Even my 32-year old bones need relaxing every now and then…

As I quickly sat in the mildly warm jacuzzi (keep in mind it’s Tampa and it’s plenty humid int he summertime), there was a man who looked eerily familiar in the hot tub.  We started chatting a little bit only to find out that we both lived in the state of Michigan for quite some time. I introduced myself and he replied “Shawn Burr, nice to meet you!”

Like the Bill Rodgers experience, I felt a little embarrassed I didn’t recognize him at first considering my passion for all-things Detroit but he brushed that off pretty quickly and we continued chatting for the next half hour.

While Shawn still resides in Michigan, he was visiting Tampa to see his daughter compete in a volleyball tournament for Eckerd College. You could see the pride in his eyes as he spoke of her.

After laughing about stories of Michigan v. Ohio State, rivalries in the hockey world and likely some other stories that are best left on that pool deck, he briefly transitioned to an appreciation for life.

Shawn informed me that 8 months ago he had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and had undergone 4 rounds of chemotherapy treatment.

“The day before my wife and I went to the hospital she bought pomegranate seeds from Costco.  In the morning, my tongue had red spots on them and I figured it was a reaction from the seeds. After getting some blood tested my doctor said ‘We need to check something.’ I knew I was in trouble.”

My heart broke.  He went on to describe the past 8 months but was filled with a sense of optimism. What struck me most about this conversation wasn’t the fact that here was a 16-year veteran of the NHL who on the outside seemed to be healthy, happy and full of life, but rather someone who was frustrated with the lack of financial support to fund research for Leukemia.

“I was on meds that were helping and then all of the sudden the pharmaceutical company doesn’t receive enough funding and the meds are no longer available.”

I understood.  I more than understood. I explained my cause to raise awareness for PPA research and how my grandfather and so many others were struggling with the disease. And like many other fatal diseases, the importance of research and funding is essential for progress.

He was inspired by my Run4Papa campaign and generously offered his support for the cause. As if we were friends since he got drafted in ’84 he said, “Email me when you get back to Charlotte and I will pass around your story throughout my office and garner support for your Papa.”

Shawn Burr, the left-winger I had grown up watching and rooting for in Detroit all those years was now backing the fight for PPA and my Papa.

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Bayshore Boulevard: Tampa, Florida

 The World’s Longest Continuous Sidewalk

Before making the trip out to Tampa, I was trying to locate a local 5K or 10K race in the city.  Despite my best internet researching efforts (and others), I was unable  to locate any official races over labor day weekend.  Of course, this would not deter me from running for Papa, and my good friend Ali informed me of a beautiful strip to run along in Bayshore Boulevard which links South Tampa and downtown.

Based on some after-the-fact research, Bayshore was built in the early 1900’s and is deemed the world’s longest continuous sidewalk because its 4.5 mile stretch of concrete is not interrupted by cross streets. This 10 foot-wide sidewalk starts at the Columbus Statue Park at Platt Street on the north end, and ends at Gandy Boulevard. It’s an official greenway trail, with amenities like benches, a water fountain, bicycle parking, a city marina and fitness stations. Fifteen cast bronze trail markers are embedded in the sidewalk, denoting each half mile and kilometer southward along the trail.

What I enjoy most about running is the ability to run in new places and along new routes.  I love taking in all the scenery and people along a run.  There were people riding bikes, men sitting on the balusters fishing, and an older gentlemen from the UK that was inquiring about my cause.  By writing PPA on one hand and Papa on the other, people are often stopping me and inquiring about the cause and reasons behind my journey.  As a result, people have been quickly gravitating to this campaign to create awareness for PPA research which is a top priority!

Too see pictures from the run go to – The Longest Continuous Sidewalk in the World

To see video from the race go to: One Looooooooong Sidewalk