Local runner seeks support for Memorial Day Veterans run
Not every person–and not every runner, for that matter–would decide to spend their Memorial Day weekend running 150+ miles from the shores of Lake Michigan at Ludington, to the Saginaw Bay at Essexville.
But ultramarathon runners–defined as someone who runs in excess of a 26.2 mile marathon, and often upwards of 100 miles–are a “special kind of crazy,” according to Manchester Township resident Brian Boos.
Brian, who teaches math and science at Beach Middle School, should know. He is one of them.
A runner since high school, and an ultra runner for the past seven years, Brian met fellow runner Kurt Adams, from Howell, in a 50K (31 mile) run on the Waterloo Trail in the Spring of 2016. They quickly became friends and when Kurt shared his dream of helping veterans via an ultramarathon that would cross the state of Michigan, Brian was all-in. They teamed up with Dean Smith, a former runner and disabled Marine veteran, and formed a 501(c)3 organization to support veterans’ causes. The organization is the Veterans Memorial Honor Run, VM150 inc.
“I was immediately drawn to the challenge of running across my home State,” Brian said. “I just thought, WOW! What an accomplishment that would be. The combination of the distance and the opportunity to give back to local veterans was what pushed me to join VM150 inc.”
The beneficiary organization of this inaugural VM150 is the Michigan Warriors Hockey Program (MWHP), which provides an educational and developmental hockey program for disabled veterans. Veterans of any disability, injury, or skill level are welcomed to join the program; and especially those who have never played hockey before are encouraged to come out and try.
“We decided to hold this event over Memorial Day Weekend to honor the people that gave their lives serving this country, but also to honor those that made it back,” according to the VM150 Facebook page. “Sometimes they thrive, and sometimes they struggle.” The event will acknowledge and honor those struggles, by giving back to those who have given so much to their country already.
Brian is hoping that widespread publicity for this event will encourage fund-raising as well as participation. He realizes that not everyone will be able to do the entire 150 miles, especially in this first year, but the VM150 is encouraging team participation to run relay-style.
“Get a group of friends together, and register for just $50 per team member,” he suggests. “I know there are a lot of runners in Manchester, and maybe some of them would like to do this.”
He recalls meeting up with a group of the Ragnar runners from The Distance who ran a similar relay from Muskegon to Traverse City last September; but he also knows there’s a wide community of runners of all skill sets around Manchester and he welcomes their interest as well.
Sign up to run at ultrasignup.com.
There’s also the opportunity to be a “virtual runner” with this event. If you are not able to run with the group during the event, but would like to run on your own this Memorial Day Weekend, sign up as a “Virtual Runner.” Virtual participants will receive a a t-shirt. The VM150 crew welcomes any stories or pictures from your run over the Memorial day Weekend, and they will try to post your pictures and stories to the website and Facebook page.
If you’re not ready to run, perhaps you’d like to help with fund-raising. Obviously, registration and team fees for the VM150 will provide a level of support to the MWHP, but donations above and beyond those fees are welcomed and encouraged, and will help the MWHP reach its goal of expanding the program to reach veterans throughout the state.
Do you enjoy organizing spaghetti dinners, restaurant nights, or other large fund-raising events? Brian and the VM150 board would love to hear from you with your ideas.
“It’s difficult to be organizing an event that will start 225 miles away, end 125 miles away, and take a route that’s 100+ miles north of where any of us live,” he explains. The VM150 board has made contacts in all the small towns along the route, but the logistics are a bit overwhelming, to say the least, for obtaining sponsorships from businesses that might give the event–and its beneficiary program for Michigan veterans–a financial boost. So anyone willing to organize a fundraiser or contact corporate sponsors on behalf of VM150 is welcome to contact them via their website, or contact via email or phone at 734-395-1829.
Lastly, “We are also looking for volunteers to run with the runners, help work aid stations, and provide overall support throughout the run,” Brian adds. “Energetic high school track teams wanting some miles in the wee hours of the morning would provide a much-needed boost to the runners that are going to attempt the 44 hours of continuous running.” There is a contact page on the VM150 website.
So, whatever your interest, if you want to help this event support disabled veterans all across the state, there is a way you can lend your legs, your voice, your resources, or your time.