Ways to Donate to Boston Marathon Victims

Looking for ways to help the victims of April 15th Boston Marathon tragedy?

Here is a list of donation sites and/or companies donating proceeds to the victims.  Please help in any way you can!


Donate to Boston Marathon Victims

OneFund Boston

– organized by MA Governor Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino, this fund is set up to help the families most affected.  To learn more, read the press release.


– These are personal online fundraising campaigns set up by friends and families of each victim. Learn more at the Believe in Boston site.

American Red Cross

– Blood donation is one of the simplest ways to help victims in any tragedy. Find your local blood drive campaign and sign up today. Your donation will save the life of someone.  Learn how the Red Cross has already helped Boston.

  New England Patriots

– The Kraft Family, owners of the New England Patriots, is pledging to match donations up to $100,000.   To donate



Local Communities

Boston Strong

– Many communities are putting together local runs anywhere from 1 mile to 3 miles. These runs are in honor of the victims of the 4/15 attack. All proceeds from these local runs will be sent to a charity supporting Boston Victims. Please look at your local newspapers, FaceBook groups and running stores for events happening in your area.

Here is a list of some that we know about so far:

1. Boston Strong Orlando 22. Boston Strong Colchester, VT 43. Boston Strong London, Ontario 64. Boston Strong San Diego (at all 3 Movin Shoes)
2. Boston Strong Greenville SC >>IMPORTANT UPDATE<< 23. Boston Strong London 44. Boston Strong Missoula 65. #Boston Strong Fort Smith
3. Boston Strong Huntington Beach 24. Boston Strong IE – Rancho Cucamonga 45. Boston Strong Tampa 66. Boston Strong DEN – Denver/Littleton
4. Boston Strong Columbus 25. #Boston Strong Toronto: West End Edition 46. Southern Arizona Roadrunners 67. Road Runner Sport San Carlos
5. #Boston Strong NSB – New Smyrna Beach 26. #Boston Strong Rexford 47. Boston Strong Milwaukee 68. Boston Strong Monmouth
6. Boston Strong Baltimore 27. # Boston Strong LI – Long Island 48. Boston Strong Duluth, MN 69. Boston Strong Thumb of Michigan
7. Boston Strong Goffstown NH 28. Boston Strong CHI (TBA) 49. Boston Strong El Paso 70. Boston Strong Buffalo, NY
8. Boston Strong Lake Placid 29. Boston Strong SI – Staten Island 50. A Run For Boston at Road Runner Sports Tempe 71. Boston Strong BOSTON
9. Boston Strong San Diego, CA 30. Boston Strong Runners Edge (NY) 51. #Boston Strong Gardiner 72. Boston Strong Madison, WI
10. Boston Strong Seattle 31. #Boston Strong HOUSTON 52. #Boston Strong Syracuse 73. Boston Strong Westlake
11. Boston Strong RKE 32. Boston Strong Minneapolis 53. #Boston Strong Fort Collins 74. Boston Strong Jersey City
12. Boston Strong Des Moines 33. Boston Strong ATH: Athens, GA 54. Boston Strong Yuma, AZ 75. St. Louis Unity Run for Boston #BostonStrong
13. #Boston Strong LA 34. Boston Strong AZ – Glendale 55. Boston Strong Duvall, WA 76. Boston Strong Sacramento
14. #BostonStrongDC 35. Boston Strong- North Houston MRTT 56. Boston Strong Milford NH 77. Boston Strong, Brasilia, Brasil (pinterest image only)
15. Boston Strong NYC 36. Boston Strong Tryon, North Carolina 57. Boston Strong SoundRUNNER – Branford, CT 78. Boston Strong FTL – Fort Lauderdale
16. Boston Strong PGH 37. Boston Strong LB and Boston Strong OC 58. Boston Strong Monroe 79. Boston Strong Muntinlupa City – Philippines
17. Boston Strong PHX 38. Boston Strong Lake Placid 59. #Boston Strong Cincinnati 80. #BostonStrongColumbiaCity
18. Boston Strong Burlington 39. Boston Strong Little Rock 60. #Boston Strong Long Valley NJ 81. Boston Strong Sammamish WA
19. Boston Strong Atlanta 40. Boston Strong, “Runners for Boston”, JAX, FL 61. Boston Strong San Jose 82. Boston Strong Wilmington, DE
20. #Boston Strong Hendersonville 41. Boston Strong Nashville 62. #Boston Strong West Seattle 83. #BostonStrong Bellingham, WA
21. Boston Strong Paris 42. Boston Strong West Sacramento, CA 63. Boston Strong Calgary 84. Countryside YMCA, Lebanon, OH

Monday, 4/22 – 6:30pm –

Saturday, 5/11


If you know of more races taking place or other ways to donate, please add to our list.

Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold on Saturday

Me (red skirt) and a group of running buddies during 2012’s Virtual Run for Sherry.

On January 7, 2012, Sherry Arnold–a mother, wife, teacher, runner and so much more to many, many people–was on a regular early morning run when she was grabbed and then killed. Her cousin author of the Shut Up and Run blog, Beth Risdon, held a virtual run in her honor in February while authorities and volunteers searched for Sherry. (Her body wasn’t found until March 21, 2012.) Two men have been charged in her murder and, if convicted, may face the death penalty.

This year, the 2nd Annual Virtual Run for Sherry will be on Saturday, February 8, 2013. Run, walk, skip, bike in her memory. Races2Remember created a bib again this year. Click the link to print out the Run for Sherry bib and wear in her honor, and for other runners who have been brutally attacked.

“The run symbolizes our promise to run as SAFELY as we can, but to not fearfully scramble inside to treadmills or to stop doing something we love due to fear,” says Beth on her blog. She also has a great post on tips to run safely and she has set up a Facebook page for Saturday’s virtual run.

Check it out and get out there on Saturday.

What Do You Think of Race Registration Insurance?

I fractured my shin while training for my first marathon in 2010. Like most races, that one did not have a refund policy. Not wanting to  “waste” my money, I downgraded to the half and walked it. Okay, fine. I did run the last 3 miles or so. I hadn’t been diagnosed with a fracture yet, so this was not smart on my part. In fact, it could’ve contributed to the fracture.

I might have saved myself an injury if I would have been able to get my $100+ back.

Recently, ACTIVE Network, the leader in cloud-based Activity and Participant Management™, and Allianz Global Assistance USA, a leader in consumer specialty insurance, announced they are partnering to bring road runners race registration insurance.

A press release announcing the partnership claims nearly 15 percent of racers never actually make it to the start line. The fear of injury, and of not getting your race fee back, can sometimes stop someone from signing up for a race.

“Registering for an event in advance may seem more appealing to a participant if they know that a sprained ankle won’t jeopardize their registration fee,” Eric McCue, general manager of sports at ACTIVE Network, states in the press release. “For event organizers, Registration Protector solves an important customer service issue by making refunds available to participants without the need for organizers to manage or pay those refunds. Allianz Global Assistance was an obvious partner for us to help roll out this robust insurance plan to our customers because of their technical sophistication and impeccable reputation.”

All ACTIVE.com customers who sign up for events online will have the option of race registration insurance. During the registration process, racers can choose to buy Registration Protector. A Runner’s World article says that the insurance will cost $7 per event.

The ACTIVE press release says that with Registration Protector, a participant who misses an event for a covered reason such as an injury, illness, job loss, transportation delays, military/family/legal obligations, and more can get their registration fees reimbursed. Click the link for the complete list of covered reasons on the Allianz website. Of course, there are conditions, limitations and exclusions.

But ACTIVE says that Registration Protector will refund 100 percent of insured registration costs, subject to these certain conditions and limitations, including fees and other related costs up to the maximum coverage amount of $10,000. Allianz Global Assistance will manage all of the customer service and claims activity.

The Registration Protector is only available for races that use ACTIVE.com’s event organization services. Will more race directors use ACTIVE? Will ACTIVE force other event organizers to develop their own race registration insurance programs?

I am not sure what to make of this, yet. As a racer, it sounds like a pretty good deal. I’d like to konw what the conditions, limitations and exclusions are, though. What do you think?

Essential skills for adventure racing

If you’ve read much about adventure racing, you know that races typically include a variety of disciplines such as orienteering, trekking, mountain biking, and paddling. A successful adventure racer will be proficient in these areas, but there are some other less obvious skills that can make or break a race.

Eating: You would think that the last thing you’d forget during a long race is food, but eating can be difficult to remember and harder to do, especially late in a race. It’s important to keep on top of fueling as well as to know what kind of foods you can tolerate at different points in a race. In his last post, Luke discussed eating during an adventure race. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely check that out because it’s full of great information.

Traveling with weight: If you followed my advice from last week, you got a bargain on a good pack. Make sure to get some practice biking and hiking/running with it. I barely notice mine when I’m trekking or biking, but the added weight changes my stride when I’m running downhill. Experience with a loaded pack will also help you figure out the best places to store gear and food.


Trekking with full packs at the LBL Challenge


Rolling with the punches: Unexpected things will happen. Your ability to adjust and move on will dictate how your race goes. Don’t get so caught up in your idea of how the race will go that you can’t deal with the hiccups that are a natural part of any long race. In my first long race, one of my teammates was struck by debilitating cramps less than 10 minutes into our first trek, slowing our pace to a stroll. That wasn’t the plan, but it was our reality. Rather than get upset about it, the rest of us did our best to assist, support, and distract him until he was feeling better. In a long race, bumps such as minor injuries and mechanicals are the norm, not an exception.



Fixing a gashed sidewall with a GU boot at the Berryman Adventure


Enduring: Just because adventure racing is awesome doesn’t mean it isn’t terrible at times. Go into your race with the mindset that you’re in for the duration. One of my mental touchstones is my friend Bob’s reminder: “Just think how great the story wouldn’t be if it ended, ‘It got hard and then we quit.'” As a team, we rarely tell stories about the easy parts of our races, but we do reminisce about death marches, tipped canoes, and yellow jacket attacks.


Aftermath of a close encounter with a yellow jacket nest.


Getting along: Adventure racing can be a high pressure situation. You might be lost, sore, and/or tired. You might strongly disagree with your teammates about the next move or have heard one too many cracks about being old. As I wear down, the first thing to go is my sense of humor, and it takes me a lot longer to process a joke; my brother, on the other hand, loses his ear for sarcasm and starts getting irritable. It’s important to give your teammates the benefit of the doubt and to watch your own words. Mom had it right: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Checking your ego: No one wants to be thought of as weak, but the cool thing about an adventure race is that everyone will face low points. It’s not tough to refuse help and soldier on; it’s silly. More than that, it’s selfish. If I turn down a teammate’s offer to carry my pack or to tow me up a hill when I’m struggling on the bike, I’m not being independent; I’m slowing down my team. Adventure racing isn’t about what YOU can do, it’s what your team can accomplish together.


Bob shoulders his pack AND mine at Thunder Rolls


Clearly adventure racing requires a lot more than simple physical ability, and forming a team is more complicated than finding other people to sign up to race.  My list is a start…what are some other important skills for AR success?

Adventure racing: Building your Personal Adventure Network

When I fell for adventure racing, I knew nothing about it beyond what I’d seen on Checkpoint Tracker’s live race coverage, but that soon changed. Over the next year, I embarked on my own personal course in adventure racing, and though my first official race was hardly a resounding success (we were disqualified for missing the time cut-off), it was an absolute blast. I attribute my ability to have fun even while lost in the woods after 13 hours of racing to the mental preparation my personal adventure network afforded me.

In education, the concept of the Personal Learning Network (PLN) is currently popular. Basically, your PLN is a network of resources — blogs, websites, and individuals — that inform and inspire you in your career. Similarly, I think aspiring (or active) adventure racers can benefit from building a personal adventure network. You just can’t overestimate the benefits of knowing what to expect, learning answers to questions you haven’t even thought of, or just seeing a familiar face out on the course.

Here are some tips for building your own personal adventure network:

1. Explore race websites: These include basic details about the races and required gear lists. Some have suggested links to organizations where you can learn more about facets of adventure racing (orienteering clubs, for example). Many will list the teams who are already registered, along with links to their websites/blogs.

2. Blogs are your friend. I read every word of my friend Patrick’s post about his first adventure race and then looked up his ROCK Racing friends who had also competed. If you don’t have a personal AR connection, start with the teams listed on your target race’s website or google “adventure race”, “adventure race reports”, or the name of any race or team that has caught your eye.  Blog posts are filled with helpful information and can give a clear picture of the ups and downs of a long adventure race.

3. Be a Facebook stalker: Many teams also have Facebook pages. “Like” these pages and you can read about their training and upcoming races, view race pictures, and see links to adventure racing articles you might never have come across.

4. Join the conversation: Comment on the blogs and Facebook pages you’re following. Cheer them on. Ask questions. Most adventure racers love to talk about their sport and many of us are surrounded by family members who are sick of the topic. Interested ears are a refreshing change! 🙂

5. Don’t overlook the little guys: While I logged a lot of time following perennial front-runner Tecnu‘s progress at the AR World Championships and always benefit from Emily Korsch‘s race lessons, seeing top teams in action is like watching Olympic gymnasts: the things they make look easy are well beyond my abilities at this point. You can also learn a lot from middle-of-the-pack teams, who often come by their lessons the hard way. With careful reading, maybe you’ll avoid those particular mistakes.

6. Volunteer: Once the race reports failed to scare me away from adventure racing, my next step was volunteering at a race. It can be surprisingly fun (even in 20-degree weather), and volunteering offers you an up-close view of adventure racing.


My volunteering partner looking official(ly cold).

Since many volunteers are also adventure racers, you’ll add to your AR contacts. Of course, you’ll also see plenty of race staff and participants. They may to be too busy for introductions, but just by being there you’re becoming a more familiar face and helping support a sport you love.

7. Join the club: Orienteering is vital in an adventure race, and mountain biking and paddling are generally featured as well. Some races may include rock climbing or kayaking. Your skill level in any race discipline will definitely impact your success on race day. Look for clubs or groups targeting these sports and join in some of their activities. You’ll have fun and develop your skills while meeting like-minded people (and potential teammates).

Practicing my navigating skills at an orienteering meet.

8. Say yes: If a team you’re following online hosts an open event and you can go, do it. You’ll meet cool people and gain experience. My first taste of adventure racing was at a “non-race” hosted by a team based 2 hours away from me. While it was no picnic convincing my husband it was a good idea for me to spend the day in the woods with a group of strange men, that 9 hours cemented my love for adventure racing.

9.  Jump in: Preparation and contacts are good, but in the end, the best way to learn about adventure racing is to do it.  Find a teammate, pick a race, and enter.

10. Complete the circle: After all you’ve learned from others, wouldn’t it be nice to give back? If you’re so inclined, start your own blog. Share your training, funny stories, race reports, triumphs, and failures. Blogs afford the ability to connect with others, obsess in print about favorite topics, and collect great memories and pictures in one place. Platforms such a Blogger, WordPress, and Weebly offer free blog hosting and are pretty simple to negotiate.

Use these ten tips and before long your calendar will be full of fun training opportunities and your adventure races will be full of familiar faces.

Finding Your Way: Orienteering is the Key to Adventure Racing

Have you ever found yourself panicking as you realize you’re completely lost and about to miss that appointment or job interview?  Not a great feeling, is it?  Well, being lost in the middle of nowhere out in the wilderness in the black of night is even worse.  Take my word for it.  That’s why Orienteering is the key to a successful Adventure Race.  At least one person (preferable more than one) on your team needs to become proficient with a map and compass.  It’s imperative.

And don’t just assume that you can follow other teams.  Lesson number 1 in Adventure Racing is: Don’t ever follow anyone else…  EVER!  Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn this lesson over and over and over again.  Even for an experienced racer who knows better, it’s sometimes just too tempting to follow a “good team” when you’re not sure which way to go.  The problem is, sometimes even the “good teams” don’t always know where they’re going or maybe they’re too fast for you to keep up with.  So don’t rely on anyone else.  You must know where to go.  But how do you do that?

First you should go to Orienteering USA.  Here you’ll find all kinds of info on Orienteering, or “O” for short.  For raw beginners, there is a “New to O” section that is invaluable.  On this site, you can also find a local O-club near you.  Even if you don’t join the club, which you really should, you should attend their O-meets and any navigation clinics they may offer.

Orienteering Control at an Adventure Race

The orange and white control marker commonly used at Adventure Races and Orienteering Meets.

There are also Adventure Racing clinics and camps.  Pura Vida offers courses on Navigation ranging from 6 hours up to 2 days.  They offer other courses as well, and they even offer 3 and 5 day camps specifically for Adventure Racing.  I’ve never been to any of their courses, but I’ve heard good things.

One camp I can vouch for, however, is the High Profile Adventure Camp.  I’ve been to the camp twice, and I can’t recommend it highly enough – especially for beginners, but more experienced racers will benefit greatly as well.  At the 3-day camp, you get top-notch instruction on not only Orienteering, but on rappelling, climbing, paddling, race nutrition, and more.  At the end of the camp, you’ll have a chance to test your newly-acquired skills in either a 4-hour or 8-hour adventure race.  For roughly 200 bucks (which includes most meals and lodging), there isn’t a better bargain out there.

Rappelling at Adventure Racing Camp

High Profile Adventures can “show you the ropes.”

One final way to learn orienteering is to ask for help.  Find an adventure racing team near you, and simply ask if someone would be willing to help you with the basics (A good list of teams can be found at Checkpoint Tracker).  Most adventure racers are more than willing to share their knowledge with Newbies.  We here at Team Virtus have helped many of our fellow racers learn the basics of orienteering.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help.

Once you get the basics of orienteering down, then it’s just practice, practice, practice.  Will you be perfect?  No, of course not.  Even the best teams make navigational blunders.  It’s what makes Adventure Racing so unique.  You never know what’s going to happen out there.  But being adept with the map and compass will shift the odds in your favor.