My small bit for the cause

Most days, I head for the great outdoors to get a workout and a few endorphins.
But every once in a while, it’s my turn to help others enjoy the outdoors. Sometimes, that means I take my sons hiking or camping. Today, it was about helping kids I didn’t know.

Kids learn the basics of paddling around a pond. Elsewhere at the camp, other kids rode mountain bikes and climbed rock walls.

I spent four hours volunteering at an adventure day camp in Lawrence, Indiana, about 20 minutes from my home.

About 100 kids showed up and had fun mountain biking, canoeing, swimming, climbing rock walls, navigating, and just running through the woods and fields.
My job was to shepherd the Blue Group from activity to activity, and make sure no one got lost or hurt. It was fun to help the kids paddle around a pond and run up and down hills.

This boy enjoyed catching frogs as much as paddling a canoe.

There was another benefit for me: It satisfied a requirement for volunteer duty the The Big Race, which is now less than a month away. All participants must do at least three hours of volunteer work.

A few days ago, I posted a notice on the Indiana Trail Runners bulletin board, asking if any trail groups needed my help. I was glad to ear from Brian Holzhausen, head of DINO, a group that organizes loads of trail races, mountain bike races and other off-road stuff. He said he could use a hand today.

The side panel of DINO's big yellow truck spells out the group's mission -- one which nearly every outdoors lover in Indiana heartily approves. (DINO is short for "Do INdiana Off-Road.)

I’ve run in plenty of DINO’s trail races over the years. They always do a first-rate job marking the course, manning aid stations, providing an accurate finish time. And overall, they are great at promoting off-road sports in Indiana, so what’s not to love about them?

So this was my little bit for the cause.

On Sunday morning, I going to get back to my training.

I’m planning to step back a bit, and do a two-hour trail run, after three weeks in a row of tough, long training runs.

 Next weekend, I’ll return to the long, long stuff, with a four-hour run.


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