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Community 50-Miler

By Samantha Latos; For the Clock
On April 27, 2017

Community 50-Miler 

Samantha Latos

For the Clock

slatos@plymouth.edu 

On May 6th, Kurt Kauppinen, a senior here at Plymouth State University, will be running 50 miles to raise money for the Mayhew Program. He will be running the Northern Rail Trail in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He came up with the idea himself, and is determined to complete the whole run. All of the funds will be donated to the Mayhew Program, a non-profit organization that helps low-income and at-risk boys to face challenges, and learn valuable skills, in order to find success in life.

Kurt originally wanted to try something he has never done before, and then he considered creating a charitable run for a good cause. “I had the idea in my head for awhile, and I implemented it,” he said, “I’ve run a marathon before and I’ve run a shorter ultra-marathon before, so I wanted to set a new goal and accomplish it. I wanted to help people out while doing it.” Kurt had initially planned to run by himself, until he and Devon Jenney decided that he needed someone there with him. Devon, a senior as well, will be completing the 50 miles along with Kurt. He will be biking it, and will be readily available to help Kurt whenever he will need it during his 14 hours of running.

Devon will be monitoring Kurt over the course of the 50 miles. “I am running the support network for him”, he said, “I will be checking that he doesn’t drop from dehydration, and if he does, then he won’t have to wait for someone to pass by to rescue him”. Devon and Kurt will be communicating via walkie talkies, and Devon will be mindful to stay within radio proximity. He will be around 20 minutes ahead of Kurt at all times, ready to turn back with useful equipment and supplies. Devon will be available the whole time because 50 miles on a bike is significantly less exhausting than running. This run will be difficult and tedious and injuries are expected, yet unpredictable. “I’m going to have a standard med kit,” Devon said, “The injuries I’m anticipating having to deal with are sprains or strains, as well as fatigue or heat exhaustion. I’ll have ice packs, lots of water, and some ace bandages.” They are taking certain precautions to avoid these hazards.

Neither of them have been involved in a run of this caliber before. It will be a new and exciting, yet stressful experience. Kurt has been diligently training to prepare for it. He has mostly been running, yet he also does cross training, swimming, biking, rock climbing, and every once in a while, weightlifting. “I usually do six days of a combination of running and cross training, and then I take one full day off a week,” he said. He is mindful of avoiding overuse injuries, and so he prioritizes taking his days off. “I’ve been progressively running more and more,” he said, “I do one long run a week, from 15 to 20 miles. It v aries though, sometimes I do 30 or 40.” Ha ving been practicing since March, he is beginning to feel ready for the big day. Devon sees the importance of preparation as well. “Months of training are necessary for it,” he said, “Having the right equipment is very important as well, including a camel pack to store a couple of liters of water, as well as choosing the right kinds of foods and preparing your diet, are critical. You also have to remember the amount of willpower it takes.” A run this extensive requires months of preparation in order to stay safe and complete the entire course.

The most important part of this 50-mile run is benefitting the Mayhew Program as much as possible. It is a successful eight-year program, located in Bristol, NH. From working there, Kurt has seen the results himself. “I’m the coordinator of their outdoor program, so I can facilitate where the money goes to,” he said. As an Adventure Education major, he believes in the power of the great outdoors. The Mayhew Program first starts off with a two-year summer program, which they get assigned outreach workers. These outreach workers stay involved with the boys during the school year as well, not just during the summer. “They focus on teaching respect, responsibility, challenge and community,” Kurt said, “They’re making sure they’re getting through any adversity in their lives, and that they’re getting out and having fun.” Outreach workers want to see that the kids are utilizing the skills they learned. Once they graduate from this at the end of their second summer, they can go out on linkup trips. “They can either go mountain biking, canoeing, or backpacking, one week out of the summer for 4 summers,” Kurt said, “Still while having their outreach workers. They also have an extension program that follows them until the end of their high school careers.”

The Mayhew Program saves low-income and at-risk boys from following bad influencers that send them down the wrong path. “It gives boys who don’t have equal opportunities to people who are at better economic standpoints in life the chance to learn values,” Kurt said, “They learn how to challenge themselves and set goals, and how to work together, and how to find where they want to be in the community.” The boys also learn how to take care of themselves and each other, in a real-world setting. Especially during the linkup trips, they are on their own against the great outdoors. “They have to be responsible for their own actions,” Kurt said, “If they leave their boots outside of the tents at night, they’re going to get wet. What’s going to happen then is they have to wear wet boots the next day.” The boys have to learn from their actions, often the hard way. These experiences give them life skills that they may not find anywhere else.

Without the program, these boys may potentially fall under another the influence of drugs, or other harmful substances from their environments. “New Hampshire is in a kind of epidemic right now with opiate and heroin abuse,” Devon said, “A lot of it stems from the kids who never had good home lives or parents, and so they turned to drugs. Anything that can head off those kinds of tragedies is absolutely worth the effort it takes.” People are encouraged to donate to Kurt’s charity run, to benefit the lives of the children in the program. Any amount of money will go a long way, to a great cause. An easy way to make a donation is to visit Kurt Kauppinen’s Facebook page, where he has the URL. Or, the URL for donation can simply be found at https://www.youcaring.com/themayhewprogram-775335 

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