Friday, February 15, 2013

Runs for Relief: New Hampshire??

Happy 2013 everyone!  2012 was quite a year; Runs for Relief: Rhode Island was a huge and humbling undertaking that taught us many lessons, you all showed fantastic support along the way, and we even managed to raise some money and awareness for the National Psoriasis Foundation!  We felt then, and we still feel now, that this first run was only the beginning to an ongoing tradition of ambitious runs and the ultimate, more ambitious goal of finding better treatments for psoriasis.  The rest of 2012 was filled with significant life changes for Jon and myself; Jon moved to Leadville, CO where he has been going for epic mountain runs and brewing masterful espresso drinks at City on a Hill, and I moved to Seneca Rocks, WV to teach at the Seneca Rocks Climbing School.  Running never left our lives, but our lives did become too complicated to put on another RFR event - until now!

The constantly mobile and ever-transient Runs for Relief office landed back in northern New Hampshire in mid-December for another beautiful winter season in the White Mountains.  In between my work as the winter naturalist guide for the AMC's Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center, the small-statured but undoubtedly alpine summits of the Whites have kept me busy with long days on the trails.  And in all my driving/hiking/running, I came to the conclusion that this would be a perfect location for the Runs for Relief event philosophy: pick a U.S. state, run across it via whatever route inspires the most, spread knowledge about psoriasis and the National Psoriasis Foundation along the way.  So if all planning goes well, and Jon can find a cheap flight to the northeast, we will run west-to-east across the very middle of New Hampshire in late March.  This is our first proposed route, which clocks in at 73 miles, summits Mt. Moosilauke, and traverses the entire Kancamagus Highway:

Stay tuned over the next few days as we concrete plans and re-open our donation site through the National Psoriasis Foundation.  Keep runnin, friends!

-- Robert Rives

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lost in the Pines: A North South Trail Tale

Well, maybe that was a misleading title.  There certainly is a tale to tell, but it has already been well-told and well-illustrated by Jon over at his blog.  I encourage you to read his whole report to get a sense of how much more sizeable this endeavor became when we actually got out onto the trail.  Many lessons were learned over the course of our NST thru-run, and cathartic moments shared the stage with dull, grinding ones.  Here is a choppy and informal summary:

February 27th, 2012.  We woke up at 3:45 AM.  Game faces were donned, final gear prep performed, and we drove away from the hotel forty-five minutes later.  Directions to the trailhead were left at the hotel.  We zigged and zagged, eventually finding a place where the North South trail crossed a road.  This turned out to be the wrong trailhead, but we found the actual start of the NST and the Mass border at 6:12 AM.  From there, we ran south relentlessly, working around IT band injuries and hip flexor weakness, dodging rocks that grew to boulders, falling into (un)graceful barrel-rolls over ice and roots, bleeding without noticing, dodging traffic sometimes, gazing around open-mouthed in search of the next turquoise blaze, enjoying amazing crew support at approximately nine road crossings, not speaking when we felt awful, cracking bad jokes when we felt great, losing patience with ourselves, gaining it back, taking wrong turns, backtracking, running through the most technical trail section at night with a single light, shrinking our universe to a five-foot radius, shivering when we stopped, sweating as we cranked up the pace, losing all spatial sense in a vast agricultural field, passing over dozens of bog bridges, consuming large quantities of Ensure, Twix bars and various forms of caffeine, watching a starry night sky be consumed and then regurgitated by drifts of threatening clouds, and finally dipping our feet into the Atlantic Ocean at the NST's southern terminus, 19 hours and 38 minutes later.

We owe an awful lot to our faithful crew, who seemed to have an infinite supply of anything we ever needed!  Also, we would like to thank the National Psoriasis Foundation for collaborating with us on this first run (hopefully on many more!), and for setting up a donation site for the Runs for Relief project.  Speaking of donations, THANK YOU to all those who donated fiscally to our cause of finding a psoriasis cure!  You guys are serious rock stars!  Also, many thanks to the fine folks over at Spira Footwear for hooking us up with the snazzy Stinger XLT for the Rhode Island run.

Both Jon and I have large life changes coming up within the next month, so we're still waiting to see how things settle out and when we'll be able to do another Run for Relief together.  Stay tuned though, and again, thank you all for your support!

-- Robert Rives, 3/7/2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Restless in Rhode Island

Excitement!  Suspense!  The thrill of...waiting!  Over here at the Runs for Relief office (located at a mystery, hidden location somewhere between western North Carolina and the cold reaches of northern New Hampshire) we are making final preparations and generally bouncing around in excitement for our inaugural effort, three days from now!  Early on Monday morning, Jon and myself will begin running from the Mass/Rhode Island border, following the North South trail for ~78 miles to the coast, weaving along the western edge of Rhode Island.  We are not entirely sure what to expect, but we do know that we will have trail surfaces ranging from rocky singletrack to stretches of flat road running.  Throughout the day on Monday, our extremely gracious (read: dedicated and crazy) crew will be posting updates to our brand new Twitter account, so feel free to drop in and see how we're doing!  It promises to be a wild day for us, and a potentially entertaining day for you!

If you have not yet made a donation to the National Psoriasis Association in support of our efforts and wish to do so, you can visit our donation site here.  Combining online donations with physical ones, we have raised over $300 so far!  To all of you who have supported us thus far, in all ways, we thank you so much, and your support will be a large part of our mental fuel on Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  We'll see you on the other side, ready to roll.

-- Robert Rives, 2/24/212

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Upping the Ante: A Rhode Island Reroute

    You know that feeling when you are excited about something, and then that something changes a bit and gets way more exciting?  
     Well... That just happened.

    It came to our attention that there is a trail, the North-South Trail, that spans the length of Rhode Island, extending from the North to South (I think thats where they came up with the name).  After having our attention seized by this tidbit, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Runner 1: I like to run on trails.
Runner 2: I don't like to have traffic and Mack Trucks whizzing by me for ten consecutive hours.
Runner 1: Yeah,  it is 77 miles as opposed to 52, though...
Runner 2:  I like to run on trails.

     And the deed was done.  

      February 27th, we will take off from the Massachusetts border to run the 77 mile trail (~13 hours?) across Rhode Island, ending with a Polar Plunge into the Atlantic!

     Wow.  This is going to be an incredible experience!  We appreciate all of the love and support we've received from the National Psoriasis Foundation and all of you   guys!  Can't thank you enough!  Once we iron out the logistics, you will be the first to know!

    19 more days!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Countdown Begins And A Website!

     Ladies and gents, we are now less than a month away from Runs For Relief: Rhode Island.  Now, some of you may be thinking that Rhode Island is a small and seemingly insignificant state, but let me take this space to fill you in on 5 cool facts about Rhode Island:

1.  The Flying Horse Carousel, the nation's oldest carousel, is located in Rhode Island.
2.  In 1774 Rhode Island was host to the nation's first circus.
3.  Providence was home to George M. Cohan- the writer of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "You're A Grand Old Flag"!
4.  The world's largest bug is located on the roof of New England Pest Control in Providence.  It is a big blue termite, 58 feet long.
5.  The highest point in the state is a whopping 812 feet above sea level.

    Wow, just typing that stuff gets me all riled up!  

     Only 26 days to go!

     Now, without further ado...  our website!

The folks at the National Psoriasis Foundation did a great job of helping us set this up, we can't thank them enough for their support, but we will try!  Some very helpful ways that you can support the project are "liking" us on facebook, following our blog, making a donation, or just telling us what you think of the project, if you please, and if you don't please, your moral support  and kind words are always welcomed!
   Here is a link to the website:  http://walk.psoriasis.org/goto/runsforrelief

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rhode Island - Proposed Route

Alright friends, here is an overall view of our proposed route for the February 27th Run for Relief across Rhode Island.  Being such a small state, we wanted to choose a path that was both long enough to keep us out for a day and also to include as much of the state's variety as possible.  The result?  Lighthouses, ocean-side running, and a direct line through Providence.  Should be a good day on the road!

This route clocks in at almost exactly 52 miles, but might be lengthened upon closer examination of our path through the Providence area.  We are extremely excited about this run and many more to come.  Stay tuned for more as we get our act together and prepare for this initial adventure.  Thanks for looking!

-- Robert Rives, January 13th 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Hello all!  Welcome to Runs for Relief, a brand-new project that aims to do the following:
  • Raise awareness of Psoriasis, a chronic skin and arthritic condition that affects nearly 3% of the entire population of our planet.
  • Raise funds for foundations that support psoriasis-related research, such as the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IPFA) and the National Psoriasis Foundation here in the U.S.A.
  • Accomplish these goals while tackling all-day adventure runs across various U.S. states!
Starting small, the first of these runs will take place in Rhode Island on February 27th.  With the support of the National Psoriasis Foundation, we hope to wear their logo and serve as ambassadors on behalf of the organization as we complete this 50-60 mile run in one day.

This project is currently being spearheaded by two alumni of UNC-Asheville, Jon Harrison and Rob Rives.  We are two of the nearly 7.5 million Americans who suffer from various types of psoriasis.  It is our aim to inspire, both those afflicted and un-afflicted by psoriasis, and show that much can be accomplished despite the effects of this disease.  Support for this project in any way is greatly appreciated, and we would love for you to join us on our runs!  More information to come soon.  In the meantime, here are some links to websites dedicated to psoriasis research:


And, you can contact us at runsforrelief@gmail.com

-- Robert Rives, January 11th, 2012