If you’ve never been here before, this is Operation Jack, something I created in honor of my severely autistic son Jack. Back in 2008, I decided I wanted to fight autism, because Jack fights autism and that wasn’t his decision, and I had this dream that I could make the world a better place. Kind of simple and naive, but whatever. It’s nicer that way, right?
My initial plan was to run 60 marathons in a single year, and I did that in 2010 (well, it actually ended up being 61 — who likes round numbers?) to raise money and awareness. I never had a plan and aside from offering shirts and sweatshirts to donors, I never really asked for money. It just came in, which was awesome. Close to $90,000 came in and the endeavor only cost maybe $25,000? From there, we created the Operation Jack Marathon, and this year we’ll be having the fifth-annual running of the race!
In all, the Operation Jack Autism Foundation has grossed more than $240,000 through the Operation Jack Marathon, other races I’ve put on and my running efforts. I’ve never earned a nickel, and aside from the times when I’ve offered incentives or contests (gift cards, shirts, etc.), I’ve never really asked for a nickel.
But now, I’m trying something different. I’m running the 2014 Boston Marathon and raising money for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. And for a guy whose efforts have brought in a lot of money for autism-related charities over the years, I sure don’t know how to raise money or ask for it! I’m totally on board with what this foundation does — they raise money for organizations that work to improve the lives of those impacted by autism. That’s what I try to do, plus as a guy whose life will end up being defined by his son’s autism, I know first-hand that people need the help. (Read this, for starters.)
So I’m trying something here, and for the first time in five years, I’ll say to anybody who’s followed along and appreciated the effort I’ve put forth trying to raise money and awareness to fight autism.
This is the one time I’m really directly asking, would you please consider supporting my efforts with a donation?
But I’m not asking for a straight-up donation. I mean, if you want to, fine. But for me, I’m just not used to doing that, and I don’t know that I can cold-call like that right now. So here’s the deal:
Next weekend, I’m running a race in Oklahoma called the All Day Run For Autism. It’s a race that will primarily benefit a local organization there called 4RKids that helps promote awareness and provide opportunities for special needs children and adults in the area. My foundation will also be a beneficiary, which means that some of the proceeds will go to help a small autism organization somewhere that needs the help. But individually, I’m running the race to raise money for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation For Autism.
The race is a six-mile loop and timed loops start every 90 minutes. Make it back in time, and you can participate on the next loop. So, I’m figuring I’ll probably go and a moderate effort, finish the first loop in 51-53 minutes, and then wait around for 37 or so minutes for the next loop. And then repeat. The race goes for 30 hours. I don’t anticipate having any problems completing the first few loops. But after a while, it’s going to get tough.
Here’s some things to know about my abilities and fitness:
- I’ve never covered more than 54 miles on foot, and that was back in 2010 when I was in shape
- I’ve run two other 50-milers, one of them last year, although I was out of shape and just kind of persevered in that race last year. I finished sixth-to-last!
- I’ve had one run of 16 miles or more since September 9. I’m running again, but I certainly haven’t done much lately.
In the past, I might have had confidence in what I’d be able to accomplish in this race in Oklahoma, but now, I just have confidence that I’m going to try my best.
Here’s the deal I’m offering with the hopes that you’ll make a pledge to the Flutie Foundation based on my efforts:
I’m ordering new Operation Jack tech shirts. Here’s the design that’s going to be on them:
If you pledge a minimum of 50 cents/mile for every mile I cover, I’ll send you one. So, say I cover four laps, which would be a pretty good workout for me, and that’s all I have in me? $12. If I cover nine laps and match the longest distance I’ve ever covered, even when I was in very good shape? $27. In theory, I could complete the entire race and cover 120 miles and that would be $60, but I’m pretty sure I’d die before that happened. That would be more than twice as far as I’ve ever gone and I’m definitely not in shape for this!
So like I said earlier, if you’ve followed along over the years and appreciate the effort I’ve put forth, then will you please consider making a pledge? I’m asking for what I imagine will be a $15-$20 donation and I’ll be sending you a tech shirt in return. Yes? Please? My honest assessment of what I think I’ll cover is probably 36 or 42 miles.
To make a pledge, drop me a line at email@example.com and I’ll follow up with you after the race to let you know how many miles I ran. Donations can also be made by clicking here. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!