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The 24-Hour Fight Against Hunger: Getting After It For a Good Cause

Fleet Feet Sports’ Third Annual 24-Hour Fight Against Hunger is rapidly approaching. If you are looking for a fun challenge, want to hang out with friends, or want to meet some new people, this is a great opportunity to support a great cause. We’re raising money for the Regional Food Bank, an organization that has been helping to feed the hungry in Northeastern New York communities since 1982. It collects large donations from the food industry and distributes over 30 million pounds of food to 1000 charitable agencies in 23 counties during the course of a year. You can be proud to be part of these efforts and Fleet Feet Sports is humbled and gratified by the support that you have shown in the past. It looks like the support this year will be greater than ever.

We will be taking it to the streets on a 1-mile loop course around Fleet Feet Albany from 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13, to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 14. The weather looks like it will be great –– highs in the mid-50s on Friday and just slightly cooler on Saturday. There will be some clouds, but no rain is predicted. As in past years, a 20-dollar donation is all that is required to participate in the event. You can sign up at the store, register and pay when you arrive at the event, or donate online.

While you can run as much or as little as you like, there will be special events throughout the 24 hours to add to the excitement.

Are you a high school runner? On Friday at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday at 9:00 a.m. we will be giving away high school goodie bags while supplies last. In addition to free goodie bags for high school students, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on Friday and 9:00-11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, for every lap that a high school student runs, he or she will receive a free raffle ticket to put in a drawing for a complete Nike outfit – top and bottom – valued at over 300 dollars. A big shout-out to Nike for sponsoring the “high school” hours and contributing Nike outfits for one lucky high school male and female. During the morning high school run, in addition to pancakes, there is a strong rumor that Nike will be bringing their waffle iron – yes, FREE WAFFLES! (I have been assured that this is not the original waffle iron that Bill Bowerman used to make the first Nike waffle outsoles.)

On Friday night at 6:30 p.m., we invite you to take a break from running to watch McFarland, USA (2015). This film, based (sort of, kind of) on a true story, reveals the heartwarming tale of the McFarland, California, cross country team’s surprising drive to the state title in 1987. Kevin Costner stars as coach Jim White, who, with little experience coaching cross country, managed to lead the sons of former migrant workers to the state title. Although the film plays fast and loose with some facts –– White had not been fired from his previous coaching jobs, it took eight years for the team to win the state title, and the Whites had a third daughter –– White did really transform a group of scrawny kids into confident and accomplished champions. Once McFarland won its first title, it turned into a cross country powerhouse, amassing twenty-four state titles between 1987 and 2013. Moreover, the movie did accurately capture the relationship between running success and hard farm work. McFarland’s students started their school day working in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley and ended the day with long distance runs. Grit from difficult situations can contribute to running success. 

No less an authority than Craig Virgin –– the only American male to win the World Cross Country Championships (he accomplished this feat in 1980 and 1981) –– was quick to praise the film for identifying the correlation between back-breaking farm work and cross country success. Virgin grew up in the agricultural town of Lebanon, Illinois, and spent his formative years tending to crops and cattle on a farm. Work-wise his childhood was remarkably similar to the runners featured in McFarland, USA –– very early hours; difficult, repetitive labor; and extreme conditions. Kids in McFarland picked mounds of almonds and cultivated lettuce, among other tasks. Virgin baled hay in 90-degree heat for four to eight hours at a time. In both cases, physical and mental toughness was the result. In an Outside Magazine article about McFarland, USA, Virgin explained, “when compared to his normal chores, ‘a hard track workout for one to two hours didn’t seem so bad.’” ( The lesson here is that big challenges and some adversity can improve your running. (We have a big challenge planned and a big incentive to go with it…check out the final paragraph!)

After high schoolers pick up their goodie bags and watch McFarland, USA, more fun awaits. If you are a member of a running club, you are encouraged to join with your club members for a group run –– 9:00 p.m. to midnight. Hang out with your club, do some running, and enjoy the NUUN bar! From midnight to 2:00 a.m. the running should get wild. During these two hours, outfit yourself in your most visible finery. We’re calling these two hours “Midnight Lights.” We’re not just talking about putting on a headlamp, we’re talking about decking yourself out in Christmas tree lights. Running in the dark has never been so much fun! 

Like this, only more festive!

If you can’t make it for the lights, or need some motivation to do some additional laps, be sure to be running between 2:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m. For each mile you’ll get a free raffle ticket and every hour we’ll be raffling off a Gore jacket! You can also receive a free raffle ticket from midnight to 2:00 a.m. for an Addaday massage roller raffle. Try saying “roller raffle” ten times fast.

After another morning movie screening for the high schoolers and anyone else who is an early bird, we’ll shift our attention to the younger set. Bring your running stroller and your little ones for a group run beginning at 10:00 a.m.

At 1:00 p.m. we will be celebrating the one year anniversary of the Fleet Feet Running Club. This will be a great time to renew or join the club! And stay around, because beginning at 2:00 p.m. the raffle drawings begin. May your tickets win you a gift certificate for your new favorite restaurant, that awesome outfit from Saucony or Asics that you have had your eye on, or that critical piece of recovery gear. Make sure that you have enough tickets in the right fishbowl to win. And remember, all the money that you spend on raffle tickets goes to The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

Some Members of the FFRC

Finally, that big, hard challenge I suggested you might want to tackle? If you run 50 kilometers (31 miles) during the course of this year’s 24-hour event, your caricature will go up on the wall at Fleet Feet Albany. Your status as a running legend will be forever confirmed with a picture of your face that exaggerates your features. This will be a great time to introduce yourself to ultra running in a supportive, non-stressful environment. There will be plenty of carbs, beverages, and running buddies to help you take on the 50K challenge. So, get inspired by the runners of McFarland High School and the workers and volunteers at The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Challenge yourself and your friends and family to run, walk, and have fun for a great cause. We hope to see you on Friday and Saturday. For more on the Food Bank’s mission, visit their website: For more on Fleet Feet’s 24 Hour Fight Against Hunger:

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