Molly Deddens via Crowdrise
September 07, 2012
Brian Hetzel wrote -
6 days in the Rocky Mountains
120 miles on foot
23,000 feet of elevation change
We get this question a lot, especially from our close friends. Why would anyone want to willingly run over some of the roughest terrain the United States has to offer, up and down 23,000 feet, covering 120 miles over six days? It’s a valid question, I guess, as most who hear of our plan think we are a little off for even considering it. However, Spencer and I always come back to the nagging truth; we want to run the race because we can.
You see, each of us have been to the edge of life and taken a look over the other side. We know what life can throw at you, how difficult it can be, and yet we somehow made it this far. Unfortunately, other people have not been as fortunate.
Jen, Hayley and Michaela had so much to live for, were such unbelievable human beings, yet their lives were taken away for no reason at all. That’s something Spencer and I can’t shake. How could these beautiful, amazing women not get the chance to show the world just what they were capable of?
It’s not fair.
And so, we run for Jen, Hayley and Michaela because we can. It’s really as simple as that. We want to show the world what these women stood for, what they lived their lives doing, and to simply spread the word of the Petit Family Foundation.
It is going to take us close to a full year to get ready for the 2012 Transrockies Run. We have a rough idea of what the preparation will look like, although having trained for multiple marathons over the last two years is a big bonus. Being that this is a stage race, we will be running an average of 20 miles a day. Therefore, a slow progression of mileage over the next 10 months, with a focus on only the Transrockies will be crucial.
This is going to take a better part of the year to train for, including various trips to training destinations that have significant altitude levels. We will be confronting 23,000 feet of elevation change, so entering the race prepared for such an environment will be crucial. A trip to Arizona in the spring is already on the drawing board, with a few more for Brian in the works. Living at sea level is a limitation, but there are various ways at getting around it. All of them, however, make for fantastic writing material. You can keep up to date with both Spencer and Brian's trials and tribulations at the official Petit Family Foundation Running Team blog:
This will be the major focus of our run, and one that we hope will draw a large amount of donors. Brian has fundraised for the majority of his races in previous years, and managed a few significant figures. With more time and a larger target, we believe there is no ceiling on what we can raise. Of course, we are engaging you all during a time of economic crisis. However, we believe if we cast our net wide enough, get the word out there about the Petit Family Foundation, what the girls lived for, we will be able to draw on a large amount of small donations. We are also hopeful that a few larger donations will be mixed in, as well, so don't be shy :)
As with all of the other Petit Running Team projects, we are utilizing Crowdrise. This will allow us to take our efforts to entities such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. in the hopes of starting a true viral campaign. Also, Crowdrise uses the same infrastructure as the Petit Family Foundation, which is the Network for Good. Very little is taken off the top of each donation, usually a nominal fee for operation costs.
Bottom line: we are setting a fundraising goal of $15,000 through November. An ambitious number, for sure, but there is a reason. You see, the two perpetrators who broke into Dr. Petit's house, who killed his two daughters and his wife, wanted $15,000. They forced Jennifer to go to the bank and withdraw the money, knowing her family was being held captive at home. She did so with grace and courage, knowing what was at stake.
$15,000, to us, is more than just a fundraising goal. That figure carries so much behind it, so much tragedy and heartache. We want to do our part to help turn the tide. The money may have been taken out of hatred, but it will be given back through kindness, generosity and love.
We are committed to continuing on the legacy that Bill, Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela spent their lives building. The Petit Family Foundation is one we strongly feel the world needs to hear more about. It is our hope that our own personal triumphs over life’s many difficult obstacles will fuel us to cover the 120 miles up and over the Rocky Mountains, Being the Change every step of the way. We don’t see this as a grueling test, a line to cross off on our must-do lists. Simply, we see it as an honor – we have been afforded the ability to carry the flag for others who are no longer able to do so.
We run because we can.
Brian Hetzel and Spencer Newell
For more information about the Petit Family and the Petit Family Foundation, please visit: