Kevin Riley wrote -
Please help fight cancer by donating to Cancer Research Institute, Inc. Here's why:
I'm registered to run the Zion Ragnar Team Relay on April 24th and 25th. Over the weekend our team of four will run a combined 120 miles around Zion, UT. Immediately after I'll hop in my truck, Bird Dog, and drive 2,500 miles to Amherst, Massachusetts to compete in the 7 Sisters Trail Race, a short 14 mile race that zips over steep and strenuous trails littered with jagged basalt rocks. It sounds crazy. It probably is. But my parents are making me do it. Let me explain.
About a month ago I decided I wasn't going to participate in the 7 Sisters Trail Race. Sure I had trained for months and I was obsessed with racing alongside the 2014 winner, Ryan Woods. But, it was going to be too big a hassle to get out to Massachusetts from Denver and I could always run it next year. Instead, I committed to the Zion Ragnar Team Relay. A fun race, I'm sure, but it's not the 7 Sisters Trail Race I've had my eyes on.
Ever since that decision I've felt like a wet noodle. I felt like I let myself down. But I moved on. Then, last week while running up Mt. Elden in Flagstaff, AZ my mind wandered to a time when my parents were visiting me at UMASS - Amherst. We had an afternoon to kill, so we hiked the 7 Sisters Trail. My dad took his time hiking and made jokes about falling off the mountain. My mother walked briskly while talking about teaching Emily Dickinson to her 4th grade students in Troy, Michigan. It's one of my most fond memories with them.
The memory flooded my thoughts for the next half hour. That's when I knew I had to run the race. My parents would want me to run the race. I couldn't just brush it aside and tell myself I'd do it next year. Who knows? There might not be a next year. There could be a zombie apocolpyse. An astoroid could hit Earth. Cancer could unexpectadly take me, like it did my parents and so many other loved ones who were taken much too soon. So please join in celebrating the memory of Michael and Joan Riley - my biggest supporters - by giving to Cancer Research Institute.
The 7 Sisters Trail Race is an out-and-back roller coaster run along the ridge line of the Mt. Holyoke Range on a single-track trail, with numerous scenic overlooks of the Pioneer Valley. The course is extremely hilly with 3,700 feet of climb consisting of many steep hills, with hazardous footing in places due to the many sharp basalt rocks that comprise the elevated ridge of the Mt. Holyoke Range.