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It's been an amazing Summer so far for Team Project Athena, our Athenaship Recipients, and our Fundraising Goddesses/Gods! Here are some updates:
*Athenaship Recipient, Kerrie Larsen-Kerkman, completed the Great Wall Marathon in China 5/09. Hand in hand, Kerrie (who suffers from a degenerative spinal disease and has a "spinal fusion" and 2 metal bars connecting her spine to her hips) and Team Project Athena's Melissa Cleary, crossed the finish line healthy and happy, right in the middle of the pack. They then proceeded to dance the night away, with Kerrie's husband noting that he "hadn't seen her so happy and so 'herself' in years". Exactly what we were shooting for! With her renewed confidence in her physical abilities and a strong desire to give back, Kerrie's next mission is to become one of our Fundraising Goddesses and do the Rim to Rim to Rim trek in the Grand Canyon with us Sept 30-Oct 4!
*Team Project Athena's Florence Debout and Robyn Benincasa won their division (and took 3rd overall behind a 2 man and 4 man team) in the 1038 mile Race Across the West (a road cycling race from Oceanside, Ca to Taos, NM) June 17-20. Between us, we rode non-stop for 2 days 20 hours and one long minute, with our crew plotting the route and providing endless love and cool beverages. :). The most epic experience for me was riding through Monument Valley at sunrise, with the wild horses running alongside me on a nice downhill high plains slope. Unforgettable. The race directors want us to try the Race Across America next year, but we're going to have to discuss that with certain body parts. :)
*Team Project Athena Fundraising Goddesses, Rebekah, Anne and Jenny completed the adventure of a lifetime in June, breaking the record for the fastest time to summit all 40 of North Carolinas 6,000 foot (and higher) peaks. Here is their race report:
"6 days, 13 hours, and 31 minutes. Then it was over as quickly as it had began. Through rain and amidst lightening, surviving a bear coming into our shelter and hearing a wild boar's roar, and to witness evidence of mountain lions sharing the trail with us. . . these were some of the easier obstacles to overcome. But overcome we did. On foot for more 361 trail miles by GPS (add 5-10% for real miles), standing on top of 42 (40 official) peaks over 6000 ft tall, and climbing in excess of 50,000 feet of vertical climb, we reached the final summit hand in hand. The "Pride" of 2009 could not be stopped. It wasn't easy. But we worked as a team and realized our goal. Thanks to all who contributed to this effort! Other women will now be enabled to strive to achieve their own goals.
Note: See http://extremeultrarunning.com and follow the links for more details and lots of photos! "
*Our next Project Athena missions:
--Aug 23-25, Team Project Athena's Melissa Cleary and Louise Cooper will be competing in the Gore Tex Trans Rockies Ultramarathon, covering 125 miles in the Rocky Mountains (many passes over 12k) in 6 days. www.transrockies-run
--Sept 30-Oct 4th, 20 Project Athena Fundraising Gods/Goddesses, along with Team Project Athena, will tackle the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim trek. On Oct 1, we will trek the 24 miles from the South Rim to the North Rim, and on Oct 2, we'll hike 22 miles back (slightly shorter trail)! Then off for some well deserved R and R for a night in Sedona. We're even bringing a pro photographer, Joshua Lieberman (www.thetaoofphotography), along to make sure you get some sweet hi rez photos. This event has been very popular among the awesome men and women who are coming out of the woodwork to help raise money for the Project Athena Foundation, so we'll be doing it all again in May 2010, for any of you who'd like to consider coming out to play!
--April 2010 we are launching the Project Athena Racing Series, with two races in 2010 and 3-5 in 2011. The series will consist of a 15k Project Athena Goddess/God Road Race, followed by an "AthenaGirlz Adventure Challenge", in which teams of 2-6 women will participate in a 2-3 hour off road team adventure together, all on foot and with fun teambuilding challenges along the way. Survivors will race for free (mini Athenaships), and the theme will be "bring your girlfriends, leave your watch at home". Its all about the journey, and the joy of simply getting outside with your pals. We're also planning a "mini Athena and mini Zeus kids challenge" to finish off the day. An all-around family event, with a cool festival atmosphere. We're psyched!
Thanks for your ongoing love, support, and good juju as always. We couldn't be more thrilled with the response to Project Athena, and this is just the beginning. It really feels like we're doing something joyful and meaningful and life affirming here. Such a gift to be a part of it, and to have all of you with us every day in spirit!
Minister of Dreams, Project Athena