Gweneviere Mann Foundation

Marathon 15 in 50 of the #50in50: North Carolina (Wrightsville Beach)

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15 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon

  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas

  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon

  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon

  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis

  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity

  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon

  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon

  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon

  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

  • TEXAS 2/17/19: Austin marathon @austinmarathon

  • MASSACHUSETTS 2/24/19: Hyannis Marathon @hyannismarathon

  • SOUTH CAROLINA 3/2/19: Myrtle Beach marathon @runmbm

  • ARKANSAS 3/3/19: Little Rock marathon @lrmarathon

  • NORTH CAROLINA 3/9/19: Wrightsville Beach marathon @wbmarathon

On 3/9, I got up early in my Wilmington, NC hotel to ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon.

I parked at the finish line on the UNC-Willmington campus and took the race shuttle to the start line. The race start was 6:40am, which was an interesting choice. I ran with the 4:00 pace group. The weather was cool and crisp, and the temperature was 48. I stuck with the pace group until around mile 20, and then I needed to take a walking break for a couple of minutes to bring my heart rate down. The course is scenic with ocean views and fairly flat.

Our pacer was really consistent and dependable. I ended up finishing in 4:05, which I was satisfied with. I’ve been generally consistent with my time. I want to chip away until I get to my goal time at NYC marathon 2019. Here are my splits:

The finisher’s festival on the UNC was really well done with lots of food and drinks. Publix was the big sponsor. They brought out food in a big way for finishers and took care of them. The medals were really nice and colorful:

I flew back right after the race on Saturday night, which I was excited about because I would be sleeping in my own bed on a weekend night. I haven’t done that much of that in the last few months, because of all the traveling for races.

I got home just a little after 9pm, hung out with the cats, and went to bed soon after.

Next marathons/states on the schedule:

  • 3/17 GA (Atlanta)

  • 3/21 NM (Clayton)

  • 3/22 OK (Guymon)

  • 3/24 KS (Wichita)

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

Marathon 12 in 50 of the #50in50: Massachusetts (Hyannis Marathon)

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12 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon

  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas

  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon

  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon

  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis

  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity

  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon

  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon

  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon

  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

  • TEXAS 2/17/19: Austin marathon @austinmarathon

  • MASSACHUSETTS 2/24/19: Hyannis Marathon @hyannismarathon

I got up really early around 4am to get ready to run the Hyannis marathon. It’s a 4 hour drive from NYC.

My friend Barrett drove the way there and I slept most of the way.

When we got to Hyannis, it was raining, cold and windy. The Hyannis marathon is famous for its bad weather. Gweneviere ran the 10k last year. It was her last organized run that she did.

Because the weather was so bad this year, I thought about skipping the race and doing another Massachusetts race later in the year, but I knew how hard it was to put my schedule together, and changing anything on the 50 marathon schedule would throw everything off.

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I picked up my bib and then went to the start line. I wore my thick ski gloves to keep my hands warm and dry. I also wore a disposable rain parka. I needed them. I kept my nutrition under my cap. It was a very wet cold and windy run. The course itself was beautiful. I have run this marathon for 3 years straight. It’s always cold and sometimes wet. I kept a conservative 9:30 pace for most of the way. My Apple Watch failed again around the 3:49 mark. Here’s all the data I got out of it:

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And here are my splits:

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I am going to have to get my watch replaced. The watch is only 6 months old. I ended up finishing without major issues and in 4:21. I’m ok with that.

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I drove back while Barrett slept part of the way.

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Next marathons/states on the schedule:

  • 3/2 SC (Myrtle Beach)

  • 3/3 AR (Little Rock)

  • 3/9 NC (Wilmington)

  • 3/17 GA (Atlanta)

  • 3/21 NM (Clayton)

  • 3/22 OK (Guymon)

  • 3/24 KS (Wichita)

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

Marathon 11 in 50 of the #50in50: Texas (Austin Marathon)

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11 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon

  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas

  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon

  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon

  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis

  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity

  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon

  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon

  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon

  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

  • TEXAS 2/17/19: Austin marathon @austinmarathon

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I woke early at Erica and Greg’s Place in East Austin to run the Austin Marathon. Greg made me coffee and I made a hummus muffin sandwich, and a banana. The coffee did it’s thing pretty quickly.

Greg drove me to around 8th and I-35. I then walked to 2nd and Congress, where the start line was and near the pace group Ferd and I were running with. Ferd was staying at a Marriott hotel near the start. We met up with Aaron and Stephen Berry, my nephews. They also had a couple of other friends running, Hunter and Jason. Stephen had a knee injury, and was wearing a brace.

Ferd, Hunter and I went to Ferd’s room to use the bathroom one last time. We then got out and started running with the pace group. The mass start was very crowded, with all 11,000 marathon and half marathon runners starting at the same time. The race organizers should do a better job managing the amount of runners in their race. They should at least do wave starts. The field was way too crowded all the way until mile 8. This is also one of the races where the runners don’t get much direction from the racer organizers on how to seed themselves. I saw friends Shannon, Javier, Greg, Erica, Dan, Ines and Brad at multiple times throughout the race. It was great to see them.

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The weather was mostly good in the 50s with decent humidity up until around 9am. From 9am-11am it was a little warmer and humid. The course was a bit difficult with many steep inclines. There is also a very steep incline at mile 26.

Ferd and I finished at 4:14, not bad considering the hilly course and the temperature.

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Here are the splits:

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Stephen somehow managed to finish with Aaron in 4:50. Hunter finished in an amazing 3:11, wow. Jason finished after Aaron and Stephen.

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The best part of this race is the race medal which doubles as a Texas-sized belt buckle. I’ll wear it to work at some point.

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Overall this is a difficult race, with issues that can be fixed  like managing the start of the race to handle the amount of people.

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If people are going to do a Texas race, I don’t recommend Austin. I will be looking at Houston for next year, which I’ve heard great things about.

After the marathon, we all met at East Tavern for food and drinks. It was nice to be with everyone. We then went back to Erica and Greg’s to shower and relax.

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After a little bit of relaxing, I met up with some more friends for dinner. I saw Kaleb, April, their kids, Sam, Maggie (her birthday), Javier and Shannon at Lupe Tortilla.

Next marathons/states on the schedule:

  • 2/24 MA (Hyannis)

  • 3/2 SC (Myrtle Beach)

  • 3/3 AR (Little Rock)

  • 3/9 NC (Wilmington)

  • 3/17 GA (Atlanta)

  • 3/21 NM (Clayton)

  • 3/22 OK (Guymon)

  • 3/24 KS (Wichita)

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Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

Marathon 10 in 50 of the #50in50: Arizona (Mesa-Arizona Marathon)

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10 of 50 states in the #50in50 done:

  • NEW YORK 11/4/18: @nycmarathon
  • NEVADA 11/11/18: @runrocknroll Vegas
  • PENNSYLVANIA 11/18/18: @Philly_Marathon
  • WASHINGTON 11/25/18: @seattlemarathon
  • TENNESSEE 12/1/18: @stjude Memphis
  • ALABAMA 12/8/18: @irunrocketcity
  • FLORIDA 1/13/19: @rundisney #wdwmarathon
  • LOUISIANA 1/20/19: @thelamarathon
  • MISSISSIPPI 1/26/19: Mississippi blues Marathon
  • ARIZONA 2/9/19: Mesa-Phoenix Marathon @phxmarathon

I did some media the day before the marathon at Fox 10 in Phoenix. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk about Gweneviere and the foundation. 

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I woke up on race day at my Phoenix hotel really early at 4am.

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When I got out to the where runners were staged to jump onto buses to head to the start line, I waited in line for one for about 15 minutes. We then drove out for about 40 minutes up mountain.

When we got to the start line it was at a much higher elevation, cold and still dark outside. I was struck by the size of the cacti! They were also everywhere, just like in cartoons.

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The area was super quiet, too. The race had set up heating lamps and fire pits, and they also had a lot of Porto Potties. I was going to meet up with one of the local donors to run with me at a 4:00hr pace, but ge texted me to tell me that his car wouldn’t start so he wasn’t going to make it.

About a week before the race I had started to mentally get ready to break 4:00hr for the first time. I was excited about this race because it has a 1000 ft net elevation drop over the course. It’s incredibly fast with 26.8% of the field BQing.

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I decided to run with my Nike Vaporflys (instead of my Zoomflys). I also decide to run with only my Apple Watch (with cellular signal) and not my phone. I usually run with a small waist pack with my ID, insurance card, a credit card, a $20 bill, nutrition, and sometimes my phone. I actually forgot my waist pack, but it turned out to be a good thing. A couple marathons ago I realized that I preferred tucking my nutrition under my ball cap because when my hands get really cold I’m not able to open my waist pack zipper to get to them. One time a year ago at the 2018 Hyannis Marathon, I had to ask a volunteer to help me open my waist pack.

It was going to be a cold morning (34°F). I decided to wear my short sleeve #50in50 shirt, arm warmers and #50in50 cap.

I looked for the 4:00 hr pace group and found only 4:05 and 3:55. The race had decided cut 5 minutes off each pace group due to new BQ times. I went with 3:55 because of the characteristics of this really fast course. My PR before Mesa-Phoenix was 4:04 (NYC 2018). I had never, up until that point, run with a sub 4 pace group. The race started promptly at 6:30am with fireworks.

This was one of the rare races that I had run alone. I was a little emotional, because I knew I was going to run a sub 4 for the first time. I thought about Gweneviere and talked to her for a little bit. I wanted her to know at that moment that I was going to go to run that race for her.

It was a super fast start. Most people seeded themselves properly so there wasn’t a lot of dodging around slower runners. The start us a big descent. The view of the city below was pretty amazing. We were surrounded by desert mountains and big cacti. The start is pretty remote, with no spectators for the first couple of miles, so it was very quiet and peaceful. All I could hear were the pitter patters of thousands of feet. The first few miles flew by quickly. Our pacer, Farrah of East Valley Runners, kept us on track. Her pacing was perfect. My heart rate stayed in a range I was comfortable with, occasionally slightly higher on small inclines. The race had GU at miles 7, 13 and 19, so I brought a couple along with me under my cap.

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I have been taking nutrition every 4 miles, but I’m going to take more now. I feel like I need them every 4 miles until mile 20 (caffeine free), then at mile 21 and 23 (with or without caffeine depending on how I feel). I felt comfortable with that amount during the race. I don’t like taking caffeine generally because it sends my heart rate up higher than I like it during a race.

At the halfway point, Farrah handed pacing off to Gene, another member of East Valley Runners. Gene and I talked a bit about nutrition and Instant Pot recipes. I told her about how I make 2 gallons of almond yogurt in the Instant Pot with a recipe I developed after months of experimenting. She shared some of her recipes. At about the 17 mile mark, my watch started to give me a low battery (10%) warning. I was surprised, because I had kept my watch off until 5am (1.5hours before the start). For the next race, I will turn it on 10 minutes or so before the start. If it fails again, I will have to get it replaced because it’s only 4 months old and shouldn’t crash that early into a race. I told Gene about Gweneviere and why I’m running 50 marathons in 50 states in 1 year. She also shared some stories about friends and family.

About the 21 mile mark, I decided to take a 1 minute walking break. I needed it. I felt mostly ok, but my heart rate needed to come down. I took some nutrition and drank some extra fluids.

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I started up again and had to feel out my pace because I was flying blind without my watch. A couple of times (mile 23 and 24) I asked volunteers what the time was so that I could gauge my pace to see if I would make it under 4 hours, and it seemed like I was. I kept a steady pace and followed a few people that seemed to be at a 9min/mile pace. I ended up crossing the finish in 3:57:06, a new PR.

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After the race I thanked Farrah and Gene and visited their running group’s tent. Gene gave me a big hug.

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I said thank you to one of the sponsors of the race, Offerpad, and to Wendy Jacobson, Director of Operations for the marathon.

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The finish festival was amazing. Sprouts, the title sponsor, brought tons and tons of food. There was French Toast, fruit, chips, Creamies and more. They really took care of the runners. In terms of food, this finisher festival rivals the Louisiana Marathon festival in Baton Rouge. I was really thankful for all the delicious treats at the end of both of races.

I highly recommend the Mesa-Phoenix if you are looking for a super fast downhill course in the West, early in the year. You will likely PR and have a great time. They also have a nice finisher medal. Check them out for next year. 

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Next marathons on the schedule:

  • TX (Austin) 2/17
  • MA (Hyannis) 2/24
  • SC (Myrtle Beach) 3/2
  • AR (Little Rock) 3/3
  • NC (Wilmington) 3/9

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

-Yasir

 

 

Marathon 6 in 50 of the #50in50: Rocket City (Huntsville, AL)

On 12/8, I completed marathon #6 in my #50in50 goal (50 marathons, 50 states, 50 weeks) at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. We are gaining more awareness for our foundation and its mission.

I arrived early on 12/7 into Huntsville and headed over to the Huntsville Museum of Arts to pick up my packet.

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It was a small expo with a relaxed atmosphere and small town feel

I got my race bib, 1776, which I thought was kind of cool.

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The next morning I arrived at the race start, prepared to in cold and rainy conditions. I had an unused rain poncho from the Seattle Marathon from a couple of marathons ago. It came in handy this marathon.

Many of the runners waited inside the Von Braun Center, where the marathon starts and finishes, to stay out of the cold and rain.

Finally, at 7:00am on the dot, the race started. I thought about running a 4:04-4:05 marathon, but decided to run with the 4:15 group instead because of the weather. I didn’t want to wear myself out early and wanted to play it safe.

The course was pretty nice with some small rolling hills. The course winded by the US Space and Rocket Center where runners got to see several rockets and space vehicles. The biggest challenge was the weather. It was rainy and cold the entire time. It reminded me a bit of the Hyannis Marathon that I’ve run for the past 2 years. It takes place in Cape Cod, MA. It’s been cold and rainy for the 2 years that I’ve run it. I finished the race in 4:15 thanks to my pacer Katie.

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The post race food was great. They had bagel, PB&J, and soup.

The medals are really cool.

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I got my obligatory pic with the race’s signage.

After the race, I showered up then drove down to Birmingham to see my old co-workers/friends from my Mental Floss magazine days with Will, Cary and Winslow.

Will’s family took me to see Birmingham’s famous Vulcan statue.

We got a couple of pics with the statue.

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Here’s the view of Birmingham from the observation deck.

And a view from inside the informational exhibit next to statue.

Overall, I enjoyed the Rocket City Marathon and recommend if you are looking for a southern marathon in the December. It’s a nice small town marathon with easy, rolling hills.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • AL (Rocket City in Huntsville) 1/13

  • FL (Walt Disney in Orlando) 1/20

  • LA (Baton Rouge) 1/26

  • MS (Mississippi Blues in Jackson) 2/9

  • TX (Austin) 2/17

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD GWENEVIERE’S SONG

She was excited about releasing an album that she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

I ❤️ you Gwen.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for all of your friendship and love. This time last year, Gweneviere & I were at my friends Marina and Murat’s place (pic from then).

Today I’m back here, and with our cats Hunky and Miwee, thinking about the good times with Gweneviere. Today also marks 4 months since she passed. Tomorrow I fly out to Seattle to run the Seattle Marathon on 11/25, which also happens to be the 10th anniversary of Gweneviere’s craniotomy, or Craniversary as she called it, to remove a brain tumor. After that, she lived nearly 10 great years full of thriving, love and fulfillment and I’m lucky to have been her soulmate during that wonderful time in her life. She touched so many people, she lived so fully, and loved so deeply. I’m thankful for the life I had with her.

I ❤️ you so much Gweneviere

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

Download Gweneviere’s song

Gwen was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.

Marathon 2 in 50 of the #50in50

‪Marathon 2 in 50 (@runrocknroll Vegas) in my #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation done! This was a great course that starts at 4:30pm on the Las Vegas Strip, and ends on the strip. It was a 26.2 mile dance party with live music, lasers, vegas lights and A LOT of cheering Elvis impersonators.

I ❤️ you Gwen. ‬ 48 more states to go. Philadelphia Marathon tomorrow!‬ ‪

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • PA (Philadelphia) 11/18

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved.

***Please download Gweneviere’s song***

She was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.


Marathon 1 of 50 in the #50in50

Marathon 1 of 50 complete: New York City!

We are now on the road to 50 marathons in 50 states in 1 year.

This race was all for my love Gweneviere and to honor her memory through the Gweneviere Mann Foundation (gwenmann.org).

This year's run was a deeply emotional and meaningful experience. If you don't know the story, back in 2008 Gweneviere survived a brain tumor/had a craniotomy. The procedure caused her to have anterograde amnesia, but she was a fighter and continued to thrive through her music, writing, and running. After her surgery, we set a goal to run the 2010 NYC Marathon, and had run it every year (except for 2012 when it was canceled; we ran Harrisburg that year instead). She went onto graduate with honors from New York University writing program, attended The Juilliard School, and was due to start her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University this Fall. With every amazing accomplishment, Gweneviere inspired me to set new goals for myself whether it was serious (like learning how to swim so that I can complete 4 Ironmans) or not so serious (like winning championships in the Tour de Donut bicycle races).

I am humbled that the Gweneviere Mann Foundation received incredible press coverage on ESPN, CBS New York, ABC7NY, StoryCorps, Committed Podcast.

I met and was inspired by fellow NYC Marathon runners Nev Schulman, Tiki Barber, Teri Hatcher who were all running for great causes themselves.

Next marathons on the schedule:

  • NV (Las Vegas) 11/11

  • PA (Philadelphia) 11/18

  • WA (Seattle) 11/25

  • TN (Memphis) 12/1

  • AL (Huntsville) 12/8

Join me on the #50in50 for the Gweneviere Mann Foundation, with many ways to get involved: http://gwenmann.org/50in50

***Please download Gweneviere’s song***

She was excited about releasing an album she had just finished, but she passed before she could realize that dream, so we just recently released a single "What I Can Be" off of her album for her so that we could fulfill that dream for her. Download it here: https://www.gwenmann.org/music/

Together we will save lives through early detection programs for lung cancer and brain tumors.