Archive for October, 2012

Polar Bear Marathon & Fundraiser

// October 9th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Events, Stress Donations

“What?!”  The first word I exclaimed when I received a message on Facebook from an ultra-distance-running stranger named Albert Martens.  Another one of those out -of- the- blue, crazy ideas that come along every so often either by phone, email, direct conversation, or now, FaceBook.
“I’d like to invite you to come up to Churchill, Manitoba to run a marathon on the edge of the Arctic.  We are calling it the Polar Bear Marathon because this is the polar bear capital of Canada, and we would like to run with the bears.  What do you think?”

In my mind I began typing – you are nuts… hope this is in summer… do polar bears hibernate?…I’ve never run a marathon… who will wear the seal suit?…maybe that is why I have been invited… wait, I don’t have to be the fastest – just not the slowest!
After further conversation, convinced of good support, reliable vehicles, and a small, slow group of runners, I have agreed to do this event and run my first marathon.  Running in the realm of the polar bear  (I suspect I have a good shot at a world record.)  Well, this is not just a fun run to sight see and avoid predation, this is a benefit for Athletes in Action and their commitment to helping the indigenous people of the far north.  I will be speaking at a fund-raising dinner after the run (provided I survive the run) and am thereby pledging to help Athletes in Action help others.

This is where you can help – please consider a donation to Athletes in Action to reach a group of people that you may never otherwise get to meet.  This isolated group of people, is served with donations of sports equipment, and various community events that let them know they are loved and not forgotten.

How to give?  What exactly?  Albert gives a brief description here:

Athletes in Action presents:


A Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada – on the edge of the Arctic in support of the Native (First Nations people of Canada’s North) ministry work of Athletes in Action Baseball camps.   Probably a once in a life time experience, an adventure (full) marathon to be run by about 20 extreme,  elite  runners on November 20th, 2012.

Every summer, Albert Martens, ultra- marathoner flies in (with a Turbo-Otter seaplane) with a team of 8 volunteer staff to remote and isolated First Nation communities to do sports camps.   For the past 8 years we have flown to Pauingassi, Tadoule Lake, Manitoba and Poplar Hill, Ontario to help the children and youth with baseball, bible classes, as well as serve the adults with Men’s Breakfasts, Ladies Teas, and other community events.   All work and expenses are covered by personal donations and volunteer staff.   Often our native people of our country’s North are isolated and forgotten.  We have the privilege to go to these communities and bring them love, gifts and hope as we serve them.

See website for more details of Albert Martens extreme running in support of other charities.


Eric Alexander, an amazing Athlete and Mountain climber, having climbed Mt. Everest, but not only that, escorted and helped a blind climber summit Everest.   See his website at

Eric will join us in running this Polar Bear Marathon in support of our Athletes in Action First Nation camp ministry.  I have invited him to join us as one of our Polar Marathon runners in Churchill as well as be our guest speaker at our Fund-Raising evening on the 22nd November in Winnipeg after the marathon.  You may make a donation to help this cause by issuing a cheque USA or CDN currency – payable to Athletes in Action and mail it either to Eric Alexander:

Mailing Address:
Higher Summits
Eric Alexander
PO Box 6102
Vail, Colorado 81658


Or to:
Albert Martens
408-2nd Street,
Steinbach, Manitoba
Canada R5G0V5
Albert Martens:
Tel. 204-346-1345

USA or CDN tax receipts will be issued to the donor.


A winter-adventure-charity marathon in support of the Athletes in Action (AIA) work done in the Sayisi Dene First Nations community of Tadoule Lake – 250 km west of Churchill. AIA has done baseball camps in 2 different First Nations communities for the past 8 years. This work is based on volunteers and donations.

Safety and Protection:

Due to the harsh environment, e.g. the weather conditions at this time of the year, we will run in either one or two tight groups of runners – We will need to stay together because of the possible presence of Polar Bears, foxes, wolves, etc. Vehicles will accompany us in front of and behind the group of runners for safety reasons & serve as a mobile Aid Station.

Athletes in Action (AIA) Canada is a ministry division of Power to Change that focuses on the domain of sport. Sport is the one language that knows no boundaries and sees no distinctions. It unites cultures, transcends values and defies convention. AIA is committed to using the language of sport to communicate the most powerful message of all: God’s passionate love for his children as communicated through his Son, Jesus Christ. It’s a story that’s changed our lives, given us purpose and hope. In Canada our work is a variety of ministries such as the Pro Ministry – Chaplains to the CFL (Canadian Professional Football League), sports camps and tours abroad with soccer, basketball, volleyball, and hockey teams. It is mentoring, training and educating Athletes, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our home base is in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

For more information see:

Churchill, Manitoba, Canada:

Called the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill is also known as Manitoba’s beluga whale watching hotspot and is a birder’s paradise. The approach of winter also makes Churchill one of the best places to experience the northern lights. October and November are the best months to see polar bears as they get prepared to move out on the newly formed ice in search of seals. Scientists from around the world have come to Churchill to study the northern lights in the active night sky – Churchill is one of the top three places on the planet to see the northern lights. Located on the edge of the Arctic, Churchill offers the feel of a frontier town with the amenities of an international tourist destination.

Thank you very much for your great support.

The White Rim

// October 4th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cycling, Reflections

Nearly twenty years ago I went on a three day off road/climbing adventure in Canyonlands Utah.  The trip was spectacular and all I could think about was coming back to do the trip on my mountain bike.  Well, last week I got the chance to make this 20 year old desire a reality when I finally biked the 100+ mile White Rim trail in a day.  One of the great joys of this day was to spend it with some good friends.  David Baker (of the Mountain Blind Man – he is not blind just in the business of blinds), Gil McCormick of Wheat Ridge Cyclery fame (largest bike dealer in Colorado) and Cole Bangert (National Downhill Mountain Bike Champ – who was there for a race so he drove support for us before his race – what a guy).

The fall weather was perfect and the recent rains had left the trail slightly more packed and a little less sandy than it would ordinarily be.  We began the day with a climb out of Mineral Bottom camp at 7:20 a.m. riding the loop in a clockwise direction.  There are arguments as to which way is the best way to do this ride and I can see the merits to both, my only suggestion would be to begin early, start with a climb, and bring tons o’ water.  One last word – Chamois Buttr.  While not super technically challenging I did find the grind of a long, rocky, sandy day of mountain biking to wear on my mind as well as my hind.


I think when we challenge ourselves with such endeavors and surround ourselves with good people that we can trust, we discover that we can go further, faster, and have more fun doing it than perhaps we thought possible.  At the end of the day we can feel good about ourselves for having invested in possibilities and having persevered to accomplish a life goal.