Sunday, January 17, 2021

Episode 54: Life According to Grandma, featuring Jan Dennis

 Episode 54 is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Anchor and Apple...

3 Generations: G-ma (Jan Dennis), her daughter Paula and granddaughter (my sister) Kelsey


This episode is all about G-ma, our family nickname for my late grandmother, Jan Dennis. The interview featured here took place over a year ago, and I actually spoke with her several times about her life stories and running to make it- with many bloopers throughout the process (on me). I remember as a teenager I oohed and ahhed over the crates full of race t-shirts she had accumulated, forming a colorful patchwork of training years and adventures with friends and family over the years. Each t-shirt had a story, which she could recall at a moment's notice, and probably tell you the youth and adult contenders and their stories too! Many of those years in her adult life were marked by training for and traveling to races, and then cheering for the next generation at cross country and track meets. She adopted all of us and encouraged/followed us as if we were her own children, even married-to grandchildren like myself. In this interview, we also discuss what it was like to grow up on a farm and memories of the great depression, and a bit about being a woman in sports and college life shortly after WWII. 

Holidays were always large affairs, squeezing as many of us as possible into Gma's living & sleeping spaces.

Aside from the running though, G-ma was a lifelong endurance athlete: raising 5 children of her own and managing and early-rising bakery, as well as a builder of community and family. She had a knack for knowing everything about each of us, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. As I finished college and started my own career (and completed my first marathon in Detroit International), I recall how I began to recognize her abundant wisdom in dedicating so much time to these few commitments, but making them truly quality ones; Her purpose in life was easy to see as she invested in each of us continually. And I would say it paid off. Speaking for myself, I always felt like I had someone in my corner, and someplace I could escape to if I just needed a break from the hectic world of striving and being tested. Here I was unconditionally accepted (and teased, and taught to remember to laugh at myself). This is probably the greatest skill and lesson I have learned from my "Dennis extended family": if you can laugh at yourself and your mistakes (not take myself and my goals too seriously, which I naturally do), you'll not only have much less stress, but also no one can surprise you by revealing your foolishness and foibles- you already know them! I try to do the same in my life now, not over-extending but asking myself daily what I truly value and committing the lion's share of my time to that. 

Perhaps this is the best testament to G-ma: All of her grandchildren and great grandchildren adore her and I daresay even listen to her (actions more than words), venerating her "ancient" values of honesty, hard work and keeping commitments. I saw this in small ways that spoke loudly: when she/grandpa would drive hours to attend one of my important races or games throughout high school and college, or more recently make it to my wedding in her later years despite not driving (thanks to my uncle), as she suffered from macular degeneration. She also showed us true resilience and strength when my grandfather passed suddenly in the late 90s, rallying and connecting even more with extended family and friends. She was a member of "The Red Hat Society", and loved to share life in big and small ways with others. This also led her to take countless trips to national parks and historic places on bus trips with friends after my grandfather passed away, as she just loved learning and sharing journeys with others. Her faith life was also simple: full of fellowship and concern for others but never preaching. She would never criticize or rest in things of the past when you admitted some avoidable blunder to her or demonstrated bad judgement, she just let you know you could do better and nudged you to re-think it next time: Experience is the best teacher. Bumps in the road were always just that, signposts along the route to improvement. I know her love will be carried on by all of us in the future roads we travel, and for me her spirit will carry on as a gentle voice of encouragement and stable compass in this often confusing and unpredictable world. I couldn't be happier to share this interview with you, and would love to hear more stories about everything and from everyone - please feel free to leave some in the COMMENTS section below! www.runninganthropologist.com

Me with nephew and G-ma, recent visit "up north"

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW TO SHARE MORE ABOUT G-MA, WILL POST A LINK WHEN AVAILABLE TO ONLINE SERVICES:

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Episode 53: Conscious Running in 2021, with Functional Movement/Performance Specialist LISAH HAMILTON

 Happy New Year!  Episode 53 is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Apple, Spotify and Anchor!

Lisah after a recent race, with her father back on the island of St. Croix

Lisah Hamilton is interested in helping us be more conscious of our movements and mental approach to running, as well as how we see ourselves. Her perspective on gives us insight into the emerging culture of conscious running, and is yet another example of the incredible diversity of that serves to make our distance running community better: holistic and more sustainable. 

Among others, she also sees some promise and opportunity arising from our Covid-changed world, and what we as runners have/have not been able to do during this past year. It might be a time of reorientation and being conscious of our training, our routines. In our first episode of 2021, she talks about how she sees the culture of running changing to be more inward-looking, and what we can do to join this process. 

She has been helping runners for 20 years as "The Conscious Runner", to recondition and re-frame, prevent injury and meet individual goals- but mostly empowering others to fully enjoy movement and running again! She herself has been a competitive distance runner for over 25 years, and working in the field of functional movement / performance specialist. 

Finally, Lisah offers the perspective of "an outsider" as a competitive swimmer from her beginnings, who came to the mainland US from the Virgin Islands, of St. Croix at 18 years of age. Her alternative perspective on body-mind-spirit connectivity thus give us insight as well, and adds to endurance athletics more knowledge of our movement and overall health. She also knows there is much more to be done, and wants to make us a part of it, thus she provides some training for free around these methods (or options to have more in-depth 1:1 services at a cost).  Please find her at www.consciousrunner.com and reach out with any questions about her practice!

Lisah at Chasing the Unicorn Marathon


Please subscribe and share with others!  You can also leave us a message here in the blog comments, or via our Instagram/Facebook page, @RunningAnthropolgist

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Episode 52: Light Emerges from Darkness, and Our 2020 Run-Down

Episode 52 can be heard on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Apple and Anchor!
Mark and Meghan, in Monorail transit with daughter in Disney Running Volunteer Gear

In our last episode of 2020, we look for the light of hope just around the next bend, amidst great suffering and a year of global reckoning with the pandemic… none of us are immune and we all need an outlet. This has given the outdoor/trail and distance running community a unique perspective, if not a bitter-sweet boost. Today, Meghan and Mark discuss the theme of “emerging light from darkness” (winter solstice) across cultural traditions from around the globe, and throughout history, in the first half of the episode. In the second half of the episode, we interview Fr./Brother Anthony Aarons, a Franciscan by training and dedicated distance runner, who hails from Jamaica and applies his unique insight to his job as a chaplain. We ask him about where his drive and wisdom arise from, and to share some of his go-to sources of inspiration when encountering trials. For example, he posts Bob Marley songs at Thanksgiving and had this to say recently in his Advent message (a season of preparation for Christmas): "Advent is here! One of our Advent hymns reminds us: The Lord will come and not be slow, His footsteps cannot err. This is a good message not only for us runners (as) during Advent we want to make sure that our footsteps do not err and that we keep on the right path. Let us not procrastinate..."
Fr. Anthony Aarons, pictured after his most recent Sunday Long Run
At the Running Anthropologist project and in our 2020 recap specifically, we try to take a reflective look at the cultures and peoples representing the diversity of our human experience, and then hone in on running and what these practices mean to us. Many of us have faced ourselves with a more sobering clarity in 2020, forced to slow down and look deeply at all our practices, often isolated from a community of support- we’ve learned much and have much to learn! We begin by considering ancient Egypt and the Nile River valley, and move to practices in the near east, Persia and Jewish practices such as Yalda and Hanukkah. We then examine the role of light festivals in pushing away darkness or leading us to a good cause, such as remarkably similar Laternfests in Germany and China, which arose completely separately from one another. Lastly, we talk about Diwali on the Indian subcontinent, and the role of a guiding light or "the light of the world" coming to join humanity in our Christmas celebrations prevalent in the West.


Diwali Festival of Lights, National Geographic short:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap0XD2XckLo 
Hanukkah Festival of Lights, National Geographic short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXA6TdTdAKk Franciscan Friars Christmas, Documentary Film with Carols: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptGw9G_iSus
While only a tiny fraction of our communal knowledge, we share our “Top of 2020” from Running Anthropologist by category -- Audio Book: "Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisenstein; Print Book: “Epic Runs of the World” by Lonely Planet (again!); App: Insight Timer (world’s largest free meditation app -- search “Lane Holbert” under teachers to find a few of ours produced this year); Races: X-country Marathon, Half Marathon and Ultra (Alafia State Park, Florida), the Publix Atlanta Marathon (Georgia), and the Princess Challenge weekend at Walt Disney World (Meghan). 
Links to all these can be found on our website, we received no sponsorship or advertising credit for anything, just things we liked and we relied upon in 2020. If you have a favorite you'd like to share out that you've found especially helpful, please do so on our Facebook page @RunningAnthropologist, or write a message in the comments here! 
Credit for info sources in the podcast: "The Long Night" by Elizabeth Dias, New York Times Sunday Edition, December 20, 2020 ;  Jewish Virtual Library, "Jewish Holidays: Chanukah", https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hannukah 
Ancient Egyptian Religion, https://www.ancient.eu/Egyptian_Religion/
One of his most-prized moments, Fr. Anthony Meeting current Pope Francis (aside from everyday service as Chaplain of Catholic Charities)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Episode 51: Beth Evans, On Wheelchair Racing & The Magic of it All!

Episode 51 can be heard on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Apple and Anchor!
Above: Beth arrives at another victory, Disney confetti greeting as she crosses the tape. Beth is from London, it is hard to race a wheelchair around most streets and even harder during Covid. But she has some wins behind her, and some inspiration in sharing the sport with the next generation. In a few short years, she has made a name for herself in the "most magical of racing locations", that of Disney destination races. For her, it is the entire package and gives her a reason to keep training, something to look forward to around the next bend... Speaking of which, there are many bends on a track when one is training for distance events like the marathon and half marathon, which she has been doing the past year.
Beth shares some of her perspectives on why the sport is growing and so important to people with disabilities and rare diseases like her own that prevent her from running or doing most other sports competitively. She tells the story of her own start, and how others encouraged and inspired her, starting with witness the London 2012 Paralympics which inspired me to get my first racing wheelchair. For Beth, the terms "running", "racing" and "wheeling/wheelchair racing" are interchangeable as she connects with and understands the challenges everyone faces in training for and completing a long distance endurance event. One of her greatest hopes is that she'll be able to help spread awareness and open up events for more young racers on wheels, including smaller and regional races that might not have thought it possible. She consults with many back in Britain and appreciates the opportunity to help, even in small ways.
Above: Showing off recent multiple victories at a Run Disney Weekend She also recalls one of her highlights of being medaled at Buckingham Palace in the interview, as she was born and raised in London. At the age of 16 she started experiencing health problems, and 3 years later was diagnosed with the rare condition of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Since she received her first racing chair, she has faced many struggles with training and anxiety around competitions, but has found her niche and now races all over her home country, but mostly participates in "Run Disney" events. In fact, she has now won half marathon titles in 3 different countries and currently has 16 champion titles at Disney alone. A trip down photo lane reveals more medals than can be held up on one neck at a given time! Most of all, she asserts, "I like to share what I have learnt on Instagram at BethsWheels to help new wheelchair racers get in to the sport at an amateur level... and spreading the joy of running at Disney!"
------Outside Buckingham Palace in her home town of London, with other Champs------ Follow her on Instagram @BethsWheels and find out simple ways to support newcomers to the sport! To support us, you can also subscribe, share the episodes you love and like/visit our Facebook page @RunningAnthropologist

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Episode 50: Running Challenges & Multi-Day Relays, featuring Rush Darwish & RRR Team

This episode is available wherever podcasts are heard, including on apps such as Google, Spotify, Anchor and Apple! Click here to Support the Running Refugees Relay
This episode features the Chairman and Co-Founder of The Refugee Life Foundation Rush Darwish (pictured above), who shares with us how and why The Refugee Life Foundation started, and the Running Refugees Relays shortly thereafter to fill a great need. Rush's calling: "he works to help disenfranchised children from war-torn countries gain access to free medical care. Over the years, he has helped to raise over a million dollars for needy children through the formation of various fundraising efforts focused on 5K races and marathons." He is a natural leader for this cause and serves on the Board of Directors of AMVOTE PAC, an organization dedicated to promoting voter registration, voter information and voter empowerment. Rush is an avid runner, marathoner, and Iron Man Triathlon Finisher, and works especially hard to support refugee families. He hopes to expand the relays to be unique events that partner social justice, advocacy and help of our most vulnerable people in the world. Team celebrates just after completing a marathon each, on Nov.4th: From upper left: Mark, Randa, Steffi Vogel, Alex Vernon, Jorge Garcia, Moody Elbarasi and Matt/Eila.
This episode also featured four of the runners on our Relay team, Matt and Eila Buszco who ran/walked their miles in the mountains of Vietnam, where they do grassroots work supporting local farmers markets and independent farmers. They share their experience in Vietnam and why refugees and other people in movement are important to them. Second, Andrew Frey ran both Running Anthropologist's monthlong "5K A DAY" challenge and the final weekend of the Running Refugees Relay, which finished the challenge just before our US elections. Andrew is a british marathoner who came to the US as a Fulbrighter and stayed with his family to be an infectious disease researcher at the University of South Florida. He shares some of his thoughts on the international refugee crisis and why he joined, as well as differences between a traditional marathon and a 262 mile team relay! Finally, Kristy Powell Wynn joins us to talk about her Runners World Running Streak of just over 170 days, shooting to break 200 before 2020. Kristy is an inspiring member of the running community and shares her experiences in several challenges, running from her home town of Atlanta, GA- and why she believes in this particular cause. She offers some words of wisdom for others setting out on long distance challenges! Pictured Below: Kristy (top), Eila and Matt (middle), Andrew Frey (with son Ryker) finishing their miles in the RRR...
The 5k a Day remembrance gave us a chance to honor those who have passed in 2020, as suggetsed by members of our Running Anthropologist community. These included health care workers and teachers who passed from Covid, along with pastors and distaster relief workers, those who serve the elderly and children, as well as those who serve others in addiction counseling/recovery work. Lastly, we included several individuals (representing many) who died for no good reason whatsoever from police violence or racial profiling in the United States. Finally, our final weekend we took up the Running Refugees Relay to finish with a 262 mile journey across Florida. Due to Covid and travel concerns many ran virtually, but about half of us did our miles on the ground in Flordia, and started on the coast in Tampa Bay, Florida- journeying northeast to our other coast near St. Augustine. We are grateful to all who have supported this fantastic cause, and encourage you to learn more at www.runningrefugees.com. We will post more updates about upcoming teams and relays in the spring on our facebook page @runninganthropologist! Until then, Happy Running!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Episode 49: Running Refugees Relay across Florida

Running Refugees Relay episode is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Anchor and Apple! Support the Running Refugees Relay
Over this long weekend which includes All Saints/All Souls and Dia de Los Muertos remembrance, a group of 10 runners are traversing 262 miles across Florida for those who cannot, and to remember those we've lost in 2020- their joy and spirit to share with the world. The Refugee Life Foundation started the Running Refugee Relays to build awareness and support those in difficult life-threatening circumstances across the globe. Our small group ran and walked (some on the ground in Florida and some virtually) from St.Pete to north of St.Augustine, across Ocala National Forest, backcountry roads and coastal beaches! Below: Running Anthropologist host Mark Lane-Holbert kicking off the run on the West Coast of Florida, running between St. Petersburg Beach and Clearwater Beach.
In this episode we feature 4 of those runners: Alex Vernon (a US Immigration Attourney and human/civil rights activist), Moody Elbarasi (an UNESCO Cultural Ambassador and Chef), Steffi Kauss (an immigrant herself from Germany, and in-house distance relay expert!), and Kristy Powell Wynn (an all around amazing runner who eats miles for breakfast, and is including this challenge as part of her running streak of over 160 days in a row!) PICTURED BELOW: 1st- Moody lost in the Florida swampland, 2nd- Alex and his son in front of their Windsor home leaving for some miles, 3rd- Kristy in the middle of the challenge, and 4th- Steffi doing some spooky miles on Halloween Saturday, about half-way point for the team.
In Episode 50 we will also feature some board members from the organization, along with more runners from our team AFTER the challenge is completed to get some 2020 vision in hindsight. Thank you for joining and supporing our cause, please check out the website at www.runningrefugees.com and our fundraiser for them at https://bit.ly/31X1T7g And "especially for all those who are not free to move", share their cause with as many as possible!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

5K A DAY Dedication to Those We've Lost too soon in 2020

Beginning on Sat. Oct.3rd until Nov.3rd we will be running a "5k a day" for 30 days, each one dedicated to the memory of someone we've lost too soon in 2020- would like your help in adding folks and joining us!

 Started by USF Running Club Folks and members of the
Linguistics and Education Department at USF in Tampa, FL

 What? It's a dedicated walk/run of contemplation: part prayer/meditation, part intention of listening to what these individuals' lives offer to teach us, how we might embody change as a running community. 

Creator Mark Lane-Holbert: "I realize this is A VERY SMALL thing, felt we just needed something to grasp onto, to do, during this divergent and traumatic season."

Do you know someone? Below is our list thus far, far too many of our teachers and health care workers who contracted Covid and passed in the line of service, along with a few (representing many) Black Americans who we've lost for no good reason whatsoever. 

Please add ideas of anyone to remember (and why): You can comment here or DM us @runninganthropologist on our Facebook and Instagram, under the "5K A Day" post.

And most importantly, anyone that would like to join us run/walking in any way for any day, you're more than welcome! 
How to complete: Any time, from anywhere, walk or run.  
How to sign up: Just add your name and who you are dedicating that day's 5K to, in comments here or on our Facebook page. If you send us your email, we'll also send you back a virtual bib to print and wear, so you can write something upon it to remind you and others of your dedication.