Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Episode 13: Rogue Expeditions exploring Morocco, Patagonia and Ireland with Running Guide Sean Meehan

Episode 13: Rogue Expeditions with Sean Meehan
Available on most podcast apps, including: Apple Spotify Anchor Google
Running Expedition Group salute on rocky terrain!
Who knew that a small group of people with a vision could make such a big impact on running
exploration and discovery? Rogue Expeditions... only a few years old, has created an impressive
number of cultural learning oriented opportunities for runners through local running guides and
community focus. In this podcast we had to stick to a few of their most established ones, so we
discussed 1) it's premier and founding expedition location, Morocco- 2) as well as unique terrain of
Patagonia - and 3) Sean's home turf in Ireland. Our featured guest, guide Sean Meehan, has led
groups for several years, in his home country of Ireland but also across the globe. He spent
years creating running events in event management before finding Running Expeditions and helping
them get many new routes off the ground as a guide. He explains what goes into a typical running
"expedition", why it earns this name via what runners experience through contact with local
communities and supporting host families/family run businesses along the way. He also explains
their philosophy of minimal footprint and maximum cultural immersion, and the importance they
place on allowing "each runner to set their own challenges and go their own distance/pace they
feel comfortable" with on any given day while still experiencing the highlights of a group experience.  
Encouraging each other up a hill in Patagonia!
Sean has himself assisted in organizing hundreds of races in 25 different countries, and thus it
speaks volumes to Rogue Expeditions that he has now dedicated most of his time to them through
planning and guiding several trips each year. In addition to staff like himself in Ireland, all of the
expeditions rely heavily on local running experts as guides, who know the terrain and culture-
in terms of setting itineraries and knowing where to run and when to run in order to maximize
exposure to the culture and geography of a running expedition. In Patagonia, this means spending
time on boat to examine glaciers and meeting with scientists. In Morocco, this means camel caravans,
witnessing nomadic culture and staying overnight in traditional housing on the edge of the desert.
 In Ireland, this may mean connecting with Celtic culture and spirituality through the countryside
and visiting historical castles along with lesser known sites.
Whichever best sparks your imagination, I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy in this episode, and
maybe even inspire you to join on an expedition in the future! Please join us on this journey and many
others by liking our page on Facebook / following us on Instagram: @runninganthropologist

Group takes time to visit the Skoura Door in Morocco
Runners may be found crossing glaciers (Patagonia) or UP ancient ruins (Morocco)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Episode 12: The Palestine Marathon & Palestine Children's Relief Fund, Featuring founder George Zeidan and Team Palestine member Anwar Adas

Episode 12: The Palestine Marathon & PCRF is available on most Podcast Apps: Apple, Spotify, Anchor, Google
Start line at the 2018 Palestine Marathon

George Zeidan, founder of the Palestine Marathon is from Bethlehem and Anwar Adas, member of Team Palestine, is from Ramallah; They join us this week to discuss the Palestine Marathon and how their organizations contribute to sharing the joy of movement, spreading awareness of restrictions to that movement in Palestine and raising funds for local sports clubs, relief work and the Palestine Children Relief Fund. In this episode, we also hear from 2 running clubs back in the US dedicated to raising funds for PCRF, in Chicago and Atlanta (Arif Kazi).

George Zeidan is from modern Bethlehem, and first began distance running while taking part in varsity sports at the University of North Carolina. He was hooked after experiencing the US collegiate running community and when he returned home, he saw a tremendous opportunity to share this joy and "freedom of movement" with others in his home community. He found some international race organizing friends from to join him and create it's first official marathon, attracting over 600 runners in 2013, half international and half Palestinian. Above all, he sees this as a new way to attract attention to this part of the world, and let others see/meet real Palestinians.
George reminds us to "See running as a global sport, and something easy to do and essentially the same wherever you are." Partnered with his advocacy-oriented sister organization "Right to Movement Palestine", it has brought awareness to living conditions in the holy land and has been a platform to understand the severity of restrictions imposed on individuals' freedoms due to occupation. Relying on nine local (grassroots) mixed gender volunteer sports clubs, it has grown to nearly 5,000 runners last year! It has also changed the culture around running for women over time and hopes to inspire growth of women's sports in general. Some difficulties do exist and are not hidden from runners; when you run in Palestine, you pass checkpoints, the wall, the settlement , and the refugee camps. However, this is also the uniqueness of this race / human experience: runners will have a professional international marathon experience and at the same time experience the reality of living in this difficult corner of the globe. Link to Huffington Post Article about George's Marathon organizing challenges
Contact George:
Palestine Marathon 2020: OR Facebook Page

Anwar Adas with Team Palestine, "Active" Clubs training both indoors and outdoors

Our second featured guest, Anwar Abu Adas joins us from Ramallah, where he focuses most of his running time and energy on "Team Palestine for PCRF" (Palestine Children Relief Fund), which actually started with the support of runners in Chicago & provides much needed medical services / supplies to Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through volunteers and aid brought from across the globe. Team Palestine seeks to spreads knowledge about why this help is direly needed. As much as access to sports and healthy movement are basic necessities, he reminds us that good health of the younger generation is needed for both. In addition to it's fundraising goals for Palestine Relief, Team Palestine has a few other goals: First, spreading the culture of running among the Palestinian community through various weekly team activities, helping children create healthy environments and activities in their lives.
Team Palestine supporting the next generation of runners!
Second, preparing and training Palestinian runners with the opportunity to participate in bigger running events and even other international marathons, and third to encourage women's participation in sports at all levels, but especially building up to running.

Lastly, we are joined by PCRF fundraisers in local running clubs across the U.S., including Arif Kazi, who shares how important interfaith connections are in building understanding and why that's good for everyone in the the Atlanta running community. In Chicago and Atlanta, children in need are not only supported financially with funds from many major running events, but often flown in to receive specialized medical treatment from overseas, the Team Palestine community embraces them and above all hosts them in their home cities & makes them feel like family.
Team Palestine in Chicago (Ramallah, Atlanta, anywhere possible)  Visit Facebook Page
Atlanta Muslim Running Club: video  FB page
To learn about/support the PCRF cause: 

YOUTUBE video of 6th Annual Palestine Marathon Highlights

AMRC Group Walk/ Run
Indoor Training Night in one of many running clubs started across Palestine over the last 3-5 years!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Episode 11: "Run for the Border" with Alex Vernon, Immigration Law Professor on the US-Canada and US-Mexico border

Summer running is upon us! Congrats to Dads & Grads... Listen on :  Apple   Anchor   Spotify  
Kicking off our summer series of episodes on Social Justice, Faith and Running; please join us as we explore the dichotomy of the US's Northern and Southern border this week, with runner
and immigration law professor Alex Vernon.  Alex and his family live on the Canadian side of the border in Windsor, Ontario but he commutes each day to teach at University of Detroit Mercy's Law School. He describes his experience "on a living, breathing border", and what it is like to run on each side-- including the experience of the Detroit-Windsor International Marathon route.
However, much of the real learning for me in this episode occurs when he takes us on a journey with his students to the southern border with Mexico in the area along El Paso, on an Ignatian "Encuentro" (encounter). They spend time being educated about the lives of people in the border areas, both on the US and Mexican side, and Alex describes his own experience travelling the border by foot and what the physical geography is like. He provides a short synopsis of the current situation, how things look "on the ground" at the southern border, and why he and his students were surprised by what they witnessed when they arrived just a few weeks ago, for a week-long service learning trip.

Finally, Alex shares his insight into how and why running parallels his passion for social justice...

And about his work "running" an immigration law clinic to educate our future lawyers, lawmakers & judges, and of course serve newcomers to the US and Canada. In this episode, he expands our understanding of what the border is and experience compassion for our neighbors, perhaps even "putting ourselves in their shoes" for a few minutes. 
Links, from episode discussion:
Canada Jesuit Migration Network
Detroit-Windsor International Marathon
ISF Cross Country Running (international youth exchange)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Episode 10, Global Running Day Special: "The CRIM" with Joe Dimambro and An Introduction to our Short RunDocs Project with Meghan Lane-Holbert

HAPPY GLOBAL RUNNING DAY!       Listen to the 10th Episode on: Apple  Spotify  Anchor

From Hosts Mark and Meghan exploring the galaxy (Space Coast) & The Crim's Logo of Flint, MI
To celebrate our 10th Episode, we've created a podcast tribute to Flint, Michigan's CRIM Races, (Classic 10 Miler and much more) along with a short pre-introduction to our podcast by my often silent co-producer Meghan Lane-Holbert! We express our gratitude to the HAP CRIM Festival of Races and Fitness/Training Program for joining us for today's episode and agreeing to host our short running documentary coming up this August. The CRIM is not only the premier 10 miler and traditional “end of the summer race” for many in the Midwest, it’s also an institution showcasing the health and positivity of the Flint community, which refuses to be defined by news reports. Did I mention it also has a Michigan Mile, children fun runs, 5k, “Half Crim” 5 miler (providing a combo option for continuous Half Marathon) and health fest, where you’ll experience a community of people coming together of all backgrounds and ability levels?

--- Crim Training Groups---->The people of Flint rally around this yearly ritual to the tune of thousands in training programs for months in preparation, making it a truly year-round event. The crowds look like they too have been in preparation for their day of glory all summer long, turning out in droves to cheer on neighbors as well as runners from far afield (including a contingent of elite runners that have been a hallmark of the classic 10 miler from the beginning). A stone’s throw from Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Detroit, the Michigan Mile in Flint is an especially exciting addition on Friday night, as many of the Midwest’s incredible high school and college runners from the state turn up to try their hand prior to starting fall track and kicking off the scholastic/university running year as well.  Let’s just say it feels like the indy 500 for about 5 minutes in Flint, Michigan’s downtown archway… and that feeling continues into Saturday!

I’ll let the short running documentary speak for itself at the end of August, but until then... consider joining the cadre of volunteer, runners and community leaders turning out to this truly impressive event if you are able. The impact this running institution has on the community of Flint is no less than awesome! Thanks again to Joe Dimambro and everyone at HAP CRIM Festival of Races for allowing us to be a small part of it this year!  Hope to see you there... For Registration/Events or more info: CRIM LINK

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Episode 9: Peace Corps Running Stories Part 2- Brendon Hahns Thomas, Katie Long, Ashley Ndir & Heather Deverna

Episode 9: Peace Corps Running Stories Part 2-  Each Peace Corps story journey presents a unique 10-15 minute vignettes of exploration and service; running stories from rural rain forests to elite marathons, each Peace Corps volunteer takes us along and explains what it's like to be immersed in another culture, as both a PC volunteer and a runner. These inspiring stories showcase both what running brings to their host community, as well as what they brought back with them from these experiences! 

Brendon Hahns Thomas discusses training for the “Great Wall Marathon” in NW China, the challenges and joys of living near the Gobi desert.  He also touches on his continued work abroad, and particpating / fostering the start of local running groups in Thailand as well as Cambodia.  Brendon has had ongoing success in his trail and ultra running career, in part build with the fortitude of those long training runs in the Chinese plateu!

Cambodian Running Club discussed:
Further Thailand Running Resources:

Katie Long takes us to Central America, from Honduras to Panama, and explains how it led her to her current career and way of seeing the world.  She also explains Peace Corps Response, a short term service for PC returnees and a bit about how it worked.  
Katie in Honduras (left) with other PCV

Lastly, we follow two volunteers as they explain community & running culture; Ashley Ndir in West African country of Cameroon.
Ashley in Cameroon traditional dress w/ host

Ashley also discusses the empowerment of women and how re-framing sports to be part of their lives and have a profound impact.  She also talks about the rain forest and how it beckons to runners, which was a great means of retreat for her.
The race in Cameroon mentioned in the Podcast: "Race for Hope" or Course de l’espoir
For those in DC area, Ashley also recommends checkout:
Lastly, Heather Deverna spotlights the East African country of Rwanda, as we discover how a tumultuous past can sometimes bring communities together and find how the practice of sport weaves itself into individuals' daily lives and regeneration/ healing of people in surprising ways. Heather also talks about how sport allowed her to connect with youth in her community, and how close she became with that community in the process.  
Please like us on Facebook, and send your favorite runs or races to highlight on the podcast.  
Heather recently back to visit her community in Rwanda

To keep up with future podcasts, projects, episodes and post your own favorite cultural runs: @runninganthropologist.