Marathoner runs 78 miles to raise awareness for Partners with Youth

April 2, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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Near the end of last year, Taku Kusakabe — director of community and program development at the Coal Creek YMCA — approached Newcastle resident and marathon runner Thomas Tan and asked if Tan would be interested in helping raise money for YMCA’s annual Partners with Youth Campaign.

The campaign is run independently at each YMCA and provides scholarships to children who otherwise could not afford to pay for tuition, childcare, camps and other types of activities. Funds raised go back to the communities from which they were donated.

Tan agreed to help, so he was assigned to the community outreach division of the Coal Creek branch’s campaign and he was given a fundraising goal of $5,000.

To raise awareness for the campaign and encourage donations, he decided to run to all 12 YMCA branches in the state.

The run was 78 miles, and Tan completed the journey between Feb. 26 and 28. He ran 17 miles the first day, from the Dale Turner YMCA in Shoreline to downtown Seattle. He ran 26 miles the second day, from West Seattle to Auburn. Finally, he ran 35 miles the third day, from Bothell down to Newcastle, and then back up to Sammamish, where he concluded his trip.

Newcastle marathon runner Thomas Tan (second from right) poses with staff members at the Dale Turner YMCA in Shoreline before starting the first day of his 78-mile run to each YMCA branch in the state. Contributed

At the end of the first day, there was a blood drive under way at the downtown Seattle branch, so Tan also decided to donate blood, which he had never done before.

“After I donated the blood, the nurse said don’t do any strenuous exercises for the next 12 hours,” Tan said, adding that he decided not to mention the fact that he had a marathon-length run planned for the following day.

The blood donation ultimately forced him to start the second day of the run three hours late because of fatigue.

Unexpected changes struck during the third day as well, as a trail closure forced Tan to run through the Microsoft campus in Redmond and faulty directions from a person in Issaquah sent him several miles in the wrong direction.

Donations poured in after the run, and Tan’s division has raised $4,908. Donations will be accepted through April 6.

“It’s just a really terrific program,” Tan said about Partners with Youth, adding that it is unique because it directly benefits the local community.

“It’s about the future and the well-being of our community and our children,” he said.

Kusakabe and Tan said they hope to hold the run to raise awareness for Partners with Youth again next year, and Tan said he hopes to bring other runners with him.

Michele Petitti, director of development for the Coal Creek YMCA, said Tan’s run was his own way of raising awareness for the annual campaign.

“It was pretty amazing what he did,” she said.

Totals

  • Partners with Youth Campaign: $252,000
  • Community outreach of Partners with Youth: $4,908
  • Call the Coal Creek YMCA at 282-1500 for information about how to donate through April 6.
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