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SATURDAY FEB 13, 2021

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Today’s guest post is written by Mark Dyer, a seven-time marathon runner who plans to run the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) in support of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Welcome to the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon), Mark!

Why I chose the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) to launch “The Sandy Hook Foundation”

By Mark Dyer

I am a 4 year veteran of the marathon! In the last 4yrs I have ran 7 marathons and after my 2nd marathon I fell in love with the sport! My running career started with the 2009 P. F. Chang’s here in Phoenix. I have run that event for the last 4 years since starting running marathons. I have also ran San Diego, Portland and Chicago. This year I decided that I would not run P. F. Chang’s again. I have run that event 4yrs in a row and I’m ready for a change, I just didn’t know where I would find it.

I really want my BQ (Boston Qualifier). I’ve applied some great training principles and my time has really improved since my last marathon, January 2012. In December, I put my running to the test and ran the 15k Hot Chocolate run on 12/9. I knew the 9.32 mile course was going to be short enough for me to test out this new speed I was working on.

I really liked that event. It was a small venue and the 15k part of it only had 2.423 finishers. Of those I finished 69th overall, and 4th in my division!!! All of my training paid off. I ran negative splits the whole way and exceeded my finish time goal by 5sec. a mile!!! I ran that event with a 7:14 average mile!!! I had the race of my running career. If I can repeat that over a marathon, I just earned my BQ!!!:-)

The following Friday, 12-14-12, life for me would be changed forever. The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre took place and this truly impacted me. I have 3 kids, 2 of which are in elementary school, the other in high school. The thought of something like that happening to my kids is truly devastating.

On Tuesday, December 18th, I received an email from getsetusa.com. For those who do not know, they email you out the listing of all local race events. Normally I breeze through it and think nothing more. That day, the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) was posted so I decided to check it out. Without knowing why, this event SPOKE TO ME!!! I was truly moved by the video displayed on the website. For me, the video “Sealed-the-deal”!!! After looking over the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) and the video, I felt this event would offer me some great views, a nice downward slope and be the PERFECT opportunity to finally earn my BQ!!! I really enjoyed the smaller event idea, while still offering the same big event amenities!!!

During my 12 mile run on Saturday December 22nd, and it’s always those later miles where the best thoughts seem to arrive, my mind started putting together my unease about the Sandy Hook tragedy and the calling the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) had on me. From that conversation I had with the universe the idea of making a difference was born.

With that, I have started the Sandy Hook Foundation. The goal is to raise money and help create an after-school program called “Healthy Minds through Healthy Bodies” with the theme of foundation being “26 miles for 26 lives”. I believe that healthy minds, though exercise and healthy bodies will greatly contribute to the mindset of our kids and prevent tragedies like this from happening again!! To launch my foundation, I will be running the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) in support of those 26 people who lost their life on 12-14-12. You can learn more at www.thesandyhookfoundation.org.

I chose the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon) to launch my foundation because I like that they really take care of their runners…the mostly downhill part is a nice BONUS!!!:-) If you haven’t already, sign up today and introduce yourself to me on race day! Together, let’s make a difference and earn our BQ at the same time!!:-) I plan to repeat my Hot Chocolate performance during the Sprouts Mesa Marathon (formerly known as the Sprouts Mesa Phoenix Marathon). If you need someone to pace, and can keep up, let’s run this together!!!:-)

See you at the starting line!

Mark Dyer

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