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Do It Now: The North Face Endurance Challenge

Where was your last family reunion? 

At a park with grannie’s potato salad and Uncle Ray’s grilled hot dogs? That can be great and all, but it’s time to make a change.

The North Face Endurance Challenge is a two-day trail running festival in six locations throughout North America, hosting events for everyone in the family to choose from: kids’ run, 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon relay, marathon, 50K and 50 mile. The adult races offer challenging yet scenic vistas from the hills of Wisconsin, to the technical surface of New York’s Bear Mountain to the steep climbs and descents of California’s Marin Headlands.

These events are touted as well-organized and incredibly memorable by Linda Quirk, founder of Runwell, and her family, who came from all corners of the country to participate in TNF Endurance Challenge Utah. Quirk, always a fitness enthusiast, who even in her 60s is competing in ultramarathons, feels TNF does a great job promoting a healthy lifestyle for the whole family, at any age. 

Jason Bennett and Jeff Tollefson, Quirk’s son and nephew respectively, both 41, were among the family members participating in Utah.  

“Our family was brought together through a healthy, common goal that required involvement, preparation, and participation from everyone,” says Tollefson, who challenged himself in the 50-miler. “Putting my own person back into a healthy body and state of mind after many years of inactivity was a tremendous experience and an immense challenge which would have not happened without the support from my family. To be able to share that goal with my wife and son and also my extended family was something very special.”

The Karno Kids’ Race is free for all kids 12 and under. And what could be better than Dean Karnazes leading your kids on a 1K course through the wilderness? Oh, maybe that he will be joined by notable kids’ favorites including Cinderella, SpongeBob SquarePants, Buzz Lightyear and Elmo, just to name a few.

“What you permit, you promote!  And if you live a sedentary lifestyle, your kids take note,” says Bennett. “Something that I don't think we can ever be accused of is not being active.  Through Runwell, and events like TNF, active families can spend an entire weekend participating in events, raising money for charities, and bonding on a level that cannot be achieved with a television in the room.”

The Quirk family members bonded by overcoming personal obstacles in their respective endeavors, says Bennett, “and every accomplishment is celebrated, from the one-mile kids’ run finishers to the 50-mile finishers, and even non finishers. We all left with respect for the mountain and the trails yet untouched by our feet. Return is imminent!”

“Family time is about creating positive experiences that last through generations. We define our families through these experiences and memories we create and pass down to our children,” Tollefson says. “Participating in active lifestyle events like TNF Endurance Challenges allow families to work towards a common goal in which every member is supported, congratulated, and left with a profound sense of accomplishment. The event itself lends the opportunity for families to take a step away from their daily lives, be together, and engage in quality conversation that everyone can be interested in.”

He also added, “There is also a lot of smiling…especially close to the finish line.”

If you’re looking to get outdoors with your family, check out the list of TNF Endurance Challenges below and rally the family. And don’t give up. Even better, consider raising money together to support addiction treatment, so those struggling with addiction can have a chance to live a healthy life with their own families.

TNF Endurance Challenge in Washington DC on April 18, 2015

TNF Endurance Challenge in New York on May 2, 2015

TNF Endurance Challenge in Canada on July 18, 2015

TNF Endurance Challenge in Utah on September 26, 2015

TNF Endurance Challenge in Wisconsin on October 3, 2015

TNF Endurance Challenge in California on December 5, 2015

Can't make one of the above TNF Endurance Challenges but still want to get involved? Runwell would love to have you! 

Get involved or donate!

About Runwell

Runwell, the Linda Quirk Foundation is a movement; people coming together to provide accessibility of resources to those needing recovery from addiction and mental illness, helping people live healthy, fulfilling lives. We believe partnering sports with addiction treatment helps to keep individuals, and their support bases, committed to recovery. Runwell awards grants to fund existing scholarship programs and support-based training programs that offer effective treatment, empowering those affected by addiction to choose recovery and begin healing. Runwell is committed to engaging families and communities in the recovery process, believing that addiction is seldom won alone.

Learn more about Runwell, the Linda Quirk Foundation

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