Distance runs in the open Wyoming air have always helped Justin Kinner clear his head. He’s said that long runs have served as his “idea factory.”
A recent run spawned his upcoming fundraising idea: a 24-hour run to support those working the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
On Saturday he established a GoFundMe page for his “Casper Frontline 24-Hour Run.” He surpassed $1,000 in the fundraiser’s first day, and on Monday he announced a partnership with Cory Poulos of Occasions by Cory to support Feed The Front Line, a donation-based cause that feeds hospital workers and first responders. It’s a cause close to Kinner’s heart, as two of his sisters work in the medical field — including one who serves as a nurse at Wyoming Medical Center.
“It makes it a little bit more real,” he said. “Having that in your backyard, and with all your concerns, brings it a little closer to home. And I’m not a person to just go knock on doors to raise money, so I can’t really think of a better cause to justify the effort.”
Kinner’s plan, as he’s kept a watchful eye on the weather, is to start running at 7:30 a.m. Friday and go through 7:30 a.m. Saturday. He’s planning on making his route a 10-mile loop that runs through his neighborhood with a makeshift medical tent in his front yard. He won’t determine his exact course until later in the week.
This feat isn’t novel to the outdoorsy hobbyist, who has run ultramarathons that last more than 24 hours. He stated in his campaign description that he hopes the run encourages people to exercise outdoors and to safely follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines.
“Exercise releases chemicals in our brains helping reduce stress, which in turn can increase your immunity,” he wrote. “There are a lot of opportunities in adversity to better yourselves. If this run accomplishes nothing besides inspiring you to become the best version of yourself in the face of such adversity then it will be successful, but helping those who help us is the ultimate win for which we strive in this effort.”
Kinner completed the Drift 100 in Pinedale, bringing his 100-mile race total to six. He was driving to Pinedale for that event on March 13 when he received word that the Class 4A/3A State Basketball Championships were canceled. He finished the run largely alone — just him and the Wind River Range in the middle of a Wyoming winter.
His $7,500 goal on the GoFundMe page is an arbitrary number.
“Just a blind throw of a dart at the dart board,” he said.
Since there’s no downside if the goal’s not reached, he aimed high. As of Monday afternoon he’d raised $1,600. Supporters can donate money per mile or by minute and follow Kinner’s progress on the Strava app for workout tracking. Donations can also be made to Casper’s Complete Physical Therapy by writing “Casper Frontline 24 Hour Run Stay Strong” in the memo line.
Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans
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