Every parent – and grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. – is familiar with school fundraisers, but there’s a big difference between selling wrapping paper and running all 800-plus miles of the Arizona Trail. That’s what Nate Hansen will be doing this month to raise funds for Running River School in West Sedona. Nate’s two kids, Finn, 11, and Lily, 8, attend the private, Waldorf-inspired school. In 2017, Nate ran the Sedona Marathon as a fundraiser, which generated $4,000 for the school. Last year, he ran for a straight 24 hours around Sedona, logging 90-plus miles and raising $6,000. This year, his Arizona Trail journey has already brought in more than $17,000.
Nate, who says he hated to run prior to making the decision to tackle the marathon three weeks before the day of the race, will begin his trek in the southern part of our state at the end of the month. His goal is to run the equivalent of a marathon – 26 miles – each day in order to finish the trail in three to four weeks. His journey will take him through two national parks and four national forests for a total elevation gain of 113,000 feet. “That’s the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest four times,” he says.
He’ll do the entire thing solo with the intent of live-steaming educational aspects of the trail for the Running River students whenever connectivity permits. The stay-at-home dad has been training as much as he can, and he says he’s intent on not putting too much pressure on himself. He wants this to be an enjoyable experience. “I think my generation kind of missed the whole coming-of-age process, and I see this as an opportunity to go out alone and exert my physical limits every day,” says Nate. “I probably won’t see people for days on end. I’ll have time to figure out what things mean to me, what I value and what’s really important.” For more information, visit runningforrunningriver.com.