Archive for category Running


The Race Before Us and Coach Dan invite you to join us tomorrow – Thanksgiving Day – for our Thanksgiving Day Pipeline Run. This is the 3rd year of this event and it continues to grow. This is a fun 10k walk/run event that starts / ends in the parking lot across from Browns Island. We run along the edge of Browns Island, cross the Pipes that run next to the island, run along the flood wall, cross the 14th Street Bridge, back across the flood wall to the Mayo Ruins, climb the ruins (or you can go around), and continue through the woods to Belle Island, then cross the footbridge back to Tredgar where we start. There are plenty of coaches guiding you along the course so you will not get lost. If you have not done this run before, I encourage you to do so since it is a unique way to see parts of Richmond that most people never see.

Here is more information on this run:

Meet: Parking lot across from Browns Island, on Tredegar Street next to the Civil War Museum.

When: Thanksgiving Day, November 27, at 7:00am

Distance: 5 mile loop or 6 miles (depending on if you decide to run around Belle Island)

Cost: Free, but please consider bringing a non-perishable food item, which will be collected and given to the food pantry at Gayton Baptist for distribution to the needy.

Registration: Not needed – just show up. There are no race bids, t-shirts, or anything fancy for this walk / run. You are simply joining a group of runners/walkers in Richmond to begin your celebration of Thanksgiving….plus this allows us to eat a little more on Thanksgiving day without the guilt!

Below are photographs from last year’s run.  See you tomorrow!

Coach Dan and Bruce

Coach Dan and Bruce

1451459_10202546704809702_158368931_n 1470211_10202546704169686_835110682_n


, , ,

Leave a comment

Giving from the Heart

[Editor’s Note – Below is post from “Coach Dan,” who is instrumental in The Race Before Us, Inc.’s efforts to encourage others to develop physically and spiritually through running and Christian apologetics.  Bruce will be back soon to finish his series on the Camino de Santiago.]


In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’  Acts 20:35 (NIV)

When I was a child, my grandmother would often say to me: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I’m not sure if that is what drives me to give back today, but I know it had a profound influence on my motivation. Several years ago I started a group in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, that helped homeless people prepare for a 10k race. When I first started this group, I did not know what to expect since I had no experience working with the homeless. I just knew I had to do something to help after reading a story about a young lady in Pennsylvania that did something similar. I was so touched by her story that I began taking note of the homeless people I saw on my weekend runs through the streets of downtown Richmond. I knew I had to help.

After doing some research and speaking to several great organizations that help support the homeless in Richmond, I found a void that needed to be filled. I approached the YMCA and asked if I could use its facility to create a running group for the homeless. The “Y” had a lot of questions and I had few answers, but together we decided to jointly move forward to create a program called “Keep it Movin.” That first year we recruited 23 people to train for their first 10k race. I was touched by this group in more ways than I can recall.   Seeing people who were struggling just to get by, who were willing to show up week after week to train was more than I expected. More importantly, seeing the spirit they displayed each week and their eyes of determination gave me strength to recognize a stronger faith. It also touched others in the community, too. Countless friends and other runners in the community donated shoes, clothing and many other things to help support this new cause. Even businesses contributed to this worthy cause with donated registration entry fees, new shoes, and even race shirts. I was touched by the generosity of so many in Richmond that helped start this program in 2010. I am proud to say that this program is still going strong in the Richmond area. Through some great volunteer coaches, I have seen firsthand how we helped the homeless in our area.

Jackee being fit for new running shoes

Jackee being fit for new running shoes

So, when we think of generosity, I’ve learned it is not the size of the gift or the nobility of the cause. It is doing something first hand where you can see the result. Helping someone who needs it can be so rewarding. We might call someone “generous,” who contributes a modest sum to a charitable cause to promote the good of society.  But I believe Jesus measures generosity by the condition of the giver’s heart.  The apostle Paul said that even the most lavish donations are empty acts in God’s sight if the giver’s heart is hardened toward him (1 Corinthians 13:3).

Last month, we created a half marathon (13.1 miles) training program (through the YMCA) for our community in the far west end of Richmond. We reached out to the homeless community and I’m proud to say that we have 5 homeless people training in our program to complete their first half marathon race. Our half marathon training program is about 100 strong and when I look out into the crowd each week, it gives me joy to see these special people on the team. No one is called out for who they are or aren’t, we are just a group of runners working together to achieve the goal of finishing the race!

Darius gets new running shoes

Darius gets new running shoes

The Race Before Us organization has been instrumental in helping us provide shoes and clothing for the homeless. Two of the five runners in this group are high school kids and it is touching to see them put on a pair of new running shoes for the first time. Enjoy the pictures below. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces after receiving a new pair of shoes is priceless.

Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship



1 Comment

Celebrate National Running Day 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4, is National Running Day.

National Running Day is held annually on the first Wednesday in June, and is a day when runners everywhere declare their passion for running. This tradition was started in 2009 to give tribute to our sport and to unite those of us that love to run. For various reasons, many can’t, so I give tribute tomorrow to those that can’t but want to.   My run tomorrow will be dedicated to you.

I run because


For more information on National Running Day visit:

If you are looking for some things to do to celebrate National Running day, the top five (5) things I plan to do to celebrate National Running Day are:

  1. Sign up for a race.
  2. Tell my running partners how much I appreciate their company.
  3. Get a massage – reward my legs and give thanks that I am able to run.
  4. Buy a pair of shoes and donate a pair of shoes to a charity.
  5. Eat junk food and not feel guilty about it! I earn it.

What are your top 5 things?

Whatever you do, do it with passion. Whether you are slow or fast, don’t forget to thank God for giving you the gift to run.


– Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship



1 Comment


TRBU Cover


Until the end of May my publisher is offering the audio version of The Race Before Us: A Journey of Running & Faith for free.  If you’d like a copy, just follow the link below at ChristianAudio.  Please share this with anyone else who you think might be interested.



, , ,

Leave a comment

Walk – Don’t Run

This past weekend was Richmond’s Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K – probably the biggest running (and walking) day for the community.  It holds a special place in my heart for a number of reasons – its a great event for Richmond, I help coach a training team, it has a great cause (Massey Cancer Center), I have run it with our daughter (including my 10K PR), I have walked it with Cheryl, I have run it with Carl – and two years ago, I ran it with Caitlin (my niece), when it was her first 10K.  Caitlin went on to adopt running as a critical part of her lifestyle and to train seriously for and complete other races. Last year I ran with her during her first 1/2 marathon and in November, she completed her first marathon at the Richmond Marathon.  In the process she adopted healthy eating (she’s a paleo fan) and exercise plans and lost over 70 pounds.  We previously featured blog posts about Caitlin at the 1/2 marathon and after her marathon run.


The Monument Avenue race is very special to me also because it was the “first” race I trained for and completed in my quest to reverse a number of years of neglecting my health.  For anyone who might possibly missed it here – the story of my physical and spiritual journeys is captured in The Race before Us:  A Journey of Running and Faith.

But this past weekend, I did not run in the Monument Avenue 10K.  Not because of the rain.  I walked the 10K.  At the beginning of the year, as an “equal opportunity uncle,” I encouraged Caitlin’s sister, Laura, to walk the Monument Avenue 10K with me.  Laura completed a 10-week plan that I shared with her.  So Cheryl and I completed the 6.2 mile loop on the cobblestones on Monument Avenue with Laura on Saturday.  We had a great time.  I look forward to Laura’s next race and soon, her own 1/2 marathon.


, ,

1 Comment

An Inspiration

When you stand at the starting line, you join the club. When you stand at the starting line, you earn your membership. Millions dream of being where you are. You are no longer a dreamer. You are a doer.

Thousands more started a training program but never finished. They started with the same enthusiasm (or more than) you had. They started with more or less the same physical gifts or disadvantages that you did. They had no more and no less reason to be successful than you.

But somewhere along the way, they lost that enthusiasm. Somewhere on the road or on the track or treadmill, they decided that the rewards just weren’t worth the effort. They decided that they could live without finding their limits, without challenging their expectations of themselves, and without taking a hard look at their image of themselves.

You didn’t. If you’re standing at the starting line, you’ve not only accepted the challenge, but you’ve beaten back the demons. You’ve conquered your imagination and self-imposed limitations. You’ve gone farther, gotten stronger, and gotten tougher than you ever imagined.”

-John Bingham, “The Penguin”

John Bingham is an American marathon runner and author, nicknamed “The Penguin”, who has achieved widespread recognition for promoting the walking of long-distance race courses to the general public.




For all of you that will lace it up on Saturday at the Monument Avenue 10K and especially for all of you that participated in the YMCA 10K Training Team — you are an inspiration.  Have a great run or walk.

And a final note — a special thanks to Coach Dan who served as Head Coach for the entire 10K Training Program.

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship



, , ,

Leave a comment

“Establishing Fraud – Proving the Resurrection”


“An Evening with LeClairRyan’s Bruce Matson”

scan0001 - Copy

The Christian Law Fellowship at the University of Richmond Law School is hosting a talk by Bruce Matson on “Establishing Fraud – Proving the Resurrection.”

From the Christian Law Fellowship:  Bruce Matson, Partner & Chief Legal Officer at LeClairRyan, adjunct law professor at UR, and author of The Race Before Us, will join us to discuss his journey at mid-career to find life in running and the Christian faith. His talk is titled “Establishing Fraud – Proving the Resurrection” and is designed to argue for Christianity from a lawyer’s perspective as well as share his own personal story. It is sure to be a great evening of learning and reflection.

For more time, place and other details click here.


TRBU Cover


, , , , , ,

Leave a comment