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Fly Feature: Stephen & Run Orange

At Fly Feet we love our people and their passions because community is what makes us whole. This week we are featuring flyer, Stephen, to share an upcoming event that is near and dear to him. Gun Violence Awareness week is coming up and we want you to join us and Stephen on a run to raise awareness for this extremely important cause. Read on to learn about Stephen and why we want you to Run Orange with us on June 8!

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1.  How did you find running and what does it mean to you? 

I ran when I was younger but it was more to get in shape for other things or generally fitness up. I was an ok runner but I generally just ran the same speed over three or five miles or whatever the distance every time.  I ran a half marathon with several people from my office and caught more of the actual running bug.  That led me to my first marathon, which led me to learning more about varying training and adding in different types of work outs.  I saw my running improve greatly.  I’m up to nine marathons now, including Boston twice!

Now I use running not only as my main sport, but also as a way to clear my head.  If I have to give a presentation or have a big meeting, I’ll often go for a run to organize my thoughts and sometimes even draft talking points in my head (strange, I know).  I also travel a good bit for work and use running as my favorite way to explore new cities.

2.  How did you find Fly Feet and what has your experience here been like?

A friend told me about FlyFeet and I gave it a shot.  It fit in perfectly with some of the ways I was looking to vary my training. I love the workouts, the coaching and the chance to push yourself to get as much out of the workout for you.  

3.  Tell us about your 3 greatest passions.

Other than running? :) 

My greatest passion by far are my two mini-bachelors, Will (8) and Henry (6).  The three of us have so much fun together, whether we are playing sports (they love baseball, basketball and soccer), exploring the Twin Cities or traveling or just hanging out at home.  I love being a dad and am just a little proud of them.

Super geeky, but next I would say following Ivy League basketball.  I love college sports in general, but pretty much every Friday and Saturday night in winter you’ll find me watching one or more Ivy basketball games (often with the boys).  The league is unique in that there are still no athletic scholarships and the teams play back to back games each weekend.  It’s small enough so you get to learn about most players.  We have a lot of fun following the league.

Third is the work I do for a non-profit aimed at ending gun violence in America.  I’m a fellow for an organization called Everytown for Gun Safety and on the state leadership team for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is a related organization.  These groups work for policy solutions for gun violence, but also provide support and education for survivors of or those affected by gun violence and education programs for gun safety in general.  [The issue is personal for me—my dad and brother were killed in an attempted burglary in 2004.  I speak often to share their story, with the goal of changing the gun violence story for many others.]

4.  There is an upcoming event that is very important to you. Can you share a bit about what it is?

The weekend of June 8 is Wear Orange weekend, or Gun Violence Awareness weekend.  Wear Orange started after a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton was killed in a random act of gun violence.  Orange was her favorite color and her friends decided to wear the color in her honor.  Now, Everytown and Moms Demand Action along with other gun violence prevention organizations wear orange as a means of raising awareness about how broad reaching the effects of gun violence are.  Too many times there is a stigma around victims of gun violence and Wear Orange is a way to reduce the stigma—honoring those affected by gun violence and inspiring action on their behalf.

In Minneapolis we are having an informal group run—we’re calling it Run Orange—the morning of June 8.  We will meet at 8 AM at the Commons Park and run along River Road, wearing orange, of course!  We would love for anyone from the FlyFeet community to join us!