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Mary Moore runs across Africa

Anne Stanton - November 1st, 2010
By Anne Stanton
If you want to know how tough Mary Moore is, you need to look no
further than her resolve to log in the required 15 miles each day for
her upcoming run across Ethiopia.
Moore is the newest female member of a team of 10 that will run 240
miles in 12 days in the mountainous African country. The team’s
trainer recommended a 15-mile-a-day training regimen, but it isn’t
always easy for Mary, who is a single mom of an eight-year-old boy.
Sometimes to fit in all 15 miles she’ll run six to eight miles inside
her two-bedroom complex—around and around two rooms and a
hallway—while her son, Liam, sleeps. She also runs with Liam, her
“personal trainer,” as he rides a bike on the area trails.
Moore is the only Northern Michigan woman who has joined the Run
Across Ethiopia event, which will begin January 8. The team’s mission
is to raise money to build schools for the poorest of the poor, and
that’s what captured the interest of Moore, who is the oldest of the
three women on the team and the only mom. She believes it’s important
for women to be on the team, especially since they’ll be running with
Ethiopian women along the way.
Moore isn’t worried about her ability to run 20 miles a day for 12
straight days (more or less; the team is running from village to
village, so on some days the run will be closer to 30 miles).  She
considers her real challenge is in raising a total of $15,000. Each
participant has to raise the same total, in order to amass a
meaningful balance to build the three new schools.
Fortunately, with the help of an encouraging friend, Moore has raised
$5,000. Folksinger Claudia Schmidt has also agreed to help and will
perform at a December 1 fundraiser at City Studio (tickets are
avilable at Higher Grounds). Her brother will hold a fundraiser at the
Red Mesa Grill on November 23.
Moore stressed that all the team members are trying to raise money and
need help, too.  Her main point of focus is to raise money and
awareness for the cause itself.

MARY “BUZZSAW” MOORE
Moore moved to Traverse City in 2006 from Colorado, where she spent
most of her childhood. She didn’t know she was a good runner until she
ran a marathon in 2001 and tied for first place with her girlfriend,
Kelly Arrelano.  Moore lived in Leadville, a town that’s infamous for
the Leadville 100, a 100-mile treacherous, high altitude trail race
which was founded by Ken Chlouber. (Her favorite book, “Born to Run,”
is populated by runners and characters she met in Leadville.)
 “Kelly and I were having fun running; neither one of us had ever done
a marathon before but we decided, ‘We are going to do this, we are
going to run a marathon!’ Our goal was to finish together and feel
good. Well, we were running and Ken Chlouber, who was at the race,
yelled out to us,  ‘One of you girls is going to be first, only one!’
So we got closer, and we grabbed hands and went over the line exactly
together. I don’t remember what my time was, but the reporter
described me as Mary Buzzsaw Moore. I guess they thought I looked
funny running, because I ran with a quick and choppy gait, like a Paso
Fino horse.”
 Moore went on to run two more marathons and, in 2004, entered the
Leadville 100 when Liam was 2 1/2 years old. She ran 73 miles her
first year and 63 miles the second year (she hadn’t trained well that
year). She said participants have to finish in under 30 hours to be
considered “official finishers.”
“The first year, I could have completed it had I not gone a marathon
pace,” she said. “It’s a mental thing. If I had sat down and had a cup
of tea, I could have finished it. It’s a mental game. It’s fun; its
like giving birth to a kid because you don’t remember how painful it
is. You just remember it like a big adventure. You see a lot of the
same people who try it year after year. There’s a little old man from
Germany, and he finishes every year. He fast hikes and makes it in 29
hours, almost the same time every year.”

GOOD EXERCISE
In the winter, Moore runs in snowshoes on the Vasa trail or on the
snow-packed snowmobile trails near her home in her tennis shoes.
“Running in snow shoes is really good exercise.  You have to pick up
your feet higher when you’re running,” she said.
Moore runs with whoever -- no matter how fast and slow--and she often
trains with fellow Ethiopian teammates Hans Voss and Chris Treter.
 Matt Desmond, who is also running in Ethiopia, said Moore is a
natural: “She just floats.”
Moore said she’s learning to become an easier-going runner.
“Chris lumbers along, la-dee-dah-style, and it reminds me of just a
peaceful, Buddhist style of running; it’s easy to see he just enjoys
it. I love the running. It’s meditative and I can just kind of
transcend any bad day I’m having. It squelches any grayness. It makes
everything bluer, and in Michigan that’s important.”
Lately, Moore has her challenges. She interprets for Spanish-speaking
people during doctor visits, but her job with Northwestern Michigan
Health Services ended with the departure of the migrants and will
resume next summer.
“Maybe my economic situation isn’t the best right now, but this race
gives me a chance to help people who are in much worse shape than I
am.  I am definitely thankful for what I have!”

To donate to the cause, go to onthegroundglobal.org or call Mary Moore
directly at 1-231-590-5068.

 
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