On July 19, North Bend resident Chris Breeds took part in a half-marathon that raised $2.6 million for Crohn’s disease research and awareness.
Breeds, president of Subterra Inc. in North Bend, was first turned on to the impact of Crohn’s disease when a family member was diagnosed with the disease.
It was through that experience that Breeds was motivated to join the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and fight Crohn’s and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
The foundation introduced Breeds and his wife, Trish, to Team Challenge, an endurance training and fundraising program at the foundation that gets people to run or walk a half-marathon as a way to raise money for more research into Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Breeds training began shortly before the race was scheduled to begin.
“I didn’t start training until about nine weeks ago,” he said. “They have a really good training program with coaches to help you get fit enough to run.”
But Breeds makes it very clear that the race wasn’t about him, it’s about the people he is trying to help.
“The whole thing is not about me, it’s about this terrible disease and raising money for a cure,” Breeds said.
To enter the race as part of the foundation, runners must raise money for research.
“To be part of the race you make a commitment to raise a minimum of $3,200,” Breeds said. “If you haven’t raised the $3,200 you can pay the difference.”
Fortunately, Breeds along with the Missy Leone, wife of one of Breeds’ employees, who also ran the race, was able to raise a combined total of $11,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. The entire Northwest chapter of about 636 people raised $150,000, and nationwide the event raised $2.6 million.
The half-marathon took place in California’s famous wine country, from Napa to Sonoma. In total there were 3,397 runners, 636 of whom were from the foundation.
Breeds wasn’t the only person in his age bracket however; there were 26 men between 60 and 64 years old.
“The oldest person was a 78-year-old woman who did it in just over two hours,” Breeds said.
Meredith Dennis, Seattle manager of Team Challenge, and a group of other Team Challenge members worked on plaques for the runners that featured a picture and that person’s motivation for running. The gesture was very touching for Breeds who woke up to find the plaque hanging on their hotel room door.
“It was just amazing,” Breeds said.
Breeds said being able to get out there and do something to change the world for the better is something anyone can do.
“It’s not something only young people go out and do. Old people can do it, too. You can do things that might surprise you,” Breeds said. “All you need to do is get up and go for it.”