RORSCHACH TEST — What do you see in last night’s running pattern?

rorschack test

America’s Slowest Runner is upping his fundraising game for One Run For Boston, which honors and helps victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The relay ends Sunday.

SO…. from now until Sunday, all $1000 donors will get their name spelled out in the font of their choice in a future training run AND have the RunKeeper satellite image preserved as a limited edition lithograph, which will be signed and framed for future generations.

Our $100 donors can get a Monogrammed Initial as a limited edition, signed lithograph.

(Hey, of course your $10 donations are still fully appreciated by the One Fund, too! Thanks everyone for your support so far.)

P.S. Does anyone actually know what makes a print a “lithograph?”

P.P.S. Out of principle, I will not run-write in the Papyrus font.

Please SHARE this to spread the word!

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Will Big Bird Be Banned on Heartbreak Hill?

Marathon Spirit: Tax law professor Richard Ainsworth (in feathers) and his wife, Christine Murasaki Millett, who is running to raise money for cancer research.

Marathon Spirit: Tax law professor Richard Ainsworth (in feathers) and his wife, Christine Murasaki Millett, who is running to raise money for cancer research.  (Photo courtesy of Christine Murasaki Millett.)

In my debut story for Runner’s World, I explore why a Boston University Law School professor has become a popular photo-op at area 5K and 10K races. And it’s not because he’s charming strangers with war stories about the IRS.

Prof. Richard Ainsworth dresses as Big Bird to amuse and support his wife Christine Murasaki Millett, who is training for her second Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Last year, she was stopped at the St. Ignatius Church, at the mile 21 mark. When the Boylston Street bomb sites were reopened to public a week later, she returned to the church and ran the final 5 miles alone, greeting Big Bird at the Finish Line.

On weekends, Big Bird now waits for his wife on Heartbreak Hill with water and snacks. Wherever he goes, he unwittingly serves as a giant feathered GPS. Runners text each other to “Meet me at Big Bird” after their race.

Prof. Big Bird lectures Boston University Law School students, thanking them for making a donation to cancer research.

Prof. Big Bird lectures Boston University Law School students, thanking them for making a donation to cancer research.

For obvious security reasons this year, authorities are discouraging “costumes covering the face or any non-form fitting, bulky outfits extending beyond the perimeter of the body” for both runners and spectators.  But they aren’t banning them.

Will Big Bird be allowed to chirp from the sidelines in Newton on April 21 — or will he be dragged away in wingcuffs?  Find out now!

(P.S. You can donate to Christine and Richard’s fundraiser for cancer research on their Boston Marathon page.)

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Running for the People Who Can’t Run Anymore

One Run Map

Last year, I helped with the publicity for One Run For Boston, a phenomenal 24/7 cross-country relay to honor and help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

This year, I’m getting off my ass and running.

It’s “just” the last four-mile leg from Harvard University to the Boston Esplanade and I’ll be joined by my two nephews and a few friends who are world-class athletes (compared to me).

I’m running because I’m pissed off.

People shouldn’t wake up in the morning excited to go to a fun event and go home with a fake leg or pressure cooker shrapnel stuck in their head. My friend Jennifer Levitz wrote a gripping story for the Wall Street Journal about the lifelong challenges of the Boston Marathon amputees that will last far beyond the headlines.


I’m grateful that I have legs.

If you are, too, please consider chipping in a few bucks to the One Fund at my ORFB fundraising page.

Darren Garnick Tires Mud Run

I love the above picture, which was snapped by the talented photographer Jay Hinspeter at a Warrior Dash mud run.  I love it because it simultaneously captures my running style and attitude about running.

I run like a tank. I usually have a pissed off look on my face and a feeling that nothing can get in my way. I will not, however, run over small pets or children.

Running is not and has never been fun for me. But I value the long-term return on a short-term sacrifice — results that I’ve never been able to duplicate on an exercise machine.

Every time I lace up my sneakers, I think of those who cannot run anymore.

Please think of them, too — with your wallet.


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Hilton taunts TV junkies at the gym

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Dear Hilton Fitness Center Planning Committee: Was placing the giant TV behind the treadmills and elliptical machines intentional? Watching “Shark Tank” over my shoulder is a new experience!

This is the gym at the Hilton Parsippany in New Jersey.  Yes, there are individual tiny screens on the treadmills and bikes, but the complimentary headphones were subpar — and audio from “Shark Tank” was the dominant sound in the room.

Prediction: There will be some needless and preventable injuries (neck problems, twisted ankles) from guests who prioritize entertainment higher than exercise.

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Does locking yourself in a steel box boost writing productivity?

Amtrak is now offering Writer Residencies

Amtrak is now offering Writer Residencies

In a brilliant PR move, Amtrak is now offering 2-5 day Writer Residencies, transforming themselves into a MacDowell Colony on wheels.

Here’s the scoop from their press release:

Amtrak is excited to announce the official launch of the #AmtrakResidency program.

#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015.  A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.

Of course, I applied.  Locking myself in a train car with no place to escape but the bathroom is the ideal no-excuses setting to write that comic book I’ve been “planning” for years.

Stay tuned…

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Joy of Broken Ribs Part 2 – Embracing my Peruvian Olympic Brother

In Solidarity -- For

In Solidarity — For Roberto Carcelen (Rib by Darren Garnick).

Anyone who’s ever suffered a broken rib knows how useless the medical profession is in that scenario. You can’t put a cast on a rib. And you can’t “rest” it since lung expansion is constant and vital.

The doctor’s advice is essentially “Suck it up.”

Peruvian cross-country skier Roberto Carcelen just finished last at the Sochi Olympics, but he did so with the weight of a million cinder blocks on his chest. He trudged 15K with a broken rib, earning the respect of the race’s Swiss gold medalist Dario Cologna, who waited 28 minutes to give him a hug.

What the media didn’t report is that Carcelen earned my respect as well.

I finished the Warrior Dash with a broken rib. That’s my rib in the X-Ray above. My crappy health insurance company didn’t think that X-Rays were important enough to cover, so I am getting my $200 worth now.

When I crawled across a rope net bridge with my broken rib, I had no idea it was broken. I thought my earlier fall was like a football injury I could brush off.  Had I known it was broken, I probably would have been smart and gone straight for the beer tent.

But if I were in the Olympics, I hope I would have done what Roberto did.  And his guts was matched only by the Swiss guy’s class. You don’t see that happen often in sports at any level.

That hug must have hurt though.

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Filed under Broken Rib Solidarity, Mud Racing

Coming to a Dollar Store Near You: A Lego-like Stephen Drew

Want to mingle Red Sox Shortstop Stephen Drew With Your Other Lego Superhero Minifigures? Double click Drew’s face for details.

I can say this as the owner of a Curt Schilling figurine, a Weeble-like Manny Ramirez, a Pedro Martinez Jack-in-the-Box and the Mike Lowell and Johnny Damon autobiographies:  This $13 Stephen Drew toy will be selling for a dollar next September.

Maybe even earlier if the Sox don’t resign him.

I’m not slamming Drew. I think his outstanding defense still saved enough runs to justify his atrocious 0-for-whatever batting average before Game 6 — and I was thrilled for him when he hit that World Series homer.

But I’m going to pass on this round of Red Sox World Series souvenirs. Being in the bleachers for Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2 of the AL Playoffs and seeing Dustin Pedroia in a hotel lobby is enough for me this time!

As an aside, I’m still smitten by Jake Peavy’s World Series souvenir, his $75,000 Boston Duck Boat!

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