Stories And Inspiration

Virtual Challenge Winner Talks Running, Supporting GO FAR

Submitted by on Nov 20th 2020 - 12:00AM. | Perma Link

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Runner Chris Dunst with son during a long run.

As a nonprofit, GO FAR relies on community support. High Point runner and 20/20 Virtual Challenge winner Chris Dunst shares with us why he is involved with our program.

How did you first hear about GO FAR? Tell me about your involvement.

I believe it was back in 2006 or 2007 when my friend, Lynn Montgomery, and I ran in one of the first (or perhaps the first?) GO FAR 5K races at High Point University. Lynn introduced me to Robin Lindsay who introduced me to GO FAR. I was hooked.

Since that race, I’ve run in several GO FAR 5Ks. Some alone, others behind a stroller, and one with my son when he completed his first 5K as a kindergartner. I’ve been a GO FAR coach, volunteered at the finish line at a couple of races, and I’ve been a member of the Blue Ridge Relay team, Team GO FAR, seven times over.

I proudly wear my GO FAR running shirt when I’m out running, and I am more than happy to talk to people about the program when they ask.fireplace runner

 

Why do you continue to support GO FAR?

There is nothing more inspirational than watching one child, let alone hundreds of kids, complete their first 5K. The smiles on their faces when they cross the finish line after 10 weeks of training is enough to give you Mt. Everest-sized goosebumps.  

Beyond running, the program’s curriculum is fantastic—helping kids to develop healthy eating habits, set goals, and inspire one another along the way. How could you not support that?

Seriously, GO FAR is truly a remarkable program.

 

You had more than 183 miles in the 20/20 Virtual Challenge...quite a bit more than everyone else! Is that typical for you? How do you stay motivated? (Note: the challenge was 20 miles in 20 days.)

Back in April I half-read a Garmin 30-day 10K Challenge and said, “I can totally do that, maybe.” So, I started running a 10K a day. Around day 20 I re-read the challenge and discovered it was 10,000 steps a day not 10,000 meters. Wow, I was way off.

I decided 1) I should invest in reading glasses, and 2) I should probably just keep going to see how far I could extend the streak. So, I did both, and when the GO FAR 20/20 Virtual Challenge rolled around I was already 2.5 months deep. (Note: Chris just completed day 214 and counting of that streak...)

Staying motivated isn’t always easy, and there are definitely days I’d rather not go out for a run. Too hot, too humid, too early, too virusy, too something. It doesn’t help that the pandemic has all but removed the social aspect of running for me. To keep moving, I just remind myself that I don’t have to run the entire streak all at once, I just need to run one 10K, one day at a time. Though, to be honest, there are days that I’m just not feeling it. On those days I just tell myself I can hurt all I want when I’m finished. Then I take a nap.

 

What are some of your running highlights and achievements? 

I love the Reindeer Romp, a 5K race at the Ragsdale Family YMCA in Jamestown, NC in December. It’s the race the Y’s 5K GO FAR group trains for and it’s a race where you can dress up in a costume if you so choose. I've run the romp six times in various costumes.

I’ve also completed a marathon and other long distance races barefoot, ran a handful of ultramarathons, fastpacked (trail running + backpacking) in the mountains, even came in first place in a 5K race, but my biggest running highlight was when I ran alongside my son as he finished his first 5K. That was the absolute coolest (though I’ll probably revise this statement when my daughter is old enough to tackle her first 5K because parents are not allowed to have favorites). son

 

I think a lot of people are looking to exercise and trying running for the first time during the pandemic. For newbies, what advice do you have?

Get out there. That is honestly the hardest part. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to exercise. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and try. And when you do, it’s awesome. OK. That’s a lie. At first it totally sucks. You’re sore, sweaty, miserable, and you often question your life choices. But once you find your groove, exercising is a genuinely rewarding experience.

 

Want to support GO FAR?

This Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, or any day, you can donate to and support our programs — such as scholarships that allow youth to participate in GO FAR.

 

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