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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Six down, 44 to go!

Published 10/22/09
By Cindy Haug-West

Cindy mid-marathon, Veyo Volcano

I finished the St. George (Utah) Marathon on October 3 in 3:45:19. I qualified for Boston 2010, finished with a faster time than my last four marathons, and ran the first negative split (second half faster than the first) of my life. And to top it off, I felt great! In the last couple miles, letting gravity help me clock some 7:15-7:30 pace on the welcome downhills, it really helped to visualize the monkeys at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, and to picture the friends who supported my run at St. George by contributing to Born Free USA. You know who you are — and you are heroes to me and to the animals.

Valley of Fire

In addition to my having a good marathon, Joan and I really enjoyed our short trip to Utah. We squeezed in visits to Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and (twice) Zion National Park, both of which testify to the power and grace of nature. Standing quietly in Valley of Fire and Zion, it was not hard to picture the relentless, patient work of wind and water and time which shaped the awe-inspiring sand and rock formations. We felt small amid such grandeur, even as we remembered that the desert and its creatures live in fragile balance and require ongoing protection from human incursion if they are to remain. Being there was a soul-restoring privilege.

It’s hard to believe that in the past ten months I’ve run four marathons for Born Free USA, beginning with the California International Marathon (CIM) in December last year — when I dedicated my newborn goal of a marathon in every state to Born Free USA. My state tally is now at six: Oregon, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Utah. And I remain relatively undaunted by the idea of 44 states to go, because Born Free USA’s wonderful work for the world’s wildlife inspires me every day, every mile of the way.

This December, I’ll be running CIM for Born Free USA again (and you can too!). I’m really excited about this for several reasons. First, I’ll be out there on the course with the Born Free USA relay teams as they run wild for animals. Second, I learned some great running lessons in St. George, and my hometown race is the perfect opportunity to practice applying them before I run my next out-of-state marathon. Finally, and perhaps most exciting for me, my mom Lynn Begg and her fiancé Augie Carlson will both be running CIM, too. Augie has run marathons before, but this is Mom’s first ... and I am so proud and excited for her! My wife Joan and Augie’s daughter Tina will be our support crew, and the five of us, as the Born Free USA Running Wild Family, have dedicated CIM 2009 to Born Free USA’s work for animals. It’s going to be so much fun!

If you’re free on December 6, come on out to the CIM course (check it out at www.runcim.org) and look for me, my family, and all the Born Free USA relay runners. We’d love to hear “Go Born Free USA!” as we’re running all those miles.

Running wild for the animals,


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