Wednesday, October 6, 2010

RANH 1997: Mike Beeman

In 1997 a man by the name of Mike Beeman caught the attention of every resident in New Hampshire. He was running the length of New Hampshire from Canada to Massachusetts. Something that had never been done before or since. He did it while pushing his daughter in a running stroller and called it Miles for Smiles.. this is Mike's Story.

Name: Mike Beeman
Age: 54
Location: Currently living in Tifton Georgia
Athletic Achievements: 108,250 lifetime miles, 1078 races, 86 marathons, 33 consecutive Boston Marathons

SJ: Mike, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your historic runs across New hampshire. You ran the 240 miles from Canada to Massachusetts not once, but twice, and it's a real honor to have this
opportunity to speak with you about your adventures.
MB: I appreciate the thoughts. I thought more or less people forgot about the Border to Border runs. It was basically 8 days of 30 miles a day. The goal was to raise money for Make A Wish.

SJ: So tell us about the first time you ran across NH vertically, what was your route?
MB: The route was pretty basic. Canadian Border , Route 3 South (Pittsburg) Route 26 across Errol (Dixville Notch) and then Route 28 South the rest of the way.

SJ: Why did you decide to take on quite a daunting challenge as 240 miles of running?!
MB: I wanted to combine passion with purpose. The idea came to me in the summer of 1997 and I was pushing Melanie (Daughter) in a stroller. I came home, talked to my wife at the time and she thought it
was a great idea. I called Make A Wish and they thought that I was crazy!

SJ: In thinking about doing the run, how many days did you think it would take you and is that indeed how long it took?
MB: I planned from the get go, 30 miles a day, 8 days and called it 240 miles of smiles.

SJ: So the first year you pushed your daughter in a stroller; Can you tell us a little about why you decided to bring her along with you?
MB: It was a natural! I was doing most of my training with her anyways and thought why not?

SJ: So this was a fundraiser or Make-A-Wish, how did you come about choosing Make-A-Wish as your
MB: I had a friend, Dave McMullen of Hampstead who lost a child to cancer at the age of 8. I could not
imagine that happening to me. Dave started a Make A Wish race in Hampstead and raised thousands of dollars for M A W and I thought it was a noble cause.

SJ: Now it was 2002 when you repeated the feat only this time, you pushed your son; Why did you
decide to do it again?
MB: I figured that I knew the course. I was fit, lets do it again!!!! It was much easier the second time
SJ: Running 240 Miles over the course of 8 days had to me a struggle both mentally and physically. What was the hardest part about the adventure to you?
MB: The first time I had NO idea how to run it. I broke it up into ten mile segments and thought that was the smartest way. The first day was through Pittsburg for 33 miles and I thought that I would be crippled for life! I underestimated how dehydrated you can get. The second day was tough but once I started seeing civilization and people (Berlin and South) I got my second wind.

SJ: What kind of variable did pushing your children add to your run (good or bad)?
MB: It added to the degree of difficulty, especially going over hills/ mountains (Mt Washington was
torture) Melanie was such a cutie, I think she received over 50 beanie babies! It also created a lifelong
bond with my children.

SJ: Now you live and work in Georgia, did you know that there is an organized Run Across Georgia?
MB: I was not aware of this

SJ: In running across New Hampshire twice, what can you say it was that made you go back to do it again or maybe intrigued you to do it in the first place? What was it about the adventure?
MB: I did it for purpose as opposed to adventure. I wanted to raise enough money to grant a wish (4,000
dollars) and ended up with 23,000 each time TOTAL 46,000 dollars plus. By doing something extreme, it makes the cause more prominent.

SJ: How life changing of an experience was it in the end?
MB: It made me appreciate life, and allowed me to reconsider why I run. It gave running more purpose and taught me not to give up when people think that your idea is ridiculous.

SJ: Would you do it again?
MB: In a heartbeat!

SJ: Mike, thanks again for taking the time to speak to us about your runs across New Hampshire. We'll be thinking of you the weekend of October 23rd when we're out there. Many people have told me that
since we've run West to East.. we have to run North to South. I've always told them it's been done and
mention you.. and you're part of the inspiration for this years version of a North to South Adventure so..
thank you.