Sunday, December 16, 2007


In case you're looking here for something interesting, check my other blog at That's where I've been posting the last month or so. Some of it's a little bit interesting. But don't get your hopes too high. :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad News

At 1:00 we had a briefing. Doesn't look good. We're definitely not leaving for the ice today. Or tomorrow. Or Saturday. I have until Monday at 4:17 pm Eastern time to finish the marathon in Antarctica. Otherwise, the only world record I'll have is for running all seven continents twice in the shortest amount of time. A bit of a disappointment. Still have some hope of flying on Sunday, and most everyone on the trip is game for running within an hour of when we get off the plane. Everyone would like to be home before Christmas. Me included.

So, this afternoon, Brent and I are going to go see some penguins. Just what I need. More penguins. Anyone know of any marathons in South America in the next three weeks or so? Maybe I start on 17 December in Antarctica and finish on 13 January in Disney World. That means I have to do a bunch of marathons between now and then. I'm only half serious about this, but I can't shut my brain off. Oh well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

About time...

Hey, I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I've been between two really big projects. Check it out near the top of my home page at I'll be blogging on my Seven Continents Blog for the next month, so keep an eye on me. Click on the Seven Continents in 25 days link and go from there.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chicago Marathon

Race organizers were just not ready for this one, in spite of the warnings they were emailing us. Nonetheless, I had a pretty good time there.

Spent Saturday working the expo in the afternoon, then FINALLY managed to get to a brewery in Illinois and collect a beer glass from that state. Paul Ruesch, my best traveling buddy. and I spent the evening at the Goose Island Brewery, eating some wings, a light dinner, and watching the Cubs finish getting swept out of the playoffs.

Sunday I was a pacer for the marathon. Christina and Pauley, my local training partners, Randi Lass, and I were the 5:15 pace team leaders. (NO!! That DOES NOT mean 5 minutes and 15 seconds per mile!) We started off with a group of around 100 others who would try to finish the course in 5:15, our mission to stay on pace and encourage/help them along the way. Good intentions.

We were really close to our pace all the way, adjusting a little after each mile as we needed to stay on. Big problem though. It was in the high 70s when we started and just got worse from there, and by the time we made the aid stations the water was mostly gone. COMPLETLY gone at the second one. This is just not good for such a hot day, especially when we were trying to help fairly new marathoners finish their race.

We separated a little bit, but I kepe Pauley and Christina in sight until past the 15 mile mark. In fact, I stepped on the 15 mile mark exactly on pace. Still good a half mile later at 25K mark. Then for the third time I reached a water stop with NO WATER. Now I was getting aggravated.

Finally just past 17, Paul met me and gave me a bottle of Gatorade and filled my water glass. I went on, taking a little break between there and 18. I ran for a few minutes beside a girl I would later know as Kristen. We chatted a little, then got separated. Just before 19, they started announcing that race was cancelled. I've heard stories about this stuff before, and decided to ignore them and keep running. Just ahead, they had a fire hydrant opened up and spraying water all over the place. Another announcement. Nora, a first-time marathoner running beside me with 5:15 on her back turned to me and said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "I'm going to run through that fire hydrant over there." "Then what?" "I'm going to finish running this marathon." She said, "OK then, I'm going with you."

At the next aid station, we ran into Kristin. She joined us, and the three of us (despite the warnings to just walk) ran the rest of the Chicago Marathon. Nora finished her first marathon and I watched her eyes, close to tears, with the joy of doing so. I lost track of Paul, Christina, and Randi, but at least one person in our 5:15 group accomplished her dreams that day. It felt pretty darn good!

Some days are good, some are bad. It's the nature of adventure. I had a great time anyway, made a couple new friends, helped someone finish her first marathon. Nice day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

What I didn't do is write too much, so here's a short (and probably inconclusive) summary.

May 28th or so I ran the Bayshore Marathon. My 50th consecutive month running a marathon. No, that's nowhere close to a record--my buddy John Bozung from Utah has that one at the moment. His current streak is around 13 years worth. Tom Adair is in second place at the moment, and I think he's about 91 months ahead of me. And there's probably someone in between us too. I haven't given up yet--those guys are older than me. Maybe I'll outlive them.

June 16th ran the Run Charlevoix marathon. Slow, hot, felt like crap. Got through it. Had a nice weekend with the lovely Francine. (Just like every weekend with the lovely Francine actually.)

In June, I also started a new thing, the Marathon Minute. It's a weekly minute of inspiration that I write and record on WOOD Radio. You can hear them on if you're interested.

In July I ran a marathon in Carrollton--something that's becoming a habit. In fact, it becomes a habit if you only run it once, since it's the same 5K course eight times. Nice people putting it on though.

I also read an article about Getting Things Done, a book and a way of life that has revolutionized the way I do things. I've been undergoing major restructuring of my file system, calendars, etc. Still in progress, but it's making me more effective (in my mind, at least).

August. Took a trip to Alaska with Francine and Carly. What a blast. Did a marathon (duh!). Took a day trip to Portage Glacier and Whittier. Took a day trip to Talkeetna. Took the train to Seward for a day. Saw moose, bear, eagle, mountain sheep. Hung out with my old friend Ole. Heard Diana (Ole's wife) singing with her group in Anchorage. Went hiking with Carly a few times. She's a fun kid.

September. Went to Tupelo. Oh. You already knew that from the previous post. Oh well, it's fall now (almost) so I guess this post is over. Maybe I'll start posting more often.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Marathons, Mountains, and Microbrews - Mississippi

Cool weekend. Spent Friday evening watching the Bourne Ultimatimum with the lovely Francine. Then it was an early morning flight to Memphis.

It was probably not the most efficient way to get to Tupelo, but it was a much cheaper flight. Besides, I had another mission to accomplish - to knock off another state high point. Now, Mississippi's high point is Woodall Mountain. The "mountain" part should be in quotation marks, because the elevation is a whopping 806 feet! (Only Delaware, Florida, and Louisiana have lower high points.) I drove to Iuka, Mississippi, and drove all the way up the road to the top. Not very inspiring. There was no sign, only the little USGS marker in the center of a circular gravel driveway. Someone had put in three cement benches in a circle there, but vandals had uprooted one of them and broke it in pieces. A fairly uninspiring place to be. Oh well, check another one off the list.

Now, on to Tupelo. The cool thing about this race is the medals and the slogan - "Trample the Weak. Hurdle the Dead" The logo is a skull and crossbones. Makes a pretty cool looking finishers medal.

I expected to be really slow with the heat, and probably could have been a few minutes faster, but at about 19 miles I caught up with Steve and Jaclyn. We started talking and were having fun, so I decided to stay with them for the rest of the race instead of running by myself. Jaclyn was running her first marathon that day, Steve his 10th.

The course was an out-and-back, so we got to see everybody. At the turnaround, the people doing the 14.2 mile run took the shortcut back to the finish line, and we turned around and headed back the way we came. The course was billed as hilly, but hey, in Mississippi a mountain is only 806 feet high, so my discription would be something more like "rolling."

We plugged along, enjoying the day, enjoying Jaclyn's excitement as she approached the finish of her first marathon. At 25 miles, I asked at the aid station if they had beer. "No, but I've got one in my truck. You want one?" It was cold and refreshing and just what the doctor ordered. I finished the beer and then rejoined my friends for the last mile.

After an hour or so hanging out with friends at the finish area, I headed back to get cleaned up, take a 15 minute nap, and then the trip to Memphis for my flight. I had a couple extra hours, and figured a beer and some lunch at Pat O'Brien's on Beale Street would be nice. Sitting there I had another one of those "moments" when I just start laughing at how cool life is. It's 5:00 on Sunday afternoon, I woke up in Grand Rapids yesterday, visited a state high point, ran a marathon in Tupelo, and now here I am in Memphis having a beer and a burger at Pat O'Brien's. As usual, I have tons to be thankful for. And I certainly am.
and the adventure continues....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interesting stuff I get in my email

So, yeah, I'm throwing a big event. The Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon. But WTF ever made this guy think we needed a guy who lifts weights with his ear to come along and add to the festifities?!?! Nonetheless, I like the guy anyway.

Sub: - Information Required about Festival. and show
It is pleased to inform you that i am Zafar Gill Guinness World Record Holder lifted with one ear. i visited your web site and know about your festival.
i wish to participate in your festival. what is a criteria to participate in your festival ? what is a requirement? Because i have all that things which you required like press release, photos, cd's, Guinness Certificate etc... You can see me on google (write down zafar gill ear lifted).
I will provide you all things which you required about festival but very first i want to know about festival that can i participate in your festival? show.
Last year i beat my new record in Germany (Impossible Challenger) i lifted with one ear 61 kg.(13 sec). Now i wish to beat this new record in your festival. i wish to lifted 65 kg. above 10 sec.
i hope you will reply me nice
Zafar Gill
Guinness world Record Holder
Lifted with one ear.

Here's an article I found:
Pakistani athlete sets new ear lifting record
Staff Report

LAHORE: Zafar Gill, a boxer from WAPDA, has got his name registered in the Guinness Book of World Records by lifting 51.7 kilogrammes by one ear on May 26, 2004.

He broke the earlier record of China’s Li Jian Hua who lifted a column of bricks weighing 50 kilogrammes by one ear for 9.3 seconds on December 17, 1998. Talking to Daily Times on Friday, Zafar said: “I appeal the government to provide me all the facilities to maintain this record and raise it to 55 kilogrammes. I am waiting for a multi-national company for a sponsorship so that I can enhance the image of the country in the sports world.”

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fourth of July

Nice day. Ran 11 miles in the morning with the lovely Francine, followed by a detour through an orchard where the black sweet cherries were pretty yummy. Then saw Evan Almighty in the afternoon, and went to Lynne's house for fireworks later. A very pleasant day.

Evan Almighty is a pretty fun movie, even has a couple good messages in it. Morgan Freeman plays God. Nice concept: When you pray for patience, you don't get it right away. Instead, you get opportunities and situations in which you can develop patience. Pretty good thought.

Usually, for me to consider a movie a "good movie" it needs some kind of a decent message or philosophy lesson to it. This one had it. I expected just to be entertained, and I was. The bonus was that it made me think too.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Quote for the day

"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude." William James

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blue Moon?

We got invited to a Blue Moon party Saturday night. Blue Moon beer had a promotional thing going, so the hosts had Blue Moon tshirts, etc. Pretty fun party. I was a little confused though.

A "Blue Moon", the second full moon of the month, actually happened in May, not June. The second full moon of May was on May 31. So, I was having a little mental conflict with the calculations there. Apparently, Blue Moon beer people were as well. Or were they?

I looked it up. These are Eastern Standard Times.
May 2, Full Flower Moon 6:09 am
May 31 Full Blue Moon 9:04 pm
June 30 Full Strawberry Moon 9:49 am.

Now, Blue Moon, being a Belgian White beer, maybe figured out that they should go by the moon phases in Belgium instead of the US. Which would have put the full moon on June 1 at 1:04 am. And then again on June 30 at 1:49 pm, Which would, of course, make the it a blue moon in June instead of May!!!!!

I went to bed last night, thinking I had solved the mystery.

Thanks to the Internet, however, I find that Blue Moon is actually created and brewed by the Molson Coors Brewing Company, in FREAKIN' COLORADO!!

More Internet work--seems that most of the places you go to look up moon phases post it in Greenwich Mean Time, which is, of course, a few hours ahead of us. Apparently that's the time all the calendar makers use too, since everything BUT the Old Farmer's Almanac site have things posted in GMT. So again, mystery solved.

Here's the NPR story that prompted me having such a bunch of confusion in my mind (copyright NPR):

Blue Moon on Thursday? Not So Fast

All Things Considered, May 30, 2007 · There is a prevailing myth about what a blue moon is. Thursday, May 31, will bring the second full moon of the month. But that does not constitute a blue moon, as is popularly believed.

Kelly Beatty, editor of Night Sky magazine and executive editor of Sky and Telescope, tells Robert Siegel that a blue moon actually refers to the phenomenon of having four full moons in a season, which ordinarily has three.

Beatty also acknowledged that his magazine had a hand in giving the misconception credence. Sky and Telescope magazine recently put out a press release explaining its role in perpetuating the myth. It read, in part:

Our 1946 writer, amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett (1886-1955), made an incorrect assumption about how the term had been used in the Maine Farmers' Almanac, where it consistently referred to the third full moon in a three-month season containing four. (By this definition there is no blue moon in May or June 2007, and the next one happens in May 2008.) for more interesting stuff

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Weekend - just a little late.

It was an interesting weekend. Friday night the lovely Francine and I ran in the American Cancer Relay for Life. Actually, it was mostly people walking, so we designed a loop that was a bit longer and less crowded than most of the people were walking, and ran up and down along the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. Ran into Nasreen and Bret, so I finally got to meet him. Found out that the slight muscle pull I had in my calf was worse than I thought.

So, our next shift, which started at 5:00 a.m. was spent just walking. Tried sitting in the hot tub at the Y and letting the jets massage my leg, but it still didn't help much.

Came home and did laundry, leaving most of it (including clean sheets) on my bed so I could go up to my mom's for a while. Grandma had a slight stroke last week, so she's at my mom's for a while. Maybe forever. Figured I should go visit and take her some flowers. Good move.

I had a late breakfast, so I wasn't very hungry when I got to Mom's. She offered to fix me something, but I figured I could wait. Grandma, however, was more persistent. "Have you had dinner?" "Not yet Grandma, but I'm not very hungry right now." She offered to have mom fix me something. We visited for a while. Mom came in. "He hasn't had any dinner, you know!" she told Mom. That exchange had Mom getting us both a drumstick (the ice cream kind, not the chicken kind) and putting the topic to rest for a little bit. We visited a while longer. "Are you sure you're not hungry?" "Hmmm... You know grandma, maybe I am getting a little hungry. Why don't we go out in the kitchen and see what's happening?" Well, that finished that discussion.

Dad and I were in the livingroom a little later. THUD! A redheaded woodpecker smacked into the picture window. It was the last thing he ever did. (I'm trying to work a joke in here about him breaking his little wood pecker, but it just isn't working.)

I came home to a surprise. In my refrigerator was a note. "Fresh strawberries, hand picked by Carly and Francine" in 7-year-old handwriting. COOL! And the laundry I left on my bed was folded and the sheets were back on the bed. There was no note about that, so I'm figuring the 7 year old had nothing to do with that one. It was pretty nice though.

Sunday I went to Richland and measured the course for Lindsay's Race, a 5K and 10K race held in honor of Lindsay Cornelius, who died in a car accident around 10 years ago. Came home and went to see "Pirates of the Carribean" with the lovely Francine. Then we went to The Melting Pot for some cheese fondue and some really good salads. Came home and sat on the grass talking and soaking up the sunshine.

Busy weekend. Fun weekend. Accomplished a few things, had some fun, reconnected with family. Nice.

Monday, June 04, 2007

New Projects

It's been a fun May. Not much writing, but major movement in good directions. I registered a couple new websites and will be starting some new ventures. One of them is Every week starting June 13, I'll have a one-minute long "Marathon Minute" on WOOD Radio as part of our Grand Rapids Marathon promotional material. It will also be podcast on, and on the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon site.

It's not just about running. It's about personal achievement. It's about working toward any big goal and the things we overcome to do that. It's about making your life better after listening to it than it was the minute before.

I'm working with some great people over at WOOD Radio doing production.

Once every three weeks or so we'll do a bigger podcast which will be linked off WOOD's website as well as on It will be about 10 - 15 minutes with some of the people who have stories to share. I don't know where it's all going, but I do know it's going to be a great trip. Check back for more details as they happen.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ten Days!

Since my last post. Let's see, what's happened?

Sunday May 6 took my whole family to a Whitecaps game to celebrate my mom & sister's birthday. Caps won. A good time was had by all.

Friday was the River Bank Run expo. Had a booth and signed up about 20 people for the marathon.

Friday night was Ashley's dance recital. Cute. She's probably one of the prettiest girls in the world. We took five generation pictures--my grandma, mom, Katie and the girls were there.

Saturday was the River Bank Run--and we finally had great weather for a change. Ran about what I expected, which isn't really very fast, then spent about an hour at the beer tent with a variety of friends. Took some pictures of Neil Sauter, the professional stilt walker who's going to walk the Grand Rapids Marathon on stilts and go for a world record. Met the guys from the Y at the Cottage. Went to a party at Bob's house and ended up skipping the next two parties we had scheduled.

Yesterday was a recovery day--didn't do much except work around the house. "Slept" in a bit, made french toast, bought a new pair of sunglasses, groceries, that's about it.

When I get home tonight, I'll add a picture or two. Maybe 5 generations.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ashley's First Tee Ball Game

The competition was intense, an amazing battle, the opening game of the season. Hopkins Elementary School, my granddaughter Ashley's first tee-ball game.

What a hoot! Everyone bats. Nobody gets out. The inning ends when everyone has hit once, everyone runs only one base at a time except the last batter, who gets to hit a grand slam to end the inning. The kids stand there in the field, minding their own business, playing in the dirt, looking around. Then someone hits the ball. Then the kids stand there in the field, minding their own business, playing in the dirt, looking around. Finally one of them will chase down the ball, and at some point will try and throw the ball to first base. Or home. Or somewhere else. Pretty cool. Pictures attached are of her first hit and her first run of her career!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Did anyone happen to hear this one?

The congress sent a bill to the President to fund 24 billion more in the Iraq War effort, but the president vetoed it.

For the last two or three weeks, same old stuff. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it. The congress is passing a bill. President Bush is going to veto it.

Yesterday, the congress passed the bill. President Bush vetoed it. Is there some news in here anywhere? Is there news that justifies saying it over and over as the headline EVERY TIME the news come on?

It's about like the NFL--a whole bunch of millionaires fighting over something that no one can win but they keep doing it anyway. Except for this: When football players (or baseball or hockey players) have juvenile power-play negotiations for weeks or months at a time, NONE OF OUR CHILDREN HAVE TO DIE!!!!!

Too bad the president and congress can't just suit-up take the field and go about knocking the crap out of each other instead of doing whatever it is that they're doing?

An afternoon with Mr. Long's Class

Had a great day with the kids in Michael Long's class yesterday. I spent the whole afternoon with them, showing them pictures and answering questions. New experience--I had to sign autographs! Imagine that! Kids were great, lots of energy and lots of interest. They gave me a copy of Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, which they all signed. I was touched.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun Tuesday

It's going to be a fun day. Ran 5 with Alan Headbloom this morning at 5:30, met with a potential sponsor for the marathon at 7:45, now I'm preparing to head to Harrison to spend the afternoon with the fifth graders in Michael Long's class. They were on a "virtual fieldtrip" with me when I was on my seven continents journey. So today I get to meet them in person. I'm hoping this isn't the most dangerous part of my whole adventure.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Good Press

I talked to my mom last week. She was at the library on a fast Internet connection, and typed "Marathon Don Kern" into Google. Every hit on the first 5 pages was me. Interesting, but so what. What I really learned is that much of what was written about me is a direct consequence of the things I've written.

It seems that the way to get stuff published about yourself is to write stuff. It's easier for people to do articles if they can cut & paste from a blog or a press release. Hmmm...

K-LITE in Santa Barbara interviewed me a couple weeks ago. The interview is posted on my website,, if you get really bored sometime, you can listen to it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Adventures in Shopping

Stopped by the Hideout for a beer and finally ran into Dan Manning. On the way home, it was Meijer. Nice experience. Cashed in a couple scratch off lottery tickets, bought the winning Mega Millions ticket for tonight (I hope).

Everything I needed was on sale. Cool. Usually I stop by the Jelly Belly display and scarf a couple leftover jelly beans from the little trays that catch the spillage. What the heck, they're just going to throw them out anyway. Tonight, however, instead of jelly beans, someone had dumped some chocolate covered raisins from the Brachs display in there. Maybe messing with my head or something. I ate a couple and moved on.

Going up and down the aisles is like a ballet. Except with shopping carts instead of tutus. People weave in and out, waiting, nodding and smiling, every once in a while accidentally bumping into each other. OK, it's amature ballet, not professional.

DiGiorno people will be happy to know that their advertising worked out. Their pizzas were on sale too, so I'm not having delivery tonight for supper. I'm having DiGiorno.

There's a rack of meat setting out in the aisle--apparently it's stuff they needed to move quickly or something. There was a little packet that had two tenderloin steaks in it for only 96 cents. I wondered what was wrong. Oh. Someone had it marked as TURKEY! Hmmm...there were five more packages. I bought them all. The ones on the shelf that were marked correctly were $19.99/lb. I later found out that they're not allowed to put another label over top of the wrong one, so someone's honest mistake (or moronic move) was my good fortune, since I now have a bunch of steaks in my freezer.

Well, I guess this wasn't all that interesting, but some adventures go that way. I gotta go. My pizza's almost done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Things that could have been on my life list that I ended up doing.

I keep a list of at least 100 things going that I want to do in life. Gives me direction. Sometimes I just end up doing things that it occurs to me after the fact that they should have been on my life list, but weren't because I didn't think of it.

Shook hands with Ford and Reagan
Flew in an ultralight airplane
Saw the Harlem Globetrotters
Visited Biosphere II
Was a professional nude model (see my blog for February 2006)
Climbed to the top of Notre Dame and saw gargoyles
Played donkey basketball
Tended bar

Stuff that's still on the list:

Cage diving with great white sharks
Camp in Yellowstone in the winter and sit in a hot spring
Be able to start a fire with a bow drill
Visit the Galapagos
Kiss the Blarney Stone
Learn Spanish
See a total solar eclipse
Go whitewater rafting near Victoria Falls
Run with the bulls in Pamplona
...and many more things.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Take a chance

I was reminded of something today when I read this quote from either Scottish climber W. H. Murray:

"Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!"

I have seen this happen. It's what happened when I decided to run my first marathon. Or go to the South Pole. Or run all the continents. Or when we decided to start the Grand Rapids Marathon. As soon as the commitment was made, things started falling into place. People came out of the woodwork to help. Things started to happen. As I often say, "throw it in the air and it turns into sunshine."

So, here's what I have told people recently: Find an adventure, a few months out, that's outside your comfort zone. Sign up for it. Decide you're going to do it. The next thing you know, your brain will just figure out how to make it happen. Don't worry about the details, you'll do them anyway once you're commited.

Maybe something happens after this life. Maybe not. RIGHT NOW is the time to make something happen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Boston Marathon Weekend - Part 2

After a nice pre-marathon steak dinner, we settled in for the night to listen to the wind howl and the rain fall. Fortunately, Julia was able to get us a seat on her club bus to the start, so we had a warm place to sit while waiting to start the marathon. We made a couple short ventures out to check on temperatures, wind, and rain, but it sure was nice to sit on the bus instead of hanging out in the mud-bowl that is known as Athlete's Village. We were in the second wave, and as our start time of 10:30 approached, something else happened. It stopped raining! Cool.

The normal 10-minutes-to-starting-line after the gun went off, and we were off on the downhill start from Hopkinton, heading for Boston. Neither of us were out for any personal records, so we ran together for the whole race. Within the first mile I had my rain jacket and windshirt off, but about 5 miles later the rain started and I put the jacket back on. Rain didn't last long, but the heavy winds allowed me to stay comfortable in the jacket, so I just left it on for the rest of the run.

Wellesley was the normal screaming-young-college-girls event. They put up barricades to protect us, but they all have signs offering kisses along the way, so I had to stop briefly. Ten or twelve times.

At the bottom of Heartbreak Hill we stopped at the Johnnie Kelly statue for a picture, then started up the hill. I was distracted for a few seconds to drink a couple small glasses of beer as Francine went on ahead for a bit. I kept her in sight, then caught her toward the top of the hill. At mile 24, my BS level spiked a bit (that's not "blood sugar" by the way) and the pace got a little faster. Finally, the Citgo sign we had seen for more than a mile was upon us--only one mile to go. The course jogged over a street and we saw the finish line in the distance. As we passed the 26 mile mark, we joined hands for the final stretch, crossing the finish line together. 4:44:47 was our net time.
We drank a little, ate a banana (that was all the food they had left) and headed for the nearest T stop to catch a ride back to Joe and Julia's. When we got off in Brookline, we were both cold and wet and calorie-deprived, so we ducked into the Duncan Donuts at the corner and got some hot chocolate. Instead of walking the half-mile to their house, we grabbed a taxi and figured the $5 would be a cheap price to keep us from shivering all the way there. So, a cold and wet day in Boston, but a nice marathon and a great time with some great friends. Marathon 141 for me, 30 for Francine, and my 50th consecutive month running a marathon.

Boston Marathon Weekend

It was a dark and stormy night...

Yeah, like a cheap mystery novel. The rain was driven into the windows by fierce winds, as the lovely Francine and I would wake up and anticipate a cold-and-nasty-weather marathon. The weekend wasn't all that bad though.

We arrived in Boston around noon on Saturday and took a taxi to the home of our good friends Joe and Julia. They recently bought a house in Brookline and are in the midst of remodeling/restoring, so parts of their new estate resembled a nuclear holocaust. Just the kind of place a guy loves to see and hang out in--a great project in the making!

We went on to the expo to pick up our race packets and a bunch of stuff we didn't really need. I had no more than walked in before Austin, one of my shipmates on the Ioffe saw me. Mike and Christina were there as well, so we enjoyed a brief reunion before heading off in our various directions.

Saturday night was the annual Dead Runners Society encounter dinner at Big City. Nice place, nice people, and about 40 beers on tap. I had a pint of Brooklyn Brown Ale, then noticed that they had Sam Adams Cherry Wheat on tap. Cherry Wheat has special memories for me--the first time I tasted it was 14 October 1995. The Chicago Marathon expo the day before my first marathon. I ordered a pint, fondly remembering my first taste and the journey that I've enjoyed since that day.

Sunday was the bagel brunch, in recent years hosted by Julia and Joe, but due to the construction project it was moved to the home of Joan Cook and Conrad Halling. Again, a nice time with way more food than one should reasonably eat, but with friends one should reasonably have. I love Dead Runners encounters, because I get to meet some of the people I've been interacting with on line since 1994.

Afternoon was a trip to Eastern Mountain Sports to pick up a little wet-weather gear for the lovely Francine. Then we hopped on the T and went to town where I met Adam Jacobs, editor of, for an interview. Yes, that's right, I got interviewed in Boston, just like the speedy guys. Pretty cool. It's on The Final Sprint website.


Pretty nice. Adam has interviewed me a couple of times before, but this is the first time we met face-to-face.

Race report to follow in part 2 sometime later today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Hey!! I got my 100000th visitor to the site today. And it was none other than my daughter Katie! Cool.

I was the 100000 visitor to you site!!!! well really I was 99999 but I jumped off and went back on so I could clam the title HAHAH
Love you
Katie Burch FRG President C 1/125 INF

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 1922 - 2007

One of my favorite authors died yesterday--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It was in my senior year that I first became acquainted with him--the multiple reading group on our forensics team read from Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut's book on the bombing of Dresden through the eyes of Billy Pilgrim.

Through the years, I've read many of his books, including last year re-reading Slaughterhouse Five. Cat's Cradle was another of my favorites.
Vonnegut was one of the influences on my philosophy. He helped teach me the importance of PEOPLE. He taught me the difference between an enzyme and a hormone. He was a great humanist.

Now, my "friend" Kurt Vonnegut is dead. I'll miss him. So it goes.

Oh yeah--the difference? You can't hear an enzyme.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Suppose for a minute...

What if there's no life after death?

Now all the kids we sent off to Iraq who are dead are just that. Dead. The only life they ever will have is gone.

Suppose there's life after death.

Wouldn't it be better if our leaders figured there wasn't, so that they'd quit sending our children to die in someone else's war? As long as they keep trying to convince us that our dead children are "in the arms of Jesus" or whatever, they can justify sending more of them.

Just a little bit tired of the Iraq war. Would you people in Washington PLEASE knock it off!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Viagra and other "enhancements"

Suppose for a minute that one actually orders some of the products offered ten or more times a day in via emails from anonymous people who don't know how to spell. Subject lines like: "How you compare to other guys" "Gain inches" "Women will want you"

Now, AFTER using these wonderful products, how does one go about getting the word out that Mr. Happy has suddenly got happier? Is there a website or something? Or is there somewhere you can go to compare to the other guys? And why, exactly, would one want to go there?

Enough of that. I need to go do something important.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Marathon Don on TV

Pretty cool. Yesterday I was on WZZM (Channel 13) on Take Five with Stephanie Webb. The topic was my seven continents trip, and I also got a chance to plug the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon a little bit too. My sister thinks I did a good job, but she's probably biased. They put a bunch of video clips of segments online, so maybe they'll post mine. Click on the videos at and see if it's up there.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Once upon a time in Grand Rapids Michigan...

The beautiful princess (aka the lovely Francine) called me at midnight. "Do you know anything about sump pumps?" Now, any conversation that starts like that (even with a beautiful princess)is destined to go in different directions than one would have hoped.

Well, waking up from a sound sleep, I didn't really know much about sump pumps, but by 4:00 when my alarm went off, my brain had recovered enough information to actually be helpful. Meanwhile she had found out that Home Depot opens at 6:00 a.m. so we really didn't have much of a problem at that point. (OK, her basement had a bunch of water in it, but that too can be fixed.)

As I unhooked the discharge hose, then grabbed it and lifted the old pump from the hole. Of course, it jostled the float enough to get the pump running, spraying water all over my shirt. Still, it's been so loud lately that we decided it should be replaced anyway, so I made a trip to Home Depot while Francine rinsed out my shirt and tossed it in the dryer. By 7:00, the new sump pump was installed and pumping the excess water into the drain where it should be.

So, by 8:00 this morning, I had spent some quality time with a beautiful woman, installed a sump pump, stopped at Panera for some coffee, and had arrived at work. Not a bad start to the day.

And they lived happily ever after. The end.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Sometimes I look at life like the proverbial cat who swallowed the canary. It feels like I just got away with something, and I just have to smile. I get to have great adventures, I have a beautiful woman who's crazy about me, some responsible-adult kids, some amazing granddaughters. I'm in pretty good health and have enough food, a warm place to sleep, and decent clothes to wear. Life is pretty freakin' good.
Biblical reference - Job, who was similarly blessed, even when he lost everything he remembered the good things. I'm not saying I have the patience and wisdom of Job, (but then, I don't have his writers either) but I hope that I always remember the blessings and keep things in perspective.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Back to my normal blog

When we last left our hero, he was off on a trip to the far reaches of the earth. Now he's back, and posting to the normal blog again...

I stopped at Starbucks this morning for coffee (duh!) and a blueberry muffin. I took a book to read with me, but that plan just didn't work. At the next table two guys were discussing running marathons, so naturally I got totally distracted. Then another couple guys came in, one of whom had a handheld "recording studio" on which he had been out all night recording tree frogs. It's hard to get into reading fiction when so much cool reality is happening all around me.

So, I went over and met Jack, the marathon runner on my way out.

Oh yeah--last night I went to the BOB for the downtown debut of Dave Hill and Karl London aka Rivers Crossing. They cover a lot of old rock and roll and make a pretty fun night. Go hear them sometime.

Friday, April 13 - Bud & Stanley's, 9pm - 1am, - Grand Rapids
Saturday, April 14 - Century Post Pub, 9pm - 1am, - Lowell
Friday, April 20 - THE BITE, 7:30 - 11:30, - 151 Ottawa, Grand Rapids

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


There was a headline on my AOL this morning, something about "Which Cities Have the Most Procrastinators."
My first thought was "I wonder who comes up with this crap." My second was, "Screw it, I'll read it later."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Friends, Heroes, Role Models, the nature of Celebrity.

In an interview the other day I was asked, "Who are your heroes?"  I liked the question, because it really made me think.  I realized that I can't really identify a present day person I'd call a "hero."  I told the interviewer that I guess heroes are for people who live vicariously.  The general direction of my life is that I don't.
Now, as for role models, I probably have a bunch of them.  They're those people who figure out how to take something they like to do and make a living doing it.  Guys like John Bingham, who turned being a slow runner and a writer into a career.  Guys who build businesses and provide opportunities for other people.  Those are the people I have as role models.  However, having a person as a role model doesn't mean that I have to approve of everything they do in their lives.  I just want to emulate the good stuff.
"Lance Armstrong is a jerk", one of my friends told me recently.  Maybe he is.  Substitute any celebrity name for Lance's, and there are people who would say the same.  I think it's more likely that there's a contrast--between the society-idealized person who gets all the press and the flesh-and-blood person who's really not much different from the rest of us.  Famous, beautiful people still do the same stuff as the rest of us.  Their hair is messed up when they get up in the morning.  They clip their toenails.  WE put people on pedestals.  Most of them don't do it to themselves.  I know sometimes people get caught up in their own celebrity, but I think sooner or later they all come back down to earth.  So, maybe Lance isn't a jerk.  Maybe he's just a human being like the rest of us.  I'm thinking that's more likely the story.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Check the other blog too!

Today I started posting to my seven continents blog.  You can find out all about it by going to the seven continents link at the top of my home page.  Should be fun.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Press Release


Donald Kern
Phone 616 293 3145

Don Kern from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Attempt Guinness World Record™ By Running Marathons On Seven Continents In 35 Days

Grand Rapids, Michigan, 30 January 2007.  On 11 February 2007, "Marathon" Don Kern will begin an attempt to break the Guinness World Record "Marathon on each continent - Shortest duration to complete (Men)" by running in organized marathons on each of the seven continents in 35 days.  Scheduled conclusion is 18 March 2007.

The marathons included in the "world tour" are: Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham Alabama (North America), Egyptian International Marathon in Luxor, Egypt (Africa), Maraton Popular de Valencia in Valencia, Spain (Europe), The Antarctic Marathon on King George Island (Antarctica), Fin del Mundo Marathon in Ushuaia, Argentina (South America), Six Foot Track Marathon in Sydney (Australia), and the Donga Seoul International Marathon in Seoul, South Korea (Asia)

All of the above marathons are officially organized events, recognized by the Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS) or other international running bodies.  None are contrived just for the purpose of this world record attempt.

Affiliated charities 1) Alternatives in Motion, a local Grand Rapids charity provides new made-to-order wheelchairs and other mobility devices to people who need them.  2) City to City Run to Defeat Malaria, Donating Bti (bacillus thurengiensis var israelensis) to Equator Belt Countries. This bacteria naturally kills mosquitoes without disrupting personal health or environment, as opposed to spraying DDT.  

Kern is an IT Consultant, freelance writer, and the Race Director of the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon.  He has run 133 marathon or longer races, in all fifty states, in twelve countries, and at the North Pole.

For additional information, contact Don Kern, or visit  


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Gospel According to Carly - Fables

"Do you know what a fable is?"  Carly was about to enlighten us, as we picked her up from school.  "OK, I'll tell you.  A fable is a story that teaches you a lesson, plus it has talking animals in it."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sitting in the airport in Milwaukee, drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee and eating a blueberry muffin, enjoying the pink/orange sunrise over the runways. Nice way to start a Saturday, with another small adventure underway en route to the BIG adventure I've got planned in a couple of weeks.
This week's marathon is the Callaway Gardens Marathon in the small town of Pine Mountain, Georgia. The first order of business, of course, is to get a decent pint of microbrew somewhere, which was accomplished at The Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Peachtree City. Sweet Georgia Brown Ale, from the Sweetwater Brewery in Atlanta was on the menu, and along with a Hawaiian pizza, I was satisfied and ready to go. Bonus--I've been looking for some books to take along on my trip in a couple weeks, and they were selling used books there. The cause was the Mushroom's American Cancer Relay for Life team. So I picked up three used books for only a couple bucks each. Gave Karlee, my server, a $10 contribution for their team as well.
On to Pine Mountain. I stopped at the race HQ at Callaway Gardens and met Dave, the race director, picked up my packet, then went to town to shop a little bit.
The pasta buffet at the hotel was $20. Since I ate a late lunch and the pizza was sticking with me pretty well, I decided to save the cash and hang out in my room. It was a welcome relief from my "burning-the-candle-at-both-ends mode" I've been in for way too long now. I slept LOTS of hours, and was pretty fresh for the marathon the next morning.
About 100 people did the full marathon (300-400 in the half), which was two loops around the resort on a BEAUTIFUL course. Very little traffic, aid stations about every 2-3 miles, no congestion. We ran in a slight mist the first few miles, but as the day went on the sun poked out and gave us a little warmth. On the second time around, the 400 or so half-marathoners went to finish, so there weren't many of us left on the course. Still, there were people out there for company once in a while, and with a nice out-and-back from 19 - 23 miles, there were smiling faces and encouragement. I stayed strong all day, spotting someone ahead of me and catching them one after another all the way to the end. Finish time was 4:28:40. Celebrated a first marathon finish with a 16-year-old kid named Freddie. Saw a couple folks from the 50 States Club. It was a good day. Marathon #133. 47 consecutive months now. Two weeks until the BIG adventure begins.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Baby Bells Are Being Reintegrated

Have you noticed, it's now AT&T again? Somewhere a couple decades or so ago, they broke up the phone company. It was a monopoly. So, we no longer leased our phones. We had lots more options. The world got confusing. We were AT&T. Then Michigan Bell. Then Ameritech. Then SBC. (That's only the ones I remember.) Finally we're AT&T again. Now AT&T merges with Cingular. The old "Telephone" is back to being gigantic again, but with cable TV and Internet now. When they finally reacquire Taco Bell we should be able to get EVERYTHING on one bill. What convenience.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Writing every day

As a freshman at Chippewa Hills High School, I enrolled in college prep English.  One of the things we had to do is to write one page every day.  Didn't matter what it was.  Bob Loesch was the teacher.  He dubbed me "King of the wide margins," because I'd leave a lot of white space around the borders to avoid having to write so much.  I liked to believe it's because I'm concise in my writing, so there was no real need to fill up the whole page.
As you can see, I still don't write enough every day.  But in these days of computer communication, margins have become kinda inconsequential.
Clever phrases I got from Dan Manning, in his current blog entry:  "He was trying to regurgitate his personality all over the bank."  "I'm learning how to fake tolerance."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Marathons A - Z

I met Alan Headbloom a couple months ago who will be joining our Grand Rapids Marathon staff for 2007.  He's not only got a great attitude, he's got a great approach to marathons.  He's running a different marathon for every letter of the alphabet.  So far, A - Austin, B - Boston, C - Chicago, D - Detroit, F - Fargo, J - Jacksonville, N - New York, P - Paris, S - Stockholm, T - Tecumseh Trail (Indiana).  Only sixteen letters to go.  I like this guy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

OK, this is a little bit interesting

Found while screwing around on the Internet:  Google homepage in Pig Latin.  Have a blast.

And for my next trick....

So, here's the next big adventure, and a shot at knocking a few things off my life list.  Starting 11 February 2007, my plan is to run marathons on all seven continents in only 35 days.  Along the way, maybe knock a few things off my list, like climbing Kosciuszko (the highest point in Australia).  I leave on 9 February for Alabama, where I'll probably go check out the state high point of Alabama, then run Birmingham on the 11th.  Then back home for a couple days before heading out for parts unknown.
Maybe I'll succeed.  Maybe something will get screwed up.  Either way, it will be another cool adventure.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Corporate Policy

"We're adding new marketing software, so all the contacts in your attorney's Outlook address book need to be updated in the next week to comply with the following FIVE PAGES of address standards."
Paraphrased from something my legal secretary girlfriend got yesterday.  So, on top of briefs, applications for leave to file briefs, and motions to ignore other people's briefs ("BRIEF" being the most oxymoronic word in the English language, in this case), now she has to update address books.
Fortunately, in the several years since Outlook was installed at her office, the attorney she works for has only three entries in his address book.  His own name, an insurance adjuster from Cincinnati, and Elvis Presley.
All of whom now have had their addresses corrected, abbreviated, and adjusted to comply with corporate standards. Check another thing off the TO DO list.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Life List

I found a neat book at Barnes and Noble, 2001 Things to Do Before You Die by Dane Sherwood.  I bought two copies for Christmas presents.  Then I went back and bought the two they had left.  Some of the stuff is just silly or out of range, like "Hit a home run over the green monster at Fenway Park."  Lots of things are well within most people's limits:  "Donate blood"  "Watch an egg hatch"  "Make your own pizza" "Write a haiku"
A long time ago, I went to see a motivational speaker, and the main thing that stuck with me was the importance of having 100 goals.  Having only one or two goals makes a person one-dimensional, lopsided, like a washing machine that's out of balance.  Writing down 100 things you want to do/see/be and the next thing you know your life starts taking shape. 
So, I started a list.  I keep it in my computer.  There are a lot of things checked off:
Climb Kilmanjaro
Run a marathon
Walk around the South Pole
Float in the Dead Sea
Bungee jump
Go ocean kayaking
among many others.
Lots more on the list too:
Get a Guinness World Record
Run with the bulls
Climb Mt. Rainier
See the Great Wall of China
Photograph the Northern Lights
Cage dive with the great white sharks
Making the "Life List" has been instrumental to making my life fun, interesting, full of adventure.  Most importantly, it helps me DREAM.  Constantly having a plan, an adventure on the horizon, keeps me going through the daily minutiae and looking toward an exciting future.
So, pick up a copy of the book, or just start making your own list.  See what happens when you start dreaming.  You're gonna love it. 

Monday, January 08, 2007

Rosie, Donald, Major League Baseball, NHL, etc.

Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump, engaging in a war of words in public.  Who do they think they're kidding.  Now more people are watching Rosie and Donald.  Two multi-millionaires get richer, while all the "little people" just keep going on about their normal lives.  Wake up everybody--it's all about the entertainment.  Does any of this really matter?
On a related note, remember the baseball strike?  The hockey strike?  Again, a bunch of baby millionaires can't get along.  Boo hoo!  Millions of bucks just for PLAYING GAMES!  Only bad thing there was the hotdog vendors and parking lot attendants that were put out of work.  At least Rosie and Donald didn't do that.
Meanwhile, on a note that may or may not be related, there's some mysterious gas smell over the island of Manhattan today.  Isn't that where Donald lives?  And where they film "The View"?  Maybe the stink in Manhattan IS related.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Remembering President Gerald R. Ford

The 38th President of the USA died last week.  A native of Grand Rapids, he's coming back here to be buried at his presidential museum.  We went downtown Grand Rapids to remember him, and to sign our names in the book.  It's a sad, but proud time in Grand Rapids.

Gerald R Ford
1913 - 2006


Carly signs the guest book
for President Ford