||The 4D Story ...
Not all of us can run …
... do you ever think of those that can't run? We too often take
our ability to run for granted.
My friend Dee Gerber has Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and has been
very supportive of my running. Sometime during the week of June
17 she asked me if I had a race during the upcoming weekend and
I confirmed that I did.
She asked if I could do her a favor. She asked me to think about
her and of those that can’t run when I hit the 1-mile mark on
that weekend’s 5K.My initial response to her was that I would
make a point to think of those that can’t run every time I hit a
mile during a race.
As I thought about this request all week, I thought about how
fortunate I was to be able to run. I thought about how running
is not an option for all of us. I decided to make a little pin
that simply read 4D—as in I am running “For Dee” since she
can’t. This was first ‘pin’ was literally just the 2 characters
4 D printed out on paper from my at-home-printer and stuck on my
jersey with bobby pins just like our race bibs.
That race was the first 5K I entered that had a hill in it—a
rather huge hill. We had to do 2 laps and by the time I reached
the top of the first lap, I was thinking these people are crazy.
Why would you have a hill in a 5K. I had ignorantly assumed that
5K races were always flat course. I wasn’t sure I had it in me
to do a second lap and realized I had no reason to. Why put
myself through this type of misery and pain? I can just stop
Then I remembered that I had the 4D on my shirt. Who was I to
question a second lap when so many don’t even have the option of
attempting the first one? So I pressed on with new inspiration.
I would have quit that race if it wasn’t for Dee Gerber.
The following weekend I ran my first out-of-state 5K in the
Bronx, NYC. About an hour before the race I realized I forgot my
4D sheets of paper so I scrambled—or rather scribbled—4D onto a
fast-food napkin and stuck it on my jersey.
After two races of wearing 4D, I started thinking more about
what it means and I decided that it can also be running 4D (as
in an abbreviated “For Dystrophy”). Although Dee was the
original inspiration for the idea, I think 4D could be worn by
runners to signify their support of anyone that can’t run for
Deciding my commitment to this effort was greater than napkins
and printer paper, I opened a CafePress store for 4D merchandise
This is when I decided to create an actual 4D logo with the word
DYSTROPHY inside of the letter D. I opened the store so I could
purchase a real pin to wear. The CafePress site automatically
creates a store with all sorts of merchandise with your logo on
Within a day of sharing the link to the store online , I got
questions from bikers, hikers and swimmers about their
willingness to support. So the next day I opened
www.cafepress.com/4d4dbike. The initial profits from the
stores will be used to purchase pins to hand out to runners. If
the stores are financially successful, the profits will be
donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
I also decided that I was going to run a 5K in all 50 states to
share the message, or at the very least, carry the pin onward.
Knowing this was an awesome task, I originally set realistic
goals of being a weekend warrior and hitting states as the race
schedules made it convenient.
With the popularity of 5K racing, I realized that it was
actually easy to string a few states together in one weekend.
This really inspired me and gave me a new challenge of running
multiple races in a short time span. As I built a race schedule
to finish out 2013 I began to realize that I might actually have
27 states and D.C.) done by Jan. 1, 2014. That
is over half of the country in the first 6 months. [In
actuality, I ran 39 States + D.C. by Jan. 1, 2014]
This in turn inspired a very unrealistic goal of running a 5K in
all 50 states … in 1 year. Or is it unrealistic?
I will let you know on July 1, 2014.
You can also follow my progress
Press Coverage of the 4D Experience:
CBS Channel 21 "Making a Difference"
CBS Channel 4 "Run
for Red 5k, A Special Runner"
CBS Channel 4 Event Coverage
HERE) (at :43 and 1:22)
WQAD Channel 8 Event Coverage
HERE) (at :7)
MDA Messenger – Harrisburg District
Winter 2013 Article
AL.com Greta Sharp
Channel 7 Event Coverage
HERE (there used to be a video)
SeaCoastOnline.com Event Coverage