Totally Brain Dad Takes on TCM

Hi, my name is Ben Osborn. You may have seen some of my FASTZach travel logs as Totally Brain Dad. This month I don’t have a travel story or new route to explore but I do have a bit to share about my marathon training as I prepare for the Twin Cities Marathon on Oct 7th.

The race is just over a month away and I am at peak distances in training. Outside of one close call with a skunk in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, training has been going fairly well. It is a bit harder than I remember from my first (and only) marathon in 2011.

I’m older, less fit, and have more responsibilities (ie kids). I feel the miles a bit more this time around. My favorite piece of running gear is now ice. Training runs are haphazardly squeezed in early mornings and around the schedules of two working parents, while also trying to maximize some enjoyable summer family time and occasionally make a goofy video. I ran 18 miles by myself last weekend and made a slight miscalculation on my route. I lumbered into mile 18 to realize I was still 2 miles from my house. Oops. Most of the run I felt pretty good but I was really ready to be done at 18. My feet were hurting and I was stiffening up a bit.  I ended up walking or limping my way home those 2 miles. I’m not gonna lie, I started to question how ready I’m going to be for the big day on Oct 7th.  Am I going to be able to run 26.2 miles in full brain gear?

Yes. Yes, I am. But, it’s not going to be pretty.

That’s 100% OK. My decision to run a marathon wearing a foam brain was clearly not about being pretty or setting PRs. It was about getting attention for kids affected by brain tumors and raising money to help Children’s Minnesota give them the best chance to survive and thrive. Every day seven children are diagnosed with a brain tumor. That is especially scary because brain tumors are the number one cancer killer of children. So every day 7 families have to grapple with the reality that their child is now facing a rare, life-threatening disease. To make matters worse the most common treatments can leave survivors with permanent deficits. New promising treatments are on the horizon but they are not coming fast enough for families battling the disease right now. They aren’t coming fast enough because there is no profit motive helping speed research. Only four cents of every cancer research dollar in the US  goes toward childhood cancers. So we can assume much less than .04 cents of every $1 is targeted specifically to kids facing a brain tumor diagnosis.


Brain tumor family is not a club anyone would choose to join but that is the club I will carry with me as try to pound out a slow 26.2 miles wearing a foam brain. I love a brain tumor survivor. Actually, I love all families touched by this horrible disease. They are some of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met. In my experience the only thing that can withstand the fear, uncertainty, and stress of a brain tumor diagnosis, is love. The brain tumor families I have met have a depth to their love that it tough to explain. It has been hardened but it is not in anyway cold. It is both ferocious and tender.

And it endless. Nothing can defeat that love. It endures pain, tragedy, and hardship.  It endures loss and grief.  It endures. I will be running for that love and for those people. They will get me 26.2.


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I want you to be aware of pediatric brain tumors. I will be promoting my race and my fundraising efforts with some goofy and some heartfelt things over the next month. I’m hoping to convince 500 people to donate $1/mile to help kids with brain tumors. That’s a lot of people. Maybe you can help?  If so please donate here. If you can’t donate maybe you can share my story or help promote my social media campaign. Or maybe you can find some other way to send a little love to those affected by brain tumors. If you think of something let me know!  Together we can show them they aren’t alone.

#routeforchange  #Irunforlove #FindYourRoute 
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