Running with the stars in Napa

I’ve just heard that Bob Van Dillen, meteorologist on “Morning Express with Robin Meade” which airs weekdays on CNN’s HLN channel, will be running with us (Team Challenge1) in the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 19. Van Dillen is running with the Georgia team and will serve as honorary Chairman for this Team Challenge event.2

The president of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), Rick Geswell, also will join us for the Napa-to-Sonoma run. This is Rick’s second time running Napa-to-Sonoma — he previously ran the 2008 event. Plus Rick ran the ING Miami half marathon back in January 2008 (alongside my wife Priya and others who ran with Team Challenge).

Van Dillen and Geswell aren’t the only big names participating in Napa-to-Sonoma. After training alongside the various Team Challenge members from Wisconsin, I feel like I know a lot of “stars3.” My teammates have thrown themselves 110% into training. We have people experiencing flares4 of their Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, yet they still keep up with their training schedule. And despite the fact that the economy has made it more challenging than ever to raise funds for good causes, everyone continues to work hard to find supporters, host fundraising events, and bring in whatever they can to help fund the research to eliminate Crohn’s and colitis.

And I have no doubt that what I’m seeing among the Wisconsin runners and walkers holds true for all of the other Team Challenge participants across the country. Out of the 3,000 runners registered for the 2009 Napa-to-Sonoma race, about 750 of them (or 25%) are with Team Challenge. That means one in every four people we see as we race through the vineyards will be wearing Team Challenge orange and running in support of someone impacted by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. We’re only 46 days and 13.1 miles from the finish line. And every mile gets us closer to a cure.

Read about each of the Team Challenge runners and walkers from Wisconsin on their pages on the Team Challenge website.

Bob Van Dillen is blogging about his experience training for the Napa-to-Sonoma run with Team Challenge.

Are you interested in running or walking with Team Challenge? The next event is the inaugural Rock & Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on December 6, 2009. Training will begin soon — click here to learn how you can join us!

The best source for information about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, also known as CCFA. CCFA is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. CCFA provides accurate, current, disease-related information to the public, health care professionals, and patients and their families. The CCFA Information Resource Center can be reached at: 888.694.8872. The CCFA website is

  1. You can read more about my personal involvement with Team Challenge in my previous blog posts. If you’d like to make a donation in support of my Team Challenge effort, click here. []
  2. In the unlikely chance that the weather is bad for the Napa-to-Sonoma run, Van Dillen is going to catch a lot of flak! []
  3. I realize that sounds like a trite cliché, but that really is how I feel about these folks. []
  4. Sudden worsening, usually unanticipated, of the symptoms and conditions of the disease. []

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