Photo courtesy of OpenDoors Slow and controlled, the breath becomes rhythmic and steady as the terrain stretches on along past rushing streams and towering trees, complete with birdsongs and various flora and fauna as elevation ebbs and flows. It’s a run less about mile time and more about the strict endurance and human emotion behind its existence. Connor Mailander, 17, is running 100 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to raise $100,000 for OpenDoors. Mailander’s connection to the families and students of Asheville, N.C. runs deep, calling him to combine a passion for running with community outreach. An experienced athlete in both cross-country and track for his high school team, Mailander is taking it to the next level with his upcoming ultra distance run. How did you become involved in OpenDoors? Started in 2010, OpenDoors blossomed as a non-profit organization and a flourishing relief effort. Gennifer Langdon Ramming, executive director and co-founder, noticed the need for specialized attention for students in the classroom while volunteering at Dickson Elementary. Now, OpenDoors is helping support Asheville’s low income families through emergency assistance, including gas and grocery cards, furniture and bedding, summer camps, and education via the “To and Through” program to foster success through high school and college. If you would like to donate to Connor’s run for OpenDoors, visit the link below: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/connors-100-miles I would say probably one of the greatest challenges of all is mental tiredness. My body is going to be in so much pain, but I would say it’s just about staying focused. After a while it’s pretty easy to just start thinking, “Oh, I want to go eat a hamburger” or something like that, and you don’t get that opportunity. You just have to keep on going through with one foot after another. I ran a 50 miler in December and I spent 12 hours on that run. I had to keep my mind engaged, “one step after another, right after this there is a flat section, then a downhill section, now let’s run just a few more yards than we could.” It’s not about going super fast, it’s just about staying engaged. If you stay engaged and you’re able to just keep moving, even though you’re in a lot of pain, even if you’re walking or crawling, you’re still moving forward and I think that’s the big, big thing, that you got to keep moving. How would you encourage others to use the outdoors as a catalyst to take action in their communities? Usually I’ll do six miles on a Tuesday, eight miles on a Wednesday, and six miles on a Thursday. If I’m feeling good on Friday, which I usually am, I will run about three miles on Friday. Then usually Saturday I have a long run which varies. I give myself Sunday to just really relax and it’s kind of nice. I have homework and stuff so I just give myself a break on Sunday, and then Monday, I will do like a light run or bike or just go for a walk. Nothing too intense. But I kind of give myself two days of rest, depending on how hard Saturday is. It is a challenging time to raise money just because people aren’t working. It’s hard to give money when you don’t have any to give. And so, hopefully at that point there’s a little bit more traction and people will want to donate. The response so far has been great and while I’m running, I hope that people come out and support and, of course, socially distance. It’s great when people are able to rally around something that’s a good cause. I had a friend last year who also ran 100 miles, and he raised money for a charity called Partners and Health. We run a lot together and we went to school together so he said, “Hey, you should run a hundred miles this year.” I came home and I told my parents. They loved the sound of it and so then everybody kind of just started helping me with it. OpenDoors hopes to use the money Mailander raises to provide aid for students in need of tutors and daily meals, while furthering the resources of the program. BRO caught up with the runner to talk about his upcoming run set to take place on June 19-20. I run on [Mills River] every day, and it’s a great trail. A lot of people use it. So it’s a good trail to use and runs right next to the parkway. Pisgah Forest is a good trail, just because it has everything. Part of it also is just tacking on miles. It’s a lot of distance so you have a lot of different places to run. The Mountains to Sea trail will be the tough thing. All that is pretty tough terrain so that’ll be pretty challenging. I have lived in Asheville for almost nine years, and so I’ve been able to enjoy Asheville and all of its surroundings and opportunities. But a lot of these families aren’t because they don’t have the resources, and OpenDoors really provides them with those opportunities with focusing on school. They send kids to college, they help give them scholarships, they provide opportunities for families and for working parents. They make sure that families are taken care of and that they are able to have a life with a lot of resources, and a lot of help, and a lot of love. There are some kids who are in OpenDoors who go to my school, even one of my brother’s best friends. My mom is pretty good friends with the executive director and so from those relationships, I’ve gotten to know a little bit more about OpenDoors, what they do, and what their purpose is. The more I learned about them, I realized that’s something I’m passionate about, which is, education. My goal is to do under 40 hours, and a lot of it’s going to be on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. It’s a pretty tough trail in some parts and not too bad in others. I think under 40 hours is going to be achievable. On the first day, my goal is probably about 60 miles and then the second day is finishing. I think, especially in Western North Carolina, we have such easy access to nature. It’s just a fantastic resource to build community and to educate people. I know that when I was in elementary school, going out for hikes in the Arboretum, walking around, and being able to see all this biodiversity. And of course, at such a young age, you don’t really understand what you’re seeing but I think now as I get older and as I spend more and more time outside, I get to really see beauty. Last weekend when I went running, I was changing elevation quite a lot and you can just see how the plant types change around you the higher up or lower down you go. I think you can use that for education purposes. Asheville has so much biodiversity, you can teach so much about every single living organism here. But you can also use it to build community. I know that there are groups in Asheville that go for runs on weeknights and they just go run around the city or biking groups where you just go like bike down the trails because we have so many amazing trails here. I think being able to have such easy access to nature we are able to build stronger communities by getting outside and kind of dropping all the technology and dropping into what’s happening around us and just appreciate where we are and who we are with. What is the greatest challenge you expect to face in your outdoor run? Mailander trains with his dog. Photo courtesy of OpenDoors How are you training for the run? Why did you choose Mills River, Pisgah Forest, and part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail for your run? Why did you decide to do an ultra run to raise money?
During the swim portion of the race, participants were given a wave start time based on their projected swim time and were given a full minute before the next swimmer entered the pool. “We never had more than 25 swimmers at the pool or on the deck at a time,” said Kirkwood. “Everything was very spaced out from start to finish.” By most accounts, the race was a smashing success. Eighty-three percent of participants indicated they would come back and do the race again. According to one satisfied participant, “I felt safer racing… than going to the grocery store.” And all of those cheering fans? Forget about it. “No spectators were allowed at the pool or at the finish line,” Kirkwood said. The pandemic had changed a lot of things, but it couldn’t stop one group of hardcore triathletes from competing this summer. Last Sunday, just over 100 participants showed up at a park in Hendersonville, NC to do something that most athletes used to take for granted: toe the line at an in-person race. Race participants wore face coverings before and after the event, had their temperatures checked, and stayed socially distant from other participants. Instead of having typical transition zones, which usually include close quarters, participants were asked to transition at their vehicles. The rebooted transition zones “went really well,” said Kirkwood. “[Racers] had plenty of room to set up their things… we also had spaces in between some cars giving additional space.” The Asheville Triathlon, held at a new location in Hendersonville’s Patton Park, is setting an example of what in-person events may look like in the future during the time of COVID-19. “This coronavirus has really forced us to make some big changes in the endurance event industry,” said Daphne Kirkwood, owner of iDaph Events and Race Director for the Asheville Triathlon. “There just isn’t a cookie cutter way to design and produce an in-person event during a pandemic. But I’m really happy with how safely everything turned out.” The winners of this triathlon-like-no-other were Jenn Stanton and Ricky Flynn. Stanton is a pro triathlete from Charlotte, NC and finished with a time of 1:05:22. Stanton, also a pro triathlete from Greenville, SC, completed the race in 58:23. Asheville, North Carolina skyline nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Photo courtesy SeanPavonePhoto
By Dialogo March 05, 2012 The Honduran Congress has increased the penalties for the crimes of extortion and blackmail, by way of a reform of the Criminal Code with which it aims to halt the so-called “war tax” collected by gangs, legislative sources announced on February 29. In a single debate the previous night, despite the fact that laws are normally passed in three debates, the 128 legislators from five parties established a penalty of 15 to 20 years in prison for the crime of extortion, previously punished by between six and nine years, following the reform of Article 222 of the Criminal Code. The members of Congress agreed to waive the two other debates required by law. For the crime of blackmail, the penalty will be between six and 12 years, instead of the three to nine years at which it was set until now. The Congress legislated that for both extortion and blackmail, in addition to a prison term, there will be fines of up to 50 minimum salaries, around 15,000 dollars. According to legislator Tony Zambrano, more than 6,000 businesses have gone bankrupt in Honduras in recent years because of collection of the “war tax,” and more than 200 people have been murdered for refusing to pay it. According to complaints publicized in the local press, the “war tax” is collected by gang members, including police officers, from small retailers and haulers, and since last week it has been reported that they are also collecting it in schools.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A hit-and-run driver seriously injured a 34-year-old pedestrian in Greenlawn early Friday morning, Suffolk County police said.Jose Murillo of Huntington Station was walking westbound along Pulaski Road with a group of friends when he was struck by a dark-colored sedan that fled the scene at 2:53 a.m., police said.Murillo was taken to Huntington Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.Second Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information on the crash to call them at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The hit country pop group Rascal Flatts gave a patriotic performance at the Pennysaver Amphitheater in Farmingville on Saturday, getting fans dancing despite the steady rain.After Jackie Lee and Laura Lane got the audiences’ cowboy boots kicking for Ohio-based Rascal Flatts opened up their set with their upbeat song, “Stand” and continued to play their hits such as “My Wish,” “I Like the Sound of That” and “Bless the Broken Road.” Even though fans were shivering in the cold rain, the band heated things up when they played another one of their hits, “Summer Nights.” The group includes Gary LeVox on lead vocals, Joe Don Rooney on lead guitar and pianist Jay DeMarcus, who is LeVox’s second cousin.“On 9/11, we actually had to leave that night for Albuquerque,” Gary LeVox told the crowd, noting the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks the day before. “Most people stayed home ‘cause, you know, it was such a tragic and horrific day, you know, in United States history. But for Rascal Flatts, we felt an obligation to continue to go to work just to show that you didn’t win anything, nothing. So, from 2001, we work every 9/11 out of spite.”The crowd at the sold-out show responded by chanting “USA!” The show came after Rascal Flatts were nominated for County Music Awards group of the year award to add to their many accolades.All through out the performance, LeVox put the microphone out toward the audience allowing their voices be heard singing along to the songs. LeVox in his song “Easy,” had one of his backup singers, Tia, perform lead with him in an incredible duet. They had also did a cover of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” that took the fans’ breath away between the staging, the lights and emotional performance.The show went on despite the persistent rain. Saving their biggest hit song for last, from the Disney movie Cars, “Life is A Highway,” the band left the crowd in a joyful and happy mindset. They were dancing and singing along, not wanting the show to end.