The Long Night

January 19, 2024 @ 8:00 pm – January 20, 2024 @ 8:00 am
Freeman Park
1290 Science Center Drive
Idaho Falls 83402
Dan Beck
The Long Night @ Freeman Park

“The Long Night” is an informal group run put on by the Idaho Falls Trail Runners in January each year to raise funds and awareness for Coming Home, Incorporated, a non-profit assisting veterans and their families, especially those facing a “long night” of their own.

I will be attempting to run 4.2 miles every hour on the hour starting 8pm and continuing for 12 hours (aka- 50 miles total), ending around 8am on a looped course at Freeman Memorial Park in Idaho Falls. The start and finish line is always at the War Memorial at the high point in the park. The route varies from year to year based on weather conditions. The goal is that I never have to run alone all night. So far, in 5 years, I’ve never had to run alone (although it has been close on a few occasions).

Coming Home, Inc., helps military people and their families with cleaning and other services they need. Olaine Scott is a friend of mine who started this non-profit because her brother, who joined the military at age 17 and served two tours of duty in Iraq, struggled with PTSD and severe anxiety before taking his own life in 2018. Coming Home Inc. provides many services from running errands, to cleaning a veteran’s home, stress management, counseling, parenting and financial classes. Please check out this news article for an inspiring read about why and how Coming Home Incorporated came to be: https://www.postregister.com/news/local/coming-home-inc-helps-veterans/article_c5faf8c6-f13b-5678-9849-73046b04040d.html.

During Hurricane Heats, FUGAZI events, and Agoges I’ve learned firsthand how team work can multiply efforts to accomplish more than any individual ever could. Basically “If everyone will give what they can, no one has to give all they have.” I see the work that the wonderful people at Coming Home Incorporated are doing, and feel like if I can contribute in ways that I can, they won’t have to do it all on their own. While I could donate to Coming Home Incorporated for my birthday (and which I plan to do regardless), I am asking for your help to be part of a team that can really make a difference in ways that I can’t on my own. I’ve heard stories of people who committed suicide feeling like they were facing a long, cold, dark, night alone and they didn’t feel like there was hope of reaching the morning. There is also a huge burden often placed on loved ones who are asked over and over to sacrifice to get them through their long night. Let’s help share that burden.

The mission of Coming Home Incorporated is like someone providing a headlamp and some companionship during those dark times helping people reach the sunrise after a long night. While they can’t take away the darkness completely, they can provide light during the dark times. While they can’t take away the pain, they can provide support and encouragement when people feel like they are alone and we can make sure those caregivers are supported as well so that they don’t get overwhelmed helping those who need help.

How can you help?
1. Be part of the team by coming to participate for an hour or more. I’ll be starting from the same location at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, etc., until 7am the next morning. You can run (or walk) at any pace you want, but start with me on the hour so I know I’m not alone. My pace will be slow, I won’t be running faster than a 10:00/mile pace for any of the miles, and especially near the later hours, there will be walking and running, putting my pace closer to a 12:00-14:00 per mile pace. Feel free to bring a ruck if you want to add some weight. I will start at the War Memorial in Freeman Park at the top of each hour, making it easy for anyone to find me and jump in for 1 hour, 2 hours, or even all night if you want. My goal is to hit 50 miles in 12 hours, which requires 4.2 miles each hour all night. (Not an easy task, made much harder by the weather conditions). Also, if you are going to run, feel free to bring a headlamp to light up the path. I won’t have one and if no one shows up, I’ll be wandering alone in the darkness. The last 4.2 miles will start at 7am and will finish just as its getting light. (Sunrise in Idaho Falls area is a few minutes before 8am and it starts getting light around 7:30am). This isn’t an official race. There’s no medal, no t-shirt, no standings, no results page, etc., but there will be a sunrise at the end, and hopefully as a team we make a difference for those who have lost hope.
2. Be part of the team by donating to Coming Home, Inc. Last year we raised more than $2,000 for Coming Home, Incorporated. This year we want to do better!
3. Share details about this race/cause with your friends and family who may be able and willing to help.

Basically, do what you can do, and if enough people do that, we’ll make a huge difference and help lighten the burden a bit from the wonderful people at Coming Home Incorporated as they take care of our veterans and their families.