We’re excited to feature Kelsey Halling on our blog again – her upcoming 200 mile footrace across Haiti is the continuation of a story that began almost a year ago.  Join us on Wednesday for a Benefit Happy Hour to raise funds for her race for Team Tassy: 5 to 7 pm at Franktuary, 3810 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

When we last caught up with you, we were raising funds for your boss’ run across the Sahara Desert.  It seems that you’ve now caught the long-distance running bug.  Tell us about your upcoming race.

Yes, I definitely did. I ran my first marathon in 2010, and soon after I knew that eventually I’d want to try an ultra. When Ian (my boss) came back from Jordan last year, he immediately started to sell me on ultra-marathons and encouraged me to consider running for Team Tassy in the future.

Over the summer we were having a beer on Ian’s front porch and he asked, “What if we run across Haiti?” It seemed so crazy, but also so perfect. A minute later, we had a laptop open and were looking at maps, plotting out potential routes, and looking at possible dates.

I’m really excited. I’m really nervous. We’ll be covering over 200 miles and 2 mountain ranges in 8 days. When you run, you experience a place totally differently, and for all the time I’ve spent in Haiti, I haven’t done much running there. I’m really looking forward to seeing the country from that perspective and to get the chance to share this experience with all the folks supporting us back home.

How does training for a race this epic differ from the work put into a traditional half- or full marathon?

Kelsey and Ian running in Haiti

Kelsey and Ian running in Haiti

Oh man, well, for starters, I have a wonderful running coach named Ryan Knapp. Having a coach is awesome and has taken my ability as a runner to a whole new level.

On our first phone call, Ryan told me that the thing about training for ultras isn’t that it’s necessarily hard, you just need to spend a lot of time running. To be clear, it is a lot of running. I’m spending about 8-10 hours running each week right now, and that doesn’t include time I spend cross training or recovering. It’s like having another part time job.

I’m lucky that working for a start-up [Thread] means long weird hours with lots of flexibility – so I can carve out time for running over lunch or in the afternoon. My weekends though have pretty much become devoted to running, stretching, eating, sleeping, and laundry. I’ve never in my life had to do so much laundry.

This is also the first time I’ve run to raise money. I very much believe in financially supporting organizations that do work you are passionate about, but running has always been a sort of selfish hobby I’ve done just for myself. Team Tassy does important work, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to use my love of running to help them further their mission in Haiti. You can donate here: www.crowdrise.com/khalling

How has Thread expanded since our last blog post about you?  What’s new with Team Tassy?

Haiti

Beautiful Haitian countryside

Thread is great! We expanded our operations to include Honduras, celebrated our 3rd birthday over the summer, moved into our own office space, launched our first product partnership with the amazing Moop, and have developed 8 responsible fabrics made from plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras.

We have some really exciting things on the horizon that we hope to announce throughout the year. 2015 is gonna be a good one.

Team Tassy continues to work with families providing emergency medical services, financial literacy education, job training and professional development, access to school, and whatever other support is needed for as long as it takes for a family to no longer need their assistance.

We’ll be posting and updating live from the race in Haiti – search for the hashtag #RunAcrossHaiti – I can be found online @hallingpreis and we’re hosting a happy hour at Franktuary on Wednesday, Jan. 28! Come eat hot dogs and drink dark and stormys with us!