Strive 2 Survive | Brown Clinic » Strive2Survive: a Watertown Wellness Program

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A Running Doc’s Life: Mission Accomplished!

Well, we did it! Our Watertown group of runners, the majority of which are part of the Watertown Area Run Club, finished our runs in the Twin Cities last week, finishing either the 10 mile run, or the marathon. All of this done for raising awareness, and money, for Friedreich’s Ataxia! I have written on this several times in the past, but this last Sunday was the day that brought it all together. The last 4 months we have all been working hard at training, and raising money for this cause. We succeeded! Everybody was able to run, and in particular, me. I had a leg injury 2 weeks prior to this day, but was able to still run, and I ran it with Sarah. I helped pace her through mile 21, then the leg was bothering quite a bit, and she helped me finish. We are the ultimate team…the ultimate running partner…my one and only! Thank you very much Sarah! This was her first marathon, and we were helping each other get to the finish line. The finish line though was the success for the marathon, but the ultimate success was the journey we had along the way. The journey we had with all of our “running family”…all in this for the benefit of someone else. We all now have memories for a lifetime!


The idea for all of this started back in February when Tom Batta asked to see if we would be interested. His daughter Ryanne has this genetic, neuromuscular disease, and is one of 4 in the Watertown Community to have this. This is a pretty significant number of people affected by this for this small community, as it is present in about 1 in 50,000 people. We are a community of 20,000! We should not have any! We all jumped on board with this, and even though we may have been raising money for this cause, I think it is pretty safe to say out of all of us running, we are the ones who benefited by doing this! I have never felt more connected to a group of people ever! It was a great learning experience for me…for us! ALL of us were going to do this, and willingly accepted this challenge! This picture was a large portion of us a few weeks prior to the marathon!

We all wore our shirts many times these past few weeks. Here we all our posing for the front of the shirt…

…and the back of the shirt!

Together we will find a cure! Together we will run for them! Together we will do this, and not think about our own personal times/goals/aspirations. Those all help, but the motivation for this run was why we were doing this, and how we were going to help someone else. It truly goes beyond words!

This is the group running the night prior to the event after going out for spaghetti and pasta, with some of the people we were running for, including Danny Rieffenberger, a second cousin of mine. We were ready to go, and they were ready to cheer us on!

Sarah and I were helping each other out, and trying to keep smiling. I admit, it got tough after mile 21…my leg hurt, it started pouring out, and did not quit until an hour after we were done. We kept pushing each other, and kept hoping everybody else was doing ok as well. We were a team, and wanted everybody coming in without any problems. We raised money as a team, we were in this together as a team, but we were running as “family”…a family that worries about each other, cares about each other, and works hard for each! Together…Together we will find a cure!


Sarah and I were coming across the finish together…this will be a great memory for me forever! We came across together, and pushed each other during the training time, and the day of the marathon!

I love this picture! It captures everything of the moment! I personally was struggling those last miles and had to keep walk/run because my leg was giving out! Sarah stood by me, pushed me, encouraged me! The elements of the weather was making is challenging as well. I had to keep telling myself that my pain and struggles would be temporary…we were in this for people who cannot run…who cannot do what the rest of us take for granted every day. This then motivated me to throw another surge in and keep going…for them! The look on my face shows a lot of relief at being done, and I was! I did not know if I was going to even be able to run this event, or finish, so the fact that I did, that is all that matters. I wanted to run this race more than any other one I have been in before. Why? Because I was truly running for someone else…we were all running for someone else, and it felt good! It changed all of our lives, and I only hope that with the money we helped raise, that we can help make a difference in the fight for Friedreich’s Ataxia! For this, we will keep running! Keep moving everybody!

Dr. Dan

Consecutive Exercise Day #: 3662

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