On November 12, two chaplains hit the Las Vegas Strip for a good cause. Sharp HospiceCare chaplains Solomon Hailu and John Tastad ran the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in Las Vegas to raise money to support Sharp HospiceCare patients.
“Sharp HospiceCare is a nonprofit organization, and no one is ever turned away from care because of an inability to pay,” says Kate Wayne, senior director of development for Grossmont Hospital Foundation, who works with Sharp HospiceCare on fundraising efforts. “The funds that are raised will go toward services and resources for patients who may otherwise be unable to pay. We applaud John, Solomon and all of Sharp HospiceCare for their dedication and commitment to comprehensive comfort care at the end of life.”
This was Hailu’s third Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon and Tastad’s fifth. Sharp Health News spoke with the chaplains before they left for Las Vegas.
What motivates you to participate in the Las Vegas Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon?
John: We are excited to raise funds for Sharp HospiceCare, and are appreciative of the incredible work that staff members offer every day. The marathon took on a new meaning following the tragic shooting that occurred in Las Vegas. It will feel good to be part of a large group of runners who will demonstrate resiliency in the face of difficulty, by going ahead with the marathon in Las Vegas. I am certain that both Solomon and I will be deeply touched by remembering what happened, and paying tribute to the victims. We will also honor the many, many helpers, people who stepped up to make a difference in the lives of others.
Solomon: I am also running the marathon because it’s a different experience. The race is at night and the course is under the Las Vegas lights, which seems exciting.
How have you been training for this marathon?
Solomon: I run 35 to 40 miles a week. My long runs are on weekends or my days off. The long runs vary from 10 to 20 miles a day. So far, I am doing well.
John: I ran the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania in February, and I have been able to stay in pretty good shape since then. During the summer when it was hot, I put in a significant number of miles on the treadmill. Now that it is a bit cooler, I have been hitting the road regularly. My long runs on the weekend almost always start in the cool morning air at South Mission Beach. I run along the bay or beach boardwalk. I practice ChiRunning, which is a style of running that uses tai chi principles, and has helped me remain injury-free for the past nine years.
What do you hope to accomplish from running the marathon?
John: We set a goal to raise $3,000 for Sharp HospiceCare, and currently we are over a third of the way to that goal. Training for a marathon requires some discipline and persistence — great traits that carry over into our professional lives. We would like to finish the marathon in about four hours.
Solomon: Though I was born and grew up in the running country of Ethiopia, I didn’t get into running until later in life. I did run short distances for my own exercise purposes. Running is my therapy. I release some emotions by being in nature and beating the earth. Personally, my goal is to stay fit and enjoy the fun of running and the race days. There is a unique feeling during the race days — the camaraderie and the euphoria of adventure at the finish line. I hope I can continue to run as much as I am able in the future.