Chris Hanson ’13 Creates “Miles for Moms”

By Georgia Travers

Perhaps due to our short trimester system, or maybe just because of the multi-talented, driven, and somewhat frenetic type of students that Dartmouth College tends to attract, we are all perpetually “pretty busy,” “hangin’ in there” or otherwise over-extended. Nevertheless, we Dartmouth students periodically initiate projects, programs, and various other sorts of extracurricular endeavors, both time consuming and impressive, out of the genuine conviction that the import of certain causes transcends that of other claims on our time.

Hanson

Chris Hanson ’13, Miles for Moms founder.

One such example is Sophomore Chris Hanson. Last year, as a freshman, Hanson finished the season as the top-ranked player on the Varsity Men’s Squash team, as well as earning the honors of All-American and All-Ivy. Coming into his second season, he had two daily practices to balance, along with a heavy course load and the considerable time commitment involved in pledging Alpha Delta fraternity. Nevertheless, Chris had a different focus for the term: raising money for breast cancer research.

In 2002, Chris’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease that Chris’s grandmother had also suffered and defeated. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Chris was determined to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “I had gotten into running over the summer,” Chris explained, “and I enjoy it a lot, so I thought I could use that to fundraise.” Chris got the idea to run as far as he could cumulatively during the month of October, and decided to invite his friends and teammates to sponsor him per/mile in order to raise money. Chris’ roommate Dave came up with a fitting name for his initiative: Miles For Moms.

“I just blitzed out about it to a couple of people,” Chris said, “but responses were much more enthusiastic than I’d anticipated. Everyone blitzed it out to their friends and stuff. I was shocked to see how many people have been touched by breast cancer.” Chris told people he was aiming for a goal of about 150 miles, so as to enable his supporters to gauge how much to commit to donate per mile.

Chris began running on October 1st. “I ran about 50 miles in the first week,” he explained. “I would run outside wearing all kinds of pink clothing, so that people would kind of stop and say, ‘Hey that’s the kid running for breast cancer.’” Over the course of the entire month, Chris took only two days off, and often ran outside in the pouring rain. “I was getting up at 6am a lot of mornings to run, and then doing all the squash workouts in addition,” said Chris. “It was definitely a lot.”

Over the entire month of October, Chris averaged almost 6 miles a day. “Running long distance isn’t great training for squash,” Chris explained, “so I would sometimes go down to the track and do four miles of 100 yard sprints or something. Then over the weekend I would do a longer run to get more mileage.”

By October 29th, Chris had run 150 miles. “I ran 12 miles on the 30th, and on Halloween I did a half marathon,” he said. “I finished that last run with a victory lap around the Green. My mom came up and watched the end and a lot of my friends came out too. It was really exciting.”

By the end of October, Chris had run 175 miles. Using only blitz, word of mouth, and a Facebook group, Chris managed to raise about $57/mile, or almost $10,000, for his charity, Miles For Moms. True to character, Chris was incredibly humble about this exceptional achievement. “I owe a lot to the amazing support of my friends, and the inspiration of my mom, who has always cared deeply about philanthropy,” he said. “I’m amazed how many people wanted to help,” Chris concluded, “and I just can’t wait to do it again next October.” And that’s a plan that we can all get behind. Wa Hoo Wah!