Des Moines University has some great connections to the IMT Des Moines Marathon series, which will take place this year on Oct. 14-15. First, the University has been recognized as a sponsor for several years because of the volunteer power DMU students and faculty bring to the event’s athlete recovery zone. They provide osteopathic treatments, physical therapy and foot and ankle first aid to runners post-race.
That came about after alumnus Rich Green, M.S.P.T.’92, took office as the marathon’s medical services director. The director of physical and hand therapy for Des Moines Orthopedic Surgeons, he fully understands the importance of opportunities for students to interact with real patients. They get to hone their skills and advocate for their professions while providing relief to the athletes.
“Every year, the runners remark at how the experience at the marathon compares and, many times, outpaces the bigger races,” he says. “The attention to detail, such as the services provided in the recovery zone, is a huge contributor to that experience.”
Another cool connection between DMU and the IMT Des Moines Marathon are Barb and Rick Wilkerson. Rick, a 1980 graduate of DMU’s osteopathic medical program and the “senior guy” at Northwest Iowa Bone, Joint and Sports Surgeons PC in Spencer, IA, went on a medical service trip to Haiti in 2010. He returned determined to help an orphanage, La Concorde, in Port-au-Prince that had been devastated by an earthquake in 2010. With the support of many friends and community members in Iowa, the Wilkersons established Love Takes Root, a nonprofit organization determined to improve the lives of children, beginning with the kids at La Concorde.
What does all that have to do with the marathon? Love Takes Root has a team, Roots Runners, whose members participate in races around the country, including in Des Moines, to raise funds for the organization.
“The Des Moines Marathon is in our hearts since it was our first run, and we are Iowa-based,” says Barb, a pediatric nurse practitioner. She and Rick encourage people to join the effort by collecting pledges and running in the marathon. Love Takes Root (LTR) has a committee to assist participants with fundraising, and the team has access to a virtual coach and dietitian.
“The best part is this is an all-volunteer organization, so it has minimal overhead,” Barb says. “Ninety-eight cents of every dollar you raise goes directly to the project in Haiti.”
And what a project it is: Since LTR began, its supporters have moved the orphanage from Port-au-Prince to a safer area two hours’ south. La Concorde now has boys’ and girls’ cottages, a school, a well, a dining hall with a kitchen and a staff house. The construction was done by local residents. LTR also is working to advance the orphanage’s self-sustainability.
Interested in joining the Wilkersons and the Roots Runners to “run with a purpose, run for a cause”? Check out Love Takes Root’s website or call 855-440-LOVE (5683). You’ll raise money for a life-changing cause. And after the Des Moines Marathon, you’ll get great post-race treatment from DMU students!