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Continued: Extreme feats become fodder for social media fundraising; how to cash in is unclear

Christopher Durant of Dellwood raised $10,388 for the STEP Up program at Augsburg College by running Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth in June. Meanwhile, William O’Keefe’s page shows the St. Louis Park runner raised $362 for the same marathon for the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Mike and Janice Dimond of Excelsior have raised $7,265 by running half-marathons in 14 states, part of an effort to raise $25,000 over several years for Feed My Starving Children. Chris Gardener of Duluth last year ran 16 hours on a treadmill, bringing in $1,925 for the Duluth Area YMCA.

Hobbs was happy to reach his $14,000 goal, until he discovered the disparities when he got home.

“I just got an e-mail from a woman who climbed one mountain and raised $150,000,” said Hobbs. “She obviously knew something that I don’t.”

Unlikely mountaineer

Hobbs was a first-time major fundraiser. He grew up on a hobby farm in Wisconsin, ran an organic lawn care business in Minneapolis and now invests in housing.

A trip to India opened his eyes to the harsh reality facing children in developing countries. He chose to scale mountain peaks “because it was a challenge.” He had some ­experience climbing the Rockies, as his parents now live in Boulder.

Hobbs hastily put together his fundraising plan in July, sending e-mails to friends and family and creating a Facebook page called “Run Dan Run.” His mom updated the page regularly with photos and his locations during the climb.

By Aug. 10, he was in Colorado with $500 worth of Power Bars and enough money to buy a small truck, a small camper and climbing shoes. Ten days later, still adjusting to the altitude, he set off with his father, Forrest Hobbs, who accompanied him on parts of his journey.

Back home in Minneapolis, Hobbs opened his laptop and clicked on photos taken at 57 peaks. In some, Hobbs is smiling and framed by clear blue skies. In others, fog is so dense his body is a blur. In one night photo, he and his father are wearing lighted helmets and looking cold and exhausted after a 20-hour climb that covered five 14,000-foot peaks.

“This was taken at 1 a.m., after we got done being lost,” Hobbs said, remembering the fear. “You’re sitting on a cliff. You’re in the dark. You don’t know how to get down.”

Climbing up, running down and then driving to the next mountain trailhead — squeezing in some sleep and some pasta or soup. That was the routine of 24 days. The last few days also involved maneuvering around mudslides and trees downed by Colorado’s historic flooding.

Unusual effort

Even for the veteran Save the Children organization, it was a remarkable feat. Said Rossetti: “Dan is unique.” Save the Children is very pleased with the $14,000 raised, he said.

“Getting on top of the mountain isn’t the point,” Rossetti said. “It’s the journey. Dan could inspire a whole generation of climbers.”

Hobbs, who is still accepting donations, is inspired to do more. But he will review his fundraising strategy.

Next time, he said, “I think second time around, people have more trust in you.”


  • related content

  • Dan Hobbs of Minneapolis climbed 57 mountain peaks in Colorado in just over 25 days as a fundraiser for Save the Children. His appeals on social media netted $14,000 for the charity.

  • Back home in Minneapolis, Hobbs says he’s inspired to do more for charity, but he intends to review his fundraising strategy.

  • Dan Hobbs climbed a ridge of the Crestone Needle, a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado, as part of an effort to help Save the Children.

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