In the early 2010s, San Diego State softball fans grew familiar with seeing Lorena Bauer’s home run trot. One of the greatest sluggers in mid-major softball history, Bauer’s name still stands atop the Aztecs’ program record for both home runs and RBIs.
During the month of September, Bauer’s neighbors are becoming familiar with a similar sight, as the legendary softballer competes a unique challenge to benefit a charity that is close to her heart. Through the month of September, Bauer committed to run a total of 120 miles, and she’s doing it all while also pushing her two young children in a double-stroller.
Oh, and she happens to currently be 21 weeks pregnant with baby #3.
Bauer’s cause of choice is the Stop Soldier Suicide Foundation, a non-profit organization that says they are “on a mission to drastically reduce the military suicide rate by serving veterans struggling” with a variety of issues, including mental health. A veteran-founded and veteran-led organization, the 501(c)3 charity is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina; a statement on the organization’s website notes that the group serves service members, veterans, and military families from “every branch and every generation,” regardless of discharge status.
To say that Bauer comes from a military family would be true, but feels like an understatement. The military is more of a proud tradition within her bloodline. Her great-grandfather, Kenneth Klopp, jumped on D-Day in 1944 with the 82nd Airborne Division, a unit that figured prominently into the Allied invasion of Normandy. Bauer’s great-uncle was later drafted into the Vietnam War and was a helicopter pilot during that conflict.
Even in the current time, some of Bauer’s closest family members wear the uniform. “I’m naturally drawn to anything that supports men and women who have served our country,” Bauer said recently. “My husband is in the Navy, and has been for the past twelve years. [His] sister also served in the army, and then was in the reserves… My admiration for the military started when I was told about my great-grandfather on D-Day. His stories from his heroism and experiences in World War 2 are just absolutely incredible and I am so proud.”
The idea for racking up such extraordinary mileage on the pavement didn’t originate with Bauer; it actually began as a challenge from the Stop Soldier Suicide Foundation itself. September is recognized as National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month, and the organization issued a challenge for people to commit to walking or running 100 miles as a means of raising both funds and awareness for the charity.
Ever the competitor, Bauer raised the target number to 120 miles for herself and took the challenge head-on. “I saw this 100-mile challenge as another way of staying motivated while supporting a good cause,” Bauer noted. “I hope that my goal and journey to 120 miles will encourage people to donate, even $1, to this cause.”
The daily routine for Bauer and her daughters – ages 2 and almost 4 – regularly includes some daily exercise. “My girls absolutely love to ‘run’ with me,” Bauer remarked. “Throughout our runs, they sing and demand Goldfish and raisins and yell at me to go faster; they’re great motivators… now that I’m [21 weeks pregnant], I’ve found myself slowing down a tad and the miles seem just a little bit longer. But I still feel great and for that, I’m so thankful that I’m still able to remain so active.”
Less than halfway through it’s month-long run, Bauer’s fundraiser has nearly doubled her original goal. “I was totally shocked! [It’s] pretty awesome,” Bauer noted of her early fundraising success. The fundraiser is still accepting contributions, and can be found by following this link.