Few can closely identify with the serious runner — those early rising souls who tie on the well-worn Nikes each day and hit the trails before the sun has risen over the misty White Rock Spillway. Whether it’s a muggy 90-degree morning or a frozen one in February, they are there. In most cases, the compulsives can’t tell you exactly why they do it, only that they can’t not run. Others, like Jayson Bales, are driven by a cause.

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Last year, Bales’ friend Carter Albrecht, a Dallas musician was shot and killed by a homeowner who mistook him for an intruder. Albrecht’s death stunned the local music community and left Kenneth and Judy Albrecht mourning their 34-year-old son.

As the one-year anniversary of Carter’s death approached, Bales had finished a couple half-marathon races and was tossing around the idea of training for the December 2008 White Rock Marathon. That’s when he had the idea.

“I could do this — generate some synergy, some awareness and raise money for the foundation.”

The “foundation” is one started by Kenneth and Judy Albrecht shortly after their son’s funeral. Musical education was something Carter believed in, Kenneth says, and forming the nonprofit was a way to honor him. Since Carter’s death, many area musicians have rallied together to remember Carter and raise money. Through benefit concerts to support the foundation, many artists have provided needed resources to struggling musicians and music students.

Bales’ fundraising efforts are exceptional. Tackling a 26.2-mile marathon is no easy feat. It takes daily workouts with increased mileage week after week. Bales, who is a financial planner by day, is documenting his training on the blog, runningisforcrazypeople.blogspot.com.

“Today marks the one-year anniversary of a major loss in our community, particularly the arts community,” Bales writes in a September blog post, “Carter is … in heaven right now probably playing music for angels. I have a training run today for the marathon and I hope it proves to be a light on this otherwise dark day.”

Bales has donated money from business speaking engagements to the foundation, and Kenneth Albrecht says Bales has offered not only financial support but also comfort during dark times.

“We had one fundraising concert that didn’t go over as well as we had hoped. The next day Jayson e-mailed me and said basically, ‘Hey, I saw you looked a little frustrated last night. Don’t worry about it. Things are going to get better.’ That’s the kind of guy he is — he told me the loss of Carter brought a lot of things into perspective for him and that if 10 or 20 years from now kids and the local music community could be benefiting from this, that he wanted to be a part of it.”

The White Rock Marathon, known simply as “The Rock” around here, is a good fit for Bales’ cause.

“The marathon has become an event that brings in lots of cool musical acts,” Jayson says. “My band even played it one year.”

Last year more than 40 bands played along the race route and at before- and after-run parties.
   By keeping the online journal and accepting sponsorships, Bales stays focused on the goal at hand.

“Once people write you checks, you have to go through with it.”

Donate to the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation at carteralbrechtmusicfoundation.org.