Some people will do anything for a few pastries.
On Saturday, Will and Todd Flanagan, two brothers from Austin, plan to run 50 miles from Bastrop to LaGrange in pursuit of a pile of cream cheese kolaches from Weikel’s Bakery, whose trademarked motto is “We gotcha kolache!”
Really, though, it’s not all about the kolaches. The brothers are using the run to raise money for the Gazelle Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Austin which builds systems that deliver clean water to residents of Burundi, Africa.
They plan to start their “Kolaches for a Cause” run at 2 a.m. Saturday, giving them – they hope – ample time to reach the bakery before 6 p.m., even if they have to hike part of the way.
“We don’t want pace to be a factor,” says Will Flanagan, 19, who dreamed up the event. He loves kolaches, and makes the 70-mile trek (by vehicle) from Austin to the bakery each birthday just to indulge.
Since 70 miles seemed extreme, though, Will and Todd decided to begin their run in Bastrop, thus shaving off 20 miles. Their route will follow back roads that parallel Highway 71. Their mother and older brother will join them on bicycles, and their father will provide automobile support. Friends will drive by and scream encouragement.
“We both like to run, but Will is much better at running that I am,” says Todd Flanagan, 22. “I’m hoping my mental strength can pull me through. We both run for a long time, but nowhere near this distance.”
The farthest either has run is 18 miles, and that happened only because they got lost. Todd is nursing a wonky knee, too. Both started running with Gilbert’s Gazelles, a running group headed by Burundi native Gilbert Tuhabonye, about 10 years ago. They learned from Tuhabonye that many residents of the African country must spend up to 4 hours a day just fetching clean water.
Money they raise through Saturday’s run will help fund one of nine water projects slated for construction by the Gazelle Foundation in Burundi in 2018. Each project reduces the distance people must walk to get water from 3 miles to a few hundred meters. They hope to raise $10,000; by Tuesday they’d raised about $1,100.
Weikel’s is donating a tray of kolaches to the cause.
It probably won’t last long. At Texas A&M University, where Todd Flanagan attends school, students traditionally drop their class ring into a pitcher of beer and drink their way down to it. Flanaga skipped the beer and instead filled his pitcher with donut holes – 51 of them – and ate his way to his ring.
To donate, go here.