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Defending Children is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

October 6, 2022

5 Minute Read

Thorn celebrates 10 years with 26.2 miles at the NYC Marathon

That’s right, the NYC Marathon.

We’re running to garner support and awareness for our mission: building technology and programs to defend children from sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse is one humanity’s most egregious crimes– and it is exacerbated by the internet. And while it often occurs on the darkest corners of the internet, images and videos documenting the sexual abuse of children also circulate on the platforms we use everyday.

Put simply, technology has made it easier to harm kids.

At Thorn, we combat this growing issue of child sexual exploitation through three strategic pillars:

• We build tools that help investigators stay ahead of perpetrators and identify more child victims.

• We build solutions for tech companies to remove abuse content from their platforms.

• We empower youth and their communities with the resources needed to have safer online experiences.

Run, Team Thorn, Run

To get to the finish line, we have set some big goals to raise funds and awareness for our mission. Every dollar raised will help ensure that Thorn can continue to innovate and enable children to be safe, curious, and happy – now, and for generations to come.

We knew we couldn’t do this on our own so we assembled Team Thorn from 100 strong, courageous, compassionate runners.

Leading Team Thorn is co-founder Ashton Kutcher who has partnered with Peloton for his training with special guests each week in a new series called Our Future Selves.

Introducing a few of our runners

Over the past few months, Team Thorn has been training physically and supporting each other emotionally for the big race. We caught up with Lily, External Affairs Manager and Melissa, Head of Research & Insights to share their experiences.

What is your “why” for running the marathon for Thorn?

  • Lily: I run to prove to myself that I’m strong. After a couple of very difficult years for my family, this marathon feels like the opportunity to celebrate my strength. To feel gratitude that, even after navigating a hard season, I still choose to seek out difficult things with the mindset that they’ll make me stronger. I feel proud of that part of me & running is a way to really connect with it. 
  • Melissa: I’ve had a marathon on my “List” for a long time. I finally converted hating running into enjoying it in my 20s and completed my first half when I turned 30. A few months later, I broke my ankle while training for my first marathon. The next year, broken wrist. And after that? Well, frankly, I lost momentum. Then this opportunity came around. It was the first time in nearly a decade I thought maybe the when and why was finally right. I’d have a team to train with and would be raising money for a cause to which I’ve committed my professional career. And when it feels hard – really hard – I remind myself I chose this. I got to choose this hard and I can tap out at any time, but the kids we are fighting for can’t. That’s worth running for.

What has this experience taught you?

  • Lily: I’ve learned that me and my first mile will never be friends. I never enjoy mile 1. In fact, I usually hate it. So I’ve learned to scrap any expectations, give myself some grace, and take that time to let my body find its groove. I’m sure there’s a life lesson for my anxious and impatient brain somewhere in there. 
  • Melissa: Much like in this work, a community makes such a difference. Even though I’ll be the one lining up on race day, the support I’ve had through this experience has been invaluable. From the people donating to my fundraiser, to my Thorn teammates sharing tips to beat the chafe, to my husband keeping me stocked with ice and chocolate cake. I don’t think I’d be this far going it alone.

What’s your go-to, pump-up song?

  • Lily: If any Stevie Wonder song comes on I am FLYING!
  • Melissa: So…I don’t usually listen to music on my runs. That said, I love listening to music on my drive to the trailhead to wake up. “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman is my son’s personal power ballad and it squeezes my heart and reminds me who I work for everyday. Also, the vocals though!

What are you most looking forward to doing immediately after crossing the finish line?

  • Lily: My partner, Scott, and one of our closest friends, Donovan, are both running, too — I can’t wait to hug them both and celebrate over beers and french fries! 
  • Melissa: I am coveting that NYC marathon cape – and probably an ugly, cathartic cry.

Let’s go the distance together

Over the last decade, Thorn has made a monumental impact defending children … and we’re just getting started.

As we close in on the starting line of the NYC Marathon, we need your support to reach our goals and ensure a safer world for kids.

Thank you for helping us defend happiness.

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