This picture was taken from dinner this past year in Whitehall, MI. I rate these two dinners so highly because they really were the beginning of another phase for the team. We’ve had change on the team and I think that’s something which brings growth.
For us though, from ’17 to ’18, the team really turned over in a big way. When you’re a bunch of adults doing this kind of thing, this needs to find in and amongst life for it to work. For Jenn and I, it’s lasted this long because we’ve made it work but we’ve not felt that anyone from any year is beholden to doing it the following year. There’s certainly no contracts involved in this.
So from ’17 to 18, like I mentioned, change happened. Jenn, Michael, Andrew, and I were the only runners from ’17 to commit to ’18’s team as runners. Artie stayed on but as a driver, bringing Amanda with him. We brought back Cherri and Ryan, who’d run in ’16 so there was definitely some familiarity with how we operated there for them but as far as newbies went, we added Ashley, Kelly, Chris, Melissa, Matt, and Amanda. In total, 8 of our 12 hadn’t run the year before and with going to Michigan vs. Chicago, change was the name of the game for us. We event lost Andrew a few days before the race which kept things interesting for how we approached the race so again, more change and adaptation.
From ’18 to ’19, we saw some change, but not nearly at the same level. We lost Ashley and Melissa and gained Chris and Amy-Jo, only to lose her to a last second emergency as well.
Why these dinners rate so high, though, is while we had had dinners in Madison in years passed that can’t be ignored, having so many new people that the majority of the team was getting to know all at once, especially that first year in ’18, it was extremely cool to see how quickly the team came together and it’s why those teams will always be special. Those dinners kicked it all off.