A Future to Fuel – Part 1

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A legacy is only worthwhile when there is a future to fuel.

– Peyton Manning

I heard that quote awhile back when Peyton Manning was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. It honestly got to me a bit. I was watching the speech on my phone and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t help but watch the snippet that contained that quote a couple more times. It has left me thinking ever since.

It has left me thinking about where Runners Doing Good goes from here. I don’t have to make a decision right here and now by any means. Ragnar Trail Michigan opened up a awhile ago and I was ready to jump on it to lock in the price and didn’t. I have had businesses that have supported us well over the years and until the pandemic, it only got easier to earn those sponsorships. It wasn’t so simple this year.

I’ve put some feelers out on next year for runners and as you’d expect, barely 6 weeks past the big race and it’s definitely still too soon to be sure of anyone’s comfort level in signing up again. Life is different for all of us in 2021 than it was in 2019 when we set out on this most recent campaign. Many of us took time away this summer and when we came back, the pandemic is still there, seemingly ever present. Vacation didn’t make it go away. ’22 could be even better for the travel industry as maybe we’ll get this figured out by then. I don’t honestly know.

I do know that for 7 campaigns and 6 races, we’ve put our best foot forward. We’ve raised money for Kate’s Kart and NeighborLink Fort Wayne and have done well by them and consequently, I feel uniquely supported our community. We are moms and dads, medical professionals, civil servants, sales people, and life is busy in so many facets that we can’t “DO” what these organizations can and do on a daily basis. They are truly remarkable and special to the people they serve. After all of this time, I do feel satisfied in the efforts we’ve put forth on their behalf.

Is it enough that I could be satisfied in doing this for another 10 years? Is it enough that I could be satisfied in saying, “I’m good” and calling it a good run and move on?

Yes and Yes.

I feel the team has a legacy. We’ve earned a reputation. That’s something I’m incredibly proud of. When we lace ’em up, people know we’re going to run something that most people would deem absolutely crazy. We also raise a pretty solid sum of money, too! It’s that expectation that makes me smile because it was never supposed to be this but yet, an impact has continually been made year over year over year. Something nearly accidental has grown into something with a weight to it that is felt.

It is felt whether they knew it or not, by the children that received books. It is felt by those inspired to join our team. It is felt by the families with the warmer homes because their furnace was fixed. It is felt by those that have run year after year after year. And it is felt by me.

There’s a pressure to it all that borders on thrilling and panic inducing at times. It is overwhelming happiness when the fundraiser is rolling well. It’s also fear, disappointment, and frustration when it is not. It is regret when the midnight run through the woods is nightmare inducing and a joyous satisfaction due to the sense of accomplishment when it is over. I have sprouted tears of frustration and tears of joy and been ready to run through a wall I’ve been so excited and so angered. I have felt the rainbow of emotions and it has left me feeling full and able to step away from the table as well as wanting more all at the same time.

This has been a gift beyond measure but it is not just a gift for me. To receive the support that we have been getting for the better portion of a decade is something worth sharing and it’s why I feel that we’re not near the true finish line here but maybe nearing an evolution.

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I look at the pictures above and there are microevolutions with the collage that tell a story. The team has changed a few times over whether it’s the runners, the destination itself, the cause, and the type of race. There’s Chicago, Muskegon, Traverse City, Madison, and Grayling. Team 1 which produced the core for 2 and 3 that had the seeds of the core of 4, 5, and 6 within it. The necessary change from Kate’s Kart to NeighborLink Fort Wayne propelled us even farther ahead and the race format change for this year, team 6 that simplified the roster and produced probably the most easy going group we’ve ever had.

I think about the heat of 2016 that about broke us all and the wind and cold of ’18 which almost brought us to that point again. Surviving that made us even tougher and willing to tackle the bookend hills of Trail Michigan with a devilish grin and a proverbial middle finger to them, although, I’m not sure that some of us didn’t actually do that, too! Haha.

It’s the evolution and improvement that we’ve seen from one team to another, from one destination to another, from one format to another that gives me the belief that there’s more to come. So what does the next step look like?

Stay Tuned….

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