Thoughts on The Future of Runners Doing Good

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create it.”

Abraham Lincoln
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It’s been awhile since I’ve chimed in. Personally, that’s been a bit on purpose. Since Ragnar Trail Michigan, life has been….full. There’s just been a lot on the plate from fitting in a trip with friends to the start of school for the kiddos and honestly, I’m tired.

I ran a 5K 6-7 weeks ago and it was the first time that I’d run at all since Ragnar Trail and I’ve not since then. I’m a much better fundraiser than a runner. Even more shocking, I set a reasonable goal for the race since at that point, I’d not run in a month, and it beat that goal by 30 seconds so I was pretty happy about that.

Over the last few weeks though, I keep having these thoughts of what’s next for Runners Doing Good. Honestly, I’ve been torn. I have, for a couple of years now, gone from campaign to campaign, with the idea that if I did nothing more, that I’d be ok with that. There’s a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished and I’ll always have that. Part of me though, struggles with that.

We started off as a running group with a goal to raise a little money and now we’re more of a fundraising group that happens to run these crazy events as a way to spur people to support us. We’ve done a lot of good. We’ve raised more than $42,000 for area charitable organizations and individuals and that’s HUGE!

The struggle has been that I’ve had groups either try to take control of the team, fail to show support for our campaigns or even an expression of thanks, and even forget about us completely when there was a change of leadership.

We haven’t taken on a fundraising campaign once for the notoriety, the fame, or a pat on the back for the work done. It’s always been about the cause at hand and I am a firm believer that regardless of how things pan out organizationally, we supported the right things at the right time and I can rest my head at night knowing that.

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So what does the future look like? For me, there’s a couple of things I’d love to do whether it is 2023 or beyond.

First, just as mentioned in the link, if we run RDG back out there, it’ll be as an entity unto itself. If we’re going to have to promote the heck out of it and do all of the legwork to make it successful, we’re going to do this on behalf of ourselves and choose who we want to benefit. This year proved that we could be more independent and having no other organizations’ goals or standards on us, did make it easier.

What could that look like? There are several great charities here in Fort Wayne that I’d love to help support in some manner. Supporting our community is very important to RDG. Whether we’re talking the Mad Anthony’s Childrens Hope House, Gigi’s Playhouse, or the Community Harvest Foodback, we’ll see but the point is that those are great examples of organizations that I would love to support. I can easily see a RDG comprised of folks raising money for one of them.

Additionally, I would like to see see RDG benefit other organizations at the state and national level. One based in Indiana is the Light for Levi Foundation. I’ve followed their story for awhile and to bring something so positive to the world through such a difficult time is inspiring. Click on their link above and learn more.

Another is Brave Like Gabe. Brave Like Gabe was founded by Gabe Grunewald, a kick-ass runner who was diagnosed with a rare cancer and lived her life to the fullest it could possibly be. Several months before she passed, we connected on Instagram through the Runners Doing Good page and corresponded a bit. I hadn’t heard of her but the more I learned, the more I found out how incredible she was. I had this vision of running Ragnar Road Minnesota with a team to benefit BLG. I still think that one could happen. Maybe I can talk Justin Grunewald into doing it. I wonder what the fastest known time for that race is?

I’d love for Runners Doing Good to become a conduit for groups to raise a lot of money for their causes. I don’t necessarily want or need to run all of these races myself but the running community is pretty amazing. People will spend countless dollars to participate in all sorts of events for solo endeavors but when you bring them together in the way that only a relay event does, you have a powerful entity that can do amazing things by pulling in each team member’s network into play.

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Beyond RDG, from a personal standpoint, there are 3 things I’m looking at in 2023:

  1. Run a half marathon or two. This is a goal of mine and The Indy Mini is as good of a race as they come and it’s so close to me that it’d be a mistake not to do it at some point. I’d also like to run the half at the Fort 4 Fitness. I love that race so much and it’s a home game.
  2. Run a Ragnar….for fun. We’ve done so much for charity that I battle through everything that’s involved with the organizing of the event which has been more and more involved but at the detriment of my training. I think it’d be a blast to dedicate myself to one just for fun and in a cool location.
  3. 29029. It’s not exactly running but it seems so epic. The general idea is to bring Everest to you. This group puts on a 36 hour event at a ski resort where you hike 3-5 miles of accumulating elevation till you reach the top. In total, you will hit 29,029 feet of elevation gained during the event, equaling Mt. Everest. It sounds so unique and challenging that the concept of the event that just seems painfully appealing. Of the 3 on listed here, it’s the least likely at this point for 2023. As crazy as it is, it’s nearly $5,000 to participate. Wow. Maybe when Runners Doing Good is a full blown non-profit and we’ve got a huge budget that can happen. haha
  4. Start the book. I think there’s something about this nearly decade long adventure that is worth telling. It’s hard to look back and not be nostalgic. There’s so many great experiences that I’ve been blessed to be a part of as well as some learning experiences that I’m grateful for experiencing too. It’s worth sharing.

Overall, I feel more at peace and happier with what we’ve done than ever before. I struggle with the idea of not doing a Ragnar as a big event so I’m not really sure that this is it. Some of this just needs to be easier to do and more family-centric. There’s a balance there that is necessary and if that can be found, watch out! We might just make the last 8 years look like kids’ play.

Best pic of any Ragnar. Shooting star!

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