We did it!

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8 runners, 16.25 miles each, plus a fair share of sun and 90 degree heat later, Ragnar Trail Michigan is in the books! Every year brings about challenges and this year certainly did but after 130 miles or running across approximately 30 hours, they’re still smiling!

A full race recap will be coming but for now, thank you to all who have supported this team. It ranks right up there with some of the very best we’ve had. They were all so easy going that no matter what came their way, they just handled it without even blinking. It’s definitely a group that I’ll cherish for a long time.

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Meet the Team #7 – Jake

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In the last of our newbies, I’m proud to introduce you to Jake, Lindsay’s hubby. As I mentioned in her intro, I’ve known the both of them for more than 20 years but with Jake, it goes back much farther than that. I’ve known him since early grade school as he was just a year ahead of me.

We went to grade school and high school together. Jake can partially be blamed for my intro to track. I had just been cut from baseball tryouts and still wanted to be a part of a team. I had talked to him and he said they’d still take kids on the team so I came out and the first week trying to hang with him was hell. He was on the long distance team and they’d been practicing for weeks at that point and I….hadn’t. It was miles upon miles that first week and I just couldn’t do it. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a 2-3 mile run to a course away from school, followed by about 5-6 mile relays with him, and then the 2-3 mile run back. By the time I made it back, I was green. Proudly, I never threw up but my mom was the last car in the parking lot and obviously worried about me. I became a sprinter and long jumper that next week.

I always come back to this but my Junior year, his Senior, we ended up in a study hall together but routinely, we didn’t have any homework to do. Our first semester of it was really laid back. The teacher basically had very few rules and we just hung out that whole hour. It was the last “class” of the day so it was an easy way to finish the day off and get ready for track practice.

The second semester was much different. The teacher demanded silence, no sleeping, and you had to be working. That was a problem for us. Again, we oftentimes had our work done ahead of time so that was going to be a long semester, until he worked out the best last semester of his Senior year and something that I still look back on and laugh about.

Because we were deemed good kids, he sweet talked a teacher, who was known for being pretty tough, into letting him and somehow myself, grade papers occasionally for her. And when I mean occasionally, it was maybe once a week and for that, somehow we were allowed to, unsupervised, hang out in this teacher’s room and watch TV while finishing up any homework, if we had it. We got in trouble one time because we found Saturday Night Live on TV and were laughing too loud at it. Late 90’s SNL was much better than today. I thought we were done for then but we weren’t. We even, as Cubs’ fans, watched the Kerry Wood 20 strikeout game in that study hall. I think we made it to about 12 when the day was over.

Long story short, Jake’s always been someone that I’ve enjoyed being around and a few year’s later when he and Lindsay were getting married, I had the pleasure of being in the wedding. He’s always had a way of including me in things like that and I’ve always felt fortunate.

It’s why when we were looking at the prospect of 3 new runners that I had to ask them. I’ve known that Lindsay’s been a runner for a long time and Jake and I had run the Fort 4 Fitness 4 miler together the first or second year they had it and he’s run half marathon’s more recently.

I just didn’t know if a Ragnar Relay was the type of thing they’d be into but I had to ask so when I saw my shot, I took it. It was after church and I through out this, “Not sure what you think but….” And gave him the speech about it and what we’re looking to do. He didn’t even hesitate and said, “yea that might work.” I got his email and sent them both the info and within a day they were both signed up in the ragnar site as members of Runners Doing Good.

It’ll be great to have both Jake and Lindsay running with us this year. They’re awesome people and I think they’ll fit in perfectly with our team. It’s just hard to believe we’re only a week away….

If you’d like to support Jake, the team, and the Dee Family, please donate through the Facebook page if you’re reading this through that site OR, please visit our GoFundMe page below to give today.

GoFundMe

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They’re Coming Home!

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This will be short but it is with great excitement that we announce that after 25 days in Colombia and countless hours of work to get paperwork and everything right with the adoption and then the necessary visa needs to leave the country, the Dee Family….

IS COMING HOME!!!!

We are so happy for them and with them nothing but safe travels and a restful night in their own beds tonight.

As I’m sure there will still be expenses to cover upon their return, please consider giving either through Facebook or through GoFundMe at the links below:

GoFundMe

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A Family of 6!!!

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Now this is the type of update that we’ve been waiting to give for some time. Over the last couple of weeks, the Dee Family embarked on their trip to Colombia to adopt their daughter-to-be. It’s been a trip that, in a small group text, Tony described as, “A once in a lifetime trip. It’s a trip that changes you.”

It brings us great joy to share the following from the Dee Family in their own words:

“BIG ADOPTION NEWS!!!

We can now announce that we are officially a family of 6!!

Please Welcome Mafe to our family!

(Pronounced Mah-Fay- this is her Colombian nickname which she has chosen to adopt as her first name)

Throughout this journey, Jeremiah 29:11 has come up over and over again “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.

Hope. That word specifically has shown up everywhere, even in our pre-encuentro meeting, our in-country rep talked about Hope. I almost started crying because I just knew that Mafe’s middle name should be Hope. 💜💜

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And now it’s a matter of time, hopefully in the next several days, that arrangements will be made, and they’ll work their way back to the states and we can welcome all 6 of them home.

For now though, it is with warm hearts that Team Runners Doing Good congratulates Jayme, Tony, the girls, and young Mafe on their new life together as a family of 6. We couldn’t be happier for you all.

Sincerely,

Runners Doing Good

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Meet the Team #6 – Kelsey

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It’s that time of the week again! We’re introducing another runner for Team Runners Doing Good and today, we are thrilled to say that Kelsey is on our team. She’s one of the very best teachers we have at our school and her infectiously positive attitude is something we’re can’t wait to have be a part of this team.

In addition to being an all-around great person, I’ve been told that she’s been a lifelong runner who’s pretty kickass too. Check out that half marathon picture. That’s just awesome.

Having someone of her caliber on all fronts is a big deal for us and we’re glad she doesn’t mind hanging out with the rest of us who are about as fast as a herd of turtles!

A Ragnar is always an adventure and having someone like her on the team, we can’t lose…..That’s more of sentiment. We’ll certainly lose but we’ll have more fun because she’s on the team! Ha!

If you’re as big of a fan of Kelsey as we are and would like to support the team, please visit our gofundme page to benefit the Dees right now!

Click below:

Runners Doing Good 4 Dee Family Adoption

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Team Update

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This is a picture of the finish line at last year’s Ragnar Trail Relay in Grayling, MI. 3 of our runners will be new this year. We’ve already told you about Lyndsay but we have 2 more to discuss as well but there is another big difference with this year’s team.

Because we’re doing this without a net and have no sponsorship, we’ve had an agreement with the Dee’s that our expenses would net out of the fundraiser once our matching cap was hit. We’ve met that requirement fully and as noted in a prior Campaign Update, they’re looking at netting out, right now, at more than $9500.

That said, we still have some expenses that we have to cover. Our promise was that our portion would come last. Operating a Ragnar Trail team isn’t entirely cheap and because of our lack of non-profit status and lack of partnership with a non-profit organization this year, we’ve had zero sponsorship to help with the expenses that have largely been covered over the last few years.

We have done an exceptional job of limiting costs this year. In 2021, our costs approached $3500 with most all of that covered thru sponsorships.

This year, we’ve cut that down to approximately $1450! That’s a massive reduction in costs but today, we’re currently at a bit below $1100. There are a couple of things that we may be able to trim but if we can just come up with a bit more, it’d cover all of our needs and be immensely helpful.

And here’s the pledge, if we raise more than what our needs are, the rest will go to back to the Dee Family fundraiser to assist with any further costs that are left beyond what we raised.

Thank you all for your support of what we’ve been able to do this year. It’s been truly appreciated by us and the Dee’s. This has been a tremendously creative campaign that’s proven just as successful.

If you can help, please see the links below:

Facebook: RDG 4 DFA

GoFundMe: RDG 4 DFA

Thanks again and we can’t wait to share our running adventure with you all as it draws near.

Sincerely,

Gabe – Runners Doing Good

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Map Update!

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This map. It might be one of my favorite things AND challenges of our fundraising efforts. It shows so much and as we’ve grown and evolved over the last couple of years, it literally puts a smile on my face.

To me, it shows growth. A couple of years ago, we might have gotten donations from 10-12 different states but now, through the love and generosity of so many people connected to the team and within the running community, we have received donations from 19 different states and if we can just get a few more, we’ll have covered half of the country. To me, that’s just remarkable.

It also shows potential. There are so many people within the running community and there are so many different things that I believe Runners Doing Good can be and do but spreading the word about the team and our efforts still has a way to go. That’s exciting too.

So, here’s the ask: If you know someone in one of the blank states on the map, please ask them for their time and donation. Help us push this just a little farther. There’s approximately a month left in our campaign and if we can fill this map just a bit, it’d be incredible.

If you or they are not on Facebook, please visit the below GoFundMe page to donate today.

Runners Doing Good For Dee Family Adoption

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Meet the Team #5 – Lindsay

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Every year we have a newbie or two. This year, we have 3! We are thrilled to have Lindsay and her husband Jake on the team this year. I have known Lindsay for roughly 20 years and I was actually in their wedding many moons ago! They are just awesome people and I was thrilled when they answered the call and said yes to joining the team.

Here’s a little more about Lindsay, in her own words….

“A bit about me. I didn’t start running until college in an attempt to combat the “Freshman 15″ plus relieve stress. I have run a handful of half marathons and several 10K races over the years, but mostly just run for fun and fitness. And yes I said fun – I actually love working out. This race will be the biggest fitness challenge that I have taken on, both physically and mentally. Excited to be a part of the team!”

Hopefully she doesn’t kill me for stealing this picture from her facebook but outside of that, she’s just the type of person who will fit in great with our team!

If you are a friend, family member, or a fan of Lindsay’s, please consider giving to support our efforts this year! We’ve maxed out our matching cap and so the Dee’s are confirmed for a net of approximately $9500.

The running team’s expenses come last and we’re approximately $400 away from covering the last of those needs so anyone who hasn’t donated yet and would like to, we’d greatly appreciate it!

Please visit the following link to donate:

Runners Doing Good 4 Dee Family Adoption!

Campaign Update!!!

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We’re excited to share that the Dee’s are off to Colombia to officially adopt their new daughter, M! We’d originally thought that sometime soon here that when we have a team meeting that they’d be able to join us to tell the rest of the team about their story a bit but unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, a lot of paperwork and approvals came through quickly and in about 10-14 days they had to get everything organized to leave in a hurry.

This has been a long time coming for them and we couldn’t be more excited for them. It was a dream that came to them as a calling and our hat’s off to them for answering that call. Life is a series of calls and when presented with this one, they said yes to it. Their lives will be enriched by the addition to their family and for “M”….the whole trajectory of her life will change and improve as opportunity for her with expand in ways she could only dream now that she’ll have a family to love and support her.

For them and her, Team Runners Doing Good couldn’t be happier.

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Now…onto the fundraising update. Through our matching opportunity that we’re running through another grant that they were able to get, our unofficial fundraising total is now approximately…..

$9,500!!!

How have we arrived at this number? It is more than $2,000 beyond our best fundraising total ever! It has been a unique path to say the least. We’ve had a lot of strength from private donors and the unique ability because of that to make the dollars we’ve raised work in ways that we’ve not in the past.

The Dee’s have had a grant that would match what they raised so we saw to it that many of the dollars we raised went to the grant first before they received it. Throw in our donor who always challenges us to reach higher with a matching opportunity as well and our dollars are pretty similar to last year’s numbers, however, as mentioned, we’ve been able to make those dollars count more this year and if it weren’t for the efforts of the team in coordination with the Dee’s, they’d not have gotten this amount and that’s why we’re counting it towards what will be an official total when the fundraiser closes at the end of June.

Also, we’re calling it an unofficial total because we’re doing this all through GoFundMe and Facebook and of course, those groups take their cut so the numbers we’re providing are approximate net totals and we’re still waiting on one disbursement to come through so that we can know what that will truly look like. It should be a shade higher than $9500.

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Now…so where are we as a team, today? The $9,500 doesn’t include the costs of running the team. We’ve actually raised dollars beyond that $9500 approximation which also becomes a record for us as it’s the first time we’ve raised more than $10,000 in a campaign whether it was 100% through private donations or a combination of private and sponsorship.

Right now, the team is approximately $350 away from fully covering our expenses and so we are, for the first time, reaching out to you all to help with those costs.

If you are able to help us with those costs, the pledge is the same as it’s always been, we’ll give 100% of anything beyond that, back to our cause of choice, and in this case, it’d be more to heap on that $9500. What we’ve done has helped do something incredible and it’ll help them immensely with the cost of the adoption but they’re still bringing a girl home and what’s often forgotten are the costs of clothes and other things that a person needs as well once they get home.

So, my ask is that if you can support us even more, we’ve got 4 weeks till we leave for the race, let’s cover the team’s final needs for the raise and boost their total!

The only question is can we boost it to exceed $10,000? I’d like to see.

If you feel compelled to donate, please visit:

Runners Doing Good For Dee Family Adoption

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Lastly, I just wanted to express the team and I’s thanks for the continued support. This year was a challenge on many fronts. We basically have zero sponsorship because we’re not a non-profit and so all of this has been scratching and clawing to get here. Also, by the time we hit the finish line at Ragnar Trail Michigan, we’ll have run the fundraiser for nearly 8 months as we started this process in November and will finish it just before July kicks off. It’s been a grind to continually reach out and find different ways to keep boosting the overall bottom line.

But through all of this, there have been the supporters we’ve always had. There have been the supporters of the Dee’s that haven’t been with us before, too, which is significant for us as well.

And most importantly, we’ve again been able to make a difference in our community, by directly supporting a family this time in a way that makes our community better by literally adding to it.

For all of that and for who you all are to us, I/We say thank you and that gratitude doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of where we’re at here so far, 7 years into this journey. It’s pretty special and it’s because of all of you.

Now let’s keep pushing because we’re not done yet.

Take Care,

Gabe & Team Runners Doing Good

Meet the Team #4 – Andrew

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For a guy who says that he doesn’t like running, he’s sure done a fair amount of it. This year, he’ll be one of just 4 runners, all-time, who have run 5 Ragnar Relays with us, and will move firmly into 3rd Place in career miles run for us with more than 80 miles run for others’ benefit.

He’s endured the heat of Chicago, the cold night air of the trip from Grand Haven to Traverse City, and the hills of Grayling and keeps coming back. He’s truly been one of the pillars of our team and now he’s bringing Kati with him!

One of the best stories about Andrew at a race comes down to volume. The volume in his head phones and himself….at Ragnar Relay Chicago, his first race. He was getting ready for his first leg and grooving to some music to himself, just bouncing in his spot as he worked out the nervous energy as we waited for Michael. At some point someone said something to him whether he was ready and he declared, “YEAH, I’M GOOD!” as he all too nonchalantly yelled it in our faces as if he were trying to shout over the noise of a concert. Except the problem was the concert he was at was in his head and we were all just standing with a group of stranger who were practically as startled as we were. After he took off, I think we all talked super loud on purpose for the next hour.

In the end, he’s a guy that I can’t imagine not doing this with us. He’s been as good of a friend as they come throughout the years and it’s been special to share this craziness with him.

If you, too, are an Andrew fan, please consider supporting him and consequently, The Dee family, through Runners Doing Good. To make a donation please follow the corresponding links for what works best for you.

Face Book: RDG for DFA!

GoFundMe: RDG for DFA

Thank you all for your support of Runners Doing Good, The Dee Family Adoption, and Andrew. Your love, kindness, and generosity are what helps propel us continually forward.

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