RDG Month of Thanks, Day 8: NeighborLink Fort Wayne & Andrew Hoffman

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Day 8 of RDG’s Month of Thanks remembers how great of a fit that NeighborLink Fort Wayne was for Runners Doing Good, especially at such a crucial time for us.

Ever feel that something is just meant to be? When the decision was made that we were going to be supporting a new charity, we didn’t really want to and honestly, didn’t know where to start. There were a lot of different groups that were amazing within our community but it was a matter of fit.

From afar, NeighborLink Fort Wayne was an organization that for a few reasons, made the list, but just seemed to have the it factor and I had a good feeling about. I didn’t know anyone there though. A couple of the organizations I was thinking about, I had a contact of some sort that I could reach out to and learn more about them. I had nothing with NLFW.

And then something started to happen. Some people might call it providence but there were these little whispers. Jenn had a coworker that had known Andrew because of cycling interests. They talked about how NLFW and Andrew were incredible. Then I met with a community leader, at his request, to learn more about the running team and what I was involved in with it. He was actually on a board for a group that does some amazing things for the connectivity of Fort Wayne and somewhere in the mix, “what next?” was brought up and I mentioned the dilemma I was in and he told me to not worry about the past. We’d done a lot there. He discussed what his group did and the feeling I was left with about that was that what they do is immensely expensive so the impact our group would have would be minimal, to an extent. Those are my words, not his.

But at the end of that conversation, he said, if you’re ever looking for someone great to work with, Andrew Hoffman and NeighborLink Fort Wayne, do amazing work. It felt like another whisper.

Not long after, I worked out a meeting with Andrew over at Hop River Brewing and we talked for about an hour. There was a calm about him. I learned about the organization and the things that they do and was blown away. He never asked who I was going to see next but wished me luck in my search.

Within a week, I met with the last of the organizations that I had a good inkling about. The Executive Director was a fellow runner and I was incredibly impressed with the operation they had. It met all of the criterion that we were looking for. He did go into some detail, having done some research on us, and gave me a bit of info on a sponsor of ours that might not participate for a pretty legit reason. Within 5 minutes, though, the question was asked, who else is in the running?

I mentioned Andrew and NeighborLink and it was like a light was turned on. He told me that as much as he’d love to work with our team, if I were to pick anyone else, NLFW was the way to go. He then spent 5-10 minutes singing their praises.

From that point forward, I knew what the plan was. We were running to benefit NeighborLink and there was no looking back.

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And from that point forward, Andrew and his team did everything they could to support our little group and our efforts only grew even further. In total, because of their support in helping spread the word about Runnin’ Not Walken and then as we changed over to Runners Doing Good, we raised approximately $15,000 over 2 1/2 fundraising campaigns (2 full campaigns plus a few months before Covid shut it all down).

The best moment for us was really when Andrew told us that the nearly $7500 we raised in Year 1 with them was going to help pay for furnaces that were being replaced or repaired for folks within the Fort Wayne area. His willingness to tie our efforts to a project they had was awesome and it helped us show our donors a tangible thing that we were able to accomplish.

He’s moved on from NeighborLink and we have as well as we supported a former teammate’s family this year but what we were able to do together is pretty special and we’re truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity to work together.

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RDG Month of Thanks, Day 7 – It’s all about the hardware

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Day 7 is, as the title implies….All about the hardware. If you want a physical reminder of the effort involved in something epic, you need something cool and one of the things that Ragnar has done fantastically since the beginning is provide some kick-ass medals.

All of the sweat, blood, and tears are wrapped up in these. I’ve often found that it’s not some awe-inspiring moment that happens when you get them but it’s in the days and weeks post-Ragnar when the high of the race is long passed that you look at one of these and a smile will creep across your face. It’s the “I can’t believe I did that” moment when you recall that yea, you ran for more than 7.5 miles through a state forest at midnight. (That’s my most recent.)

They all tell a story. The 2 wooden ones above represent the 2 Trail Races we’ve run in Michigan and the bottom right is our very first on the shores of Lake Michigan. All of those come with an immense sense of accomplishment, pride, and a feeling of want. The want to be with that crew again to do something amazing again.

All in all, it’s a pretty special feeling. Yea, they are just medals and it’s not the Olympics but hey, what is? These though, in your own little way, mean just as much though because we’re not crazy athletes. We’re moms and dads. We’re therapists, salesmen, teachers, and nurses. We’re all just regular people doing something incredible and that’s what those medals represent and for that…we’re grateful.

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RDG Month of Thanks: Day 6, Andrew

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Due to a technical glitch, Day 6 didn’t post so today, you’re getting a double dose!

Day 6: Andrew!

This guy has been a building block for our team for years now. With the exception of 1 year, he’s been on every team since 2016 and is one of a handful of runners who have participated at each venue or format that we’ve taken on. With more than 80 miles run at Ragnars with us, he is in the Top 3, All-Time for career miles with us, which is remarkable because he always claims that he’s “not a runner” or that he “doesn’t like running.”

Overall, this is a guy that brings it each year and whether he’s feeling like he’s fast or slow, you know you can count on him. If he says, he’ll be back in 35 minutes, he’s usually pretty well on it. That’s difficult to do with these races but he’s just someone that’s always so steady. He’s one of our core runners for as long as he wants to be and we’re always grateful that he chooses to continue to run with us. We’re better because of him.

RDG Month of Thanks, Day 5 – Sue Teasdale & Coldwell Banker

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When you’ve been blessed with the support we have throughout the years, it is pretty humbling and Sue’s has been remarkable. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Sue since Jenn and I started looking for our first home. She was our realtor to buy that first home, helped us sell it 6 years or so later, and find the one we’re currently in.

She’s excellent at what she does and such an incredibly nice person that when we began approaching businesses about potentially supporting Runners Doing Good that we thought she’d be a good starting point for Coldwell. She didn’t just help us facilitate that support. She went and got it for us and threw in to help us. Blown away doesn’t begin to express how we felt. It was awesome.

As you can see, we had a sign made to recognize the support of Coldwell Banker and herself when we ran at Ragnar Trail Michigan in 2021. If you ever need help finding or selling a home, please look her up.

Thanks for being such a big part of our story Sue!

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RDG Month of Thanks, Day 4: RNW Team 1

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Runnin’ Not Walken, Team 1….those guys. Those guys will always hold a special place in our hearts. This is the team that started it all. They said yes when they didn’t know what was coming….at all!

The one thing that was pretty special, at least to me, was that I look at that group and I had Adam, Ryan, Brandon, Joel, Sarah, and Courtney that were family members on that first team. Then I had Nerk and Artie who were friends so close that they might as well have been family. And Ruso, came along for the ride and got a good close look at all of us goof-balls in that Van 2 and still ended up marrying Joel! That’s 10 of the 15 people on the team that were that close.

It truly was an adventure and one that can never be forgotten. Without this coming together like it did, the mere thought to attempt something like this again wouldn’t have even come up.

So raise a glass in thanks to Runnin’ Not Walken, Team 1. You all rock!

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Month of Thanks, Day 3: Enterprise

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Maybe it’s odd to recognize a car rental company in a month of gratitude posting but I still maintain that life is all about relationships and doing well by others and Enterprise Rent-A-Car certainly did well by us.

For our first 5 years of this crazy adventure, we required the rental of two, 15 passenger vans. That certainly comes with a cost. From year to year, the deal got better and better as they recognized us as repeat customers and for the work we did to support charity. It was nearly to the point where it was very reasonable for us.

In the end, the local Enterprise folks made it far easier for us to do what do we so that, Thank you Enterprise!

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Month of Thanks, Day 2: Ragnar Relay!!!

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Day of Thanks, #2 brings a pretty obvious thing that we’re grateful for: Ragnar Relay. The challenge, the vibe, the atmosphere, and most importantly, the PEOPLE…it’s all a beautiful thing and we’ve been blessed to be healthy enough to cover more than 1,200 miles of Ragnar trails, paths, and roads over the last 7 year.

Epic events like Ragnar Relay provide us with the opportunity to show how crazy we are and drum up interest in supporting our causes. I’m not sure we would have ever gotten this far without an event like this to go after.

There’s something special about taking an action, like running, which is 90% of the time so solitary and make it a team effort. We’ve had a lot of great people involved throughout the years, 36 to be exact, and it’s just special to do this with folks you like.

We couldn’t be more proud to be Ragnarians so THANK YOU, Ragnar Relay, for being so awesome that equally amazing people come out to participate…like us!

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Month of Thanks, Day 1: Jenn

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Gratitude Makes Sense of Our Past, Brings Peace for Today, and Creates a Vision for Tomorrow

Melody Beatie

Every day of November, we are going say Thank You to something or someone who has support, run with, helped us fundraise, or contributed to Runners Doing Good. Without their contributions, we wouldn’t have achieved the success for others that we have over the years.

Today, November 1st, we’re grateful for Jenn. Simply put, if she didn’t co-sign on this, it wouldn’t have happened 1 year, let alone all the years we’ve been in existence. Her contributions have been vast, from the head cheerleader keeping everyone positive and smiling, to a big fundraiser, recruiter, and a runner who has logged more than 75 miles and finding herself in the top 5 of total all time runner mileage.

So to her, THANK YOU for all you’ve done to make this the special group that it has been for so long. You are seen. You are appreciated. You are loved. We are better because of you.

Our Favorite Pics: Ragnar Trail MI

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With fun like this…how could you not want to try it?

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Register for Ragnar Trail Michigan now and take 10% off by using Ragnar Ambassador Code: GAAMB22 during your check out. Don’t delay! Pricing goes up in December!

Register Here!

Ragnar Trail Ohio is BACK!

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Over the course of more than 1,100 miles of Ragnarian road, paths, and trails, you grow a bit of an affinity for the running series that has both challenged you to things you didn’t believe you could achieve and emboldened you to face that same challenge year after year.

Our team, because of how we are composed, has primarily stuck to races that have run within the midwest: Ragnar Chicago, which went from Madison, WI eastward to Milwaukee and then south onto the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Ragnar Road Michigan, which runs from Muskegon north as it hugs the western coast of the mitten and finally meanders east around Honor, MI before finishing in Traverse City, and finally Ragnar Trail Michigan which is centered around the forest and hilly paths of Hanson Hills Rec Area in Grayling, MI.

That said, over the last few years, even some pre-pandemic, Ragnar has tapered back on some of its races. Some of its road courses, like Chicago’s race, even after an attempt in 2018 to simplify it with a northern Illinois startline heading to Madison, went by the wayside. It’s been a bit of a disappointment to see as the community surrounding these events is vibrant, exciting, and fun to be around.

So it was with a great delight that we heard a couple days ago and prior to the official announcement that Ohio Trail, which had last been run in 2016, is making a comeback!

That races last run was when we were just getting started. We hadn’t run trail races at that point and honestly, they all sounded very intimidating so we hadn’t run Trail Ohio but we are definitely considering it but we’re also hoping that it is the start of many other comebacks and, hopefully, new races hitting the calendar.

If you are a past runner of Trail Ohio or live in the area and are considering running it, use Gabe’s Ambassador Code, GAAMB22, to take 10% off your registration price. He gets points for every registration using his code and with enough points, he/we, will get a free race, which would be huge for us as we tiptoe towards being a non-profit group ourselves by keeping costs down.

Visit Ragnar’s Website to register now!

PS….Whether it’s Ragnar Trail, OH, you can use that code for any Ragnar Relay so if you have an interest in running one, don’t register without my discount!

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