Run-Gooder – Amanda S.

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A journey of 200-ish miles begins…. — Artie

I loved this picture so I had to share it but there’s a lot more to this picture.  Amanda is the wife of fellow run-gooder and multiple time driver, Artie.  Over the last year, she’s worked very hard to lose weight and she’s done a fantastic job.  She truly has a lot to be proud of already but is looking to take another step and is taking on something epic.

Last year, Amanda joined Runnin’ Not Walken as a driver and this year I’m happy to announce that she’s out from behind the wheel to join the rest of the runners.  She witnessed the craziness of it all this past fall and STILL decided she wanted to tackle it.  We couldn’t be happier to have her join us and allowing us to be a part of her journey.

I’ve said it many times, it’s going to be a great 2019 for Team Runnin’ Not Walken and having her join us is another reason why.  Welcome to the team Amanda!

Run-Gooder #9 – Michael

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*** REPOST***  Again in the effort to highlight members of Runnin’ Not Walken, I give you Michael!  Since this article was written at the beginning of the year, Michael has trained for and ran his first full Marathon, the Flying Pig in Cincinnati!  The featured picture of the article is a picture of Michael sporting his RNW shirt and more importantly, his medal from running the race.

Congratulations on a race well run Michael!  We can’t wait to watch you kick some butt this fall!

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It was early 2015.  Team Runnin’ Not Walken had about 8 or 9 of our 12 spots filled.  I reached out to Michael and his two brothers, Adam and Ryan via Facebook to see if he had an interest in joining us on this crazy Ragnar Relay adventure that we were going to be attempting for the first time.  I reached out again a few weeks later and never heard anything back.  Adam would join the team as a driver and Ryan would run with us as well.

Fast Forward to June of 2015 and the vans are all loaded and we’re pulling out of town and I looked at Adam and Ryan and ask, “so what’s Michael up to?”  I never heard from him.  They laughed and said who knows but it was probably a football related thing.  Hilariously, within 20 minutes, I got a text from him….”Hey so that thing that Adam, Ryan, and you are doing, I see I have a Facebook message from you about it!  I would have come if I had noticed it!  Next year!”  We all had a good laugh about it and off we went for that first Ragnar adventure.

True to his word, he hasn’t missed a year since and if it weren’t for that missed Facebook message, he’d be the only other runner, besides myself, who has run all 4 years so far and would be well over 50 total miles run for the team.

The cool part about Michael’s story with the team is that he was most definitely not a runner.  He was athletic for his size but he wasn’t exactly “Tinker Bell” out there.  Michael played started at center for an NCAA Division II football team.  At his peak, he was all of 6’5 and 290 lbs.  He didn’t exactly scream “runner” at that point.  When he joined the team, he was done with football and dropping weight but I bet he was still every bit of 255 and maybe a tad higher.  He only went out and ran 10:30 miles.  Yes, he might have been a college athlete and a good 15 years younger than I was but I was running 10’s and I was 50+ pounds less.

What was remarkable too was that he showed up to Ragnar Chicago 2016 with literally no running gear.  He had tshirts and shorts but he was running in his football shoes.  That year was the hottest we’d ever ran in and due to his two-a-day experience it wasn’t a bit deal to him.  He told me that if he felt like he needed to walk a bit, he did.  There weren’t any coaches to yell at him around.  He brought that easy going and fun feel to the team that year and ever since and it’s been a blast to see his evolution since.

2017 he ran again and performed even better as he threw some 9 minute miles in the mix but he trained even more for Ragnar Michigan and decided to get some running shoes and the results were flat out impressive.  On his first 5k that he had to run, he averaged a 7:50.  That was two miles at a shade over 8 minutes a mile and the last mile was all downhill, which resulted in a 7:03.  I’m not sure what he’s weighing in at but all I can say is that he’s amazing to see out here as he’s cruising down the road.

His enthusiasm has only continued as he’s committed to running Ragnar Michigan and is working towards being in even better shape for this coming fall.  Unlike several on the team who have decided to up their game by running a half marathon, Michael is aiming towards running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in May!  I’d say it’s safe to say he’s gotten the running bug and our team is better because he has and continues to join us for our crazy annual adventure.

 

Run-Gooder #5 – Matt

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#Repost! – Matt’s been a big part of our team since he joined last year.  As we roll out who is on Team Runnin’ Not Walken for ’19, we will feature those profiles here and since we already have a mention of Matt here, I thought it was a great time to share this blog post again.  Enjoy!

____________________________________________________________________________________________I have known Matt since we were both in college back in the early 2000’s and worked at a Lowe’s store here in Fort Wayne.  I always got along with Matt but I don’t recall a lot of details about him.  He’d always been a good guy as far as I knew.  Time passes and the next thing I know I hadn’t seen him in years but we’d stay connected via Facebook.

When I founded Runnin’ Not Walken and decided to field a team again in 2016, he reached out and let me know that if I needed an extra runner to let him know.  Two things went through my head.  One was how protective of the team I’d become.  I’d only ever had friends or family run with us and when you run the mileage we’d been running within the tiemframe we were running it, there’s a good chance you won’t feel well.  I always thought someone that didn’t know any of the other runners could feel pretty lonely if they’re on a team where they don’t know anyone if they got sick.

Secondly, I thought, “Matt’s a runner?”  I didn’t recall that being a part of who he was but hey, some decent time had passed.  That was 2016 and my feelings didn’t really change in 2017 when he hit me up again, but this year was different.  The team was rebooting in some ways and I was finally comfortable with the idea of bringing in someone from the outside and it was a great decision but how is Matt a Run-Gooder?

Yes, Matt joined Runnin’ Not Walken and helped us raise a boatload of money but Matt is an inspiration to many and proof that if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.  As he would say it in his own words:

“I’ve been running for 5 years now.  Before that I was a pro couch potato.  I started with a Couch to 5k program, then worked up to a 10k.  After that, I did half marathons and to date, I have competed two full marathons.  I’ve always been competing in triathalons for the past year and a half having completed 4 sprints and one Olympic distance.  In 2017, I was a part of a team for Ragnar Tennessee.  It was an awesome experience!”

Matt had been fairly heavy and was on some medications but due to his weight loss, he’s now off of all of his medicine he was on when he was 60lbs heavier.  As you can see by his picture, Matt’s in great shape now and I believe an Iron Man is in his future.

We’re truly lucky to have had him on the team this year.  He was a great teammate, a lot of fun, and a heck of a runner.  My hat’s off to you Matt for all you’ve done to improve your personal health, all of the challenges you’re taking on in the running world, being a great example and inspiration when it comes to running and fitness, and hopefully we’ll have you back on Runnin Not Walken this fall!

Why Ragnar?

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Why do we run Ragnar Relays to benefit charity?  The answer is because you can’t do epic alone.  It wasn’t always that way though.  In the very beginning, the hope was to prove we could physically pull it off.

To the uninitiated, a Ragnar Relay is a 12 person, approximately 200-ish mile relay style race.  We have run two different courses, their Chicago course.  It ran from Madison, WI over to the Milwaukee area and then south into Chicago to Montrose Beach.  We ran that three times.  This year, we’ll be running Ragnar Michigan for the second time and it goes from Muskegon, which is  on the west side of the mitten, say middle knuckle of your pinkie, and finishes in Traverse City, MI which is about your top knuckle of your ring finger.  All distances and Michigander hand navigation are approximations.  🙂

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I think anyone who’s never done one really approaches that first time pretty cautiously.  You just don’t know how it’s going to go.  If you train well enough, then the running should be fine but how do you account for enough sleep, when to eat properly, etc.?  It’s a ton of fun but nerve wracking to say the least.  This fall, at Ragnar Michigan, will be my 5th Ragnar that I’ve run and it both elicits excitement and nerves and at some point in the race, I’ll ponder my sanity and whether it’s worth doing.  I say that because I’ve had those feelings 4 times now.  I’ve also had the feeling that there were sections of the race that I owed something to as they may have caught me off-guard.  I’m thinking about that night run last year where my hip hurt and I wanted to quit as one so there’s a possibility that I try to exact some revenge on that leg assignment again.

But again, it all comes back to this:  you can’t do epic alone!  We have had, in 4 years, approximately 30 different runners who have laced up their running shoes for Runnin’ Not Walken and it’s the comradery of the team that is another factor in this.  Running is largely a solo sport but running a Ragnar is the farthest thing from it.  You CANNOT do this alone.  If someone gets sick, can’t go at the last second, gets injured, or drops, like we have had happen before and during the race, it affects everyone in some capacity.

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Our second year, we had a runner get sick from the heat and unable to finish the race after his first run.  This caused two different runners to pick up his distance.  This past year, we had a runner have a family emergency 48 hours from when we were going to leave, and had to drop so we ran with 11.  The trickle down was that 4 different runners covered his mileage.  When you’re sleep deprived, etc., adding extra mileage makes a difference.

That’s not to say that any of this is easy.  You’re stuck in a van for largely 30 hours and that’s not counting the ride to the race and you’re pretty much with the same group.  You might have ridden to the race with different people but when Van 1 leads off the race, that group is together for the long haul and may only see the runners in Van 2 for maybe an hour the whole race.  It’s imperative to have great “teams” within the team.  The mix of runners and personalities is important and I think Runnin’ Not Walken has been blessed with not just good runners but great people and that leads us to why we do all of this craziness and why it works.

First off, you have to have a charity you believe in.  That we have had in spades.  We ran to benefit Kate’s Kart, Inc. here in Fort Wayne for 3 years.  They’re an incredible group and if you’ve got a soft spot for kids, look them up at www.kateskart.org .

This year, we’re running to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne for the first time and they’re amazing too.  They bring people with needs, largely related to issues with their home, in touch with neighbors looking to offer a helping hand.  Projects they’ve helped on have included everything from as simple as snow blowing a driveway for the elderly during a particularly cold winter spell to something as costly and complex as attempting to repair or replace a furnace for a family who may not have the funds to tackle such a large and expensive job.  The organization and its volunteers truly operate with a servant’s heart and there’s not a thing they do that you wouldn’t love.  Check out their website and specifically, our fundraising page at: https://www.nlfw.org/project/15772

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Secondly, when you take on an event of that magnitude, it’s something you can use to bring attention to your team and consequently, your cause of choice.  A lot of people look at you funny when you say that you’re a part of a team that’s collectively running 200 miles.  It’s an incredibly fun event for the runners but for those learning about it, they don’t forget what you’re doing.  It’s an incredibly powerful vehicle for doing some good.  It is epic and people can get behind epic.

So when you combine a group that’s pulling together for a great cause that tugs at the heartstrings with an event that most people consider absurd because of its degree of difficulty, what do you get?  You get the ability not just participate in something physically epic but epically impactful considering the size of your group.

There are only 12 runners and a couple drivers, at most, that participate every year and a lot of those parts change from year to year.  When you take that into account, it’s pretty amazing that in 4 years of doing this, we’ve now raised more than $18,000 for Fort Wayne area charities.

So why do we Ragnar for charity?  It’s because it has been proven that the results will be as epic as the adventure of the race itself.  If you have any questions about Ragnar, you can always visit www.runragnar.com OR reach out!  I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Happy Friday everyone!

Gabe

 

Runnin’Not Walken Update 5/8

I just wanted to touch base since it’s been a minute or two to update everyone on what’s going on with Runnin’ Not Walken.

We have seen a few members of the team participate in some big races of late. Three of the team’s newest runners, Matt and Amanda Herald, and  Kelly Kreischer all participated in the 500 Festival Indy Mini, also battling the rain over the course of their 13.1 miles.  Matt and Amanda have run this race several times but this was Kelly’s first half marathon so special congrats go out to her.  Michael Koehlke, a 3 time member of Runnin’ Not Walken competed in his first marathon, The Flying Pig in Cincinnati.  He’s come a long way in his running and he deserves a ton of credit for really going after it.  He’s still not run a half marathon as he skipped right over it to run a marathon, which is pretty impressive.

Secondly, we have a couple of new runners to announce.  We’ll have a full roster overview at some point but I’d like to officially welcome Amy-Jo Sites and Amanda Strack to the team.  Amy-Jo is a good friend of Matt and Amanda Herald’s and from everything I’m told, will be a great addition to our little group.  Amanda, actually joined the team last year as a driver and did a great job for us.  She’s never really run a lot so this is a big challenge for her and we’re excited that she’ll taking that challenge with us.

Lastly, our yearly campaign to benefit area charity has taken off!  Last Wednesday, May 1st, we ran a Fundraising Challenge.  If we hit $750 to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne, a very generous donor would match everything that we raise in the month of May.  Not only did we hit that, but we’re at $850 raised in May so far.  It’s shaping up to be a great fundraising month and one that’ll put us on a, hopefully quick path to our goal of $5,000.unnamed (2)

If you’d have any interest in supporting our efforts for NeighborLink Fort Wayne, please visit www.nlfw.org/profect/15772 to donate today.  Since we hit our goal, anything you donate will be matched.  Thank you for your consideration.

That’s it for now but it’s been a wonderful few weeks and I’m truly excited to see how the rest of the year unfolds!

Sincerely,

Gabe

 

Brave Like Gabe

 

As we continue this month’s cause of choice, Brave Like Gabe, I’d encourage you to watch this.  I’m sure you’ll be as inspired by Gabe Grunewald as I was.  If you are and are moved to do so, please consider giving to Brave Like Gabe at:

https://bravelikegabe.org/donate

Brave Like Gabe’s fundraising efforts support research and accelerated treatments for rare cancers.  That’s something we all can get behind.

On Motivation

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My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it – George H.W. Bush

I’ve been thinking about Runnin’ Not Walken’s efforts since 2015 a lot lately.  Part of it has been that I’ve been dealing with a bit of an injury and my personal goal of running a half marathon, may have to take a backseat right now.  Part of it is that I also get a bit nostalgic from time to time.

Then I heard the about quote from George H.W. Bush attributed to him in a video from his funeral by his son George W. Bush and it struck a nerve.  This is not about to get political.  The featured image features a JFK quote too but I’m not getting political, I promise, but again, it struck a nerve.

It really has hit at the core of what we’re ultimately trying to do: make a difference and somehow to affect the world around us and as Mr. Bush said, leave it better than we found it.

While what we have done is largely without “doing” something active within the community, it has very much supported those that are actively making a difference in the world, in Fort Wayne and it’s surrounding communities, and ultimately the people around us who are our neighbors.

NeighborLink Fort Wayne is a great fit for us and ties to this concept so well.  We have every intention in being involved in their efforts but our goal is to support them and help them do what they do so well.

They have a very “Golden Rule” feel about them that drew me to them in the first place.  They are treating and serving others as they’d want to be served and treated.  Unfortunately, that sentiment is refreshing in today’s day with so much negativity in the world.  I also think that’s why they’re so successful.  People respond to goodness more than ever too, because it’s heartfelt and intentional and that type of caring genuineness reaches people deep down.  It also leaves not only the neighborhoods they’re serving better than when they found it, but the people too.

And that’s what motivates us to run 200 miles.  Genuine people doing good for others.  Genuine people caring.  That’s something we can get behind and be motivated to do right by them and our hope is that our fundraising will be impactful for their mission so through those efforts, they can continue to do more of what they do so well.

 

Run-Gooder #11 – Gabe Grunewald

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When I started the Runners Doing Good Instagram account, I wanted to tell some stories of people overcoming obstacles, choosing to live a healthier life, or achieving something incredible…all with the idea that some runner somewhere might be inspired.

It has been tremendously worthwhile and rewarding, especially when the person and their story somehow find you.  It’s an absolute blessing to have that level of inspiration pop up in your life. It wasn’t all that long after setting up the Runners Doing Good instagram account and with just a couple dozen followers or so that a new follower, @gigrunewald, with a blue check mark followed the page.  This got my attention and I checked out this person’s profile and it read, “pro runner, rare cancer patient/survivor/advocate, lover of life, Minnesotan, founder of @bravelikegabe.”  There’s obviously a lot to unfold there so I started with @bravelikegabe to find out what it was about and I’d assume there’d be more on her and the more I learned about it and her, the more I felt compelled to learn even more and here’s what I uncovered.

Gabe Grunewald is a force of nature.  She has an incredible will and radiates positivity despite the fact that she’s fought cancer four times over the last decade.  Embarrassingly, I have to admit that I’d never heard of her before she followed the account.  I also learned another thing.  She also absolutely does not need my teeny, tiny, little blog to promote her charity as she has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Runners World, Self Magazine, coached Chip Gaines, has a 25 minute documentary produced by Brooks Running, and a growing charity that bears her name.  She has run some of the fastest 1500 meter times in American history.  And yet, there’s this kindness about her that is as unmistakable as the drive that propelled this small town Minnesota girl to greatness.  I truly am honored that she agreed to allow me to do this because she could have simply chosen not to participate at all but she’s allowing her story to be told again and I’m sure it will inspire many.

She was born about 3 hours northwest of Minneapolis, MN in a town of less than 3,000, and due to that, she didn’t get a ton of attention from Division I colleges.  She most likely could have had her choice of any small school she wanted but she wanted to test herself at the DI level so she walked on at the University of Minnesota and prospered.  Gabe was a part of a several Big 10 Championship teams and was the national runner-up in the 1500 meters at the 2010 Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.  She was also an All-American that year despite being diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in 2009.  Further career highlights included a USA Championship in the 3000 meters in 2014 and her 1500 meter time of 4:01:48 made her the 11th fastest runner in United States history.

She would also fight through recurrences of ACC in 2016 and 2017, including an August ’16 surgery that would remove approximately 50% of her liver.  In comparison to many cancers, ACC is diagnosed so many times less that research on it is limited due to the lack of patients to study.  Brave Like Gabe was founded with the goal of “raising awareness for these diseases, the research funding disparities, and other challenges that prevent these cancers from having effective treatment options.”  They truly are working hard to bring some of these cancers out of the darkness so that those diagnosed with these diseases can have hope where there may not have been any before.

In a world full of negativity, I am in simply in awe of her optimism, positivity, and strength and I would highly encourage you to learn more about her.  I guarantee you’ll be inspired by her as I was.  I’ve become a big fan of hers and it is why I would like to ask the Runners Doing Good followers to come together.

No one wants to feel as helpless as she must have felt when she learned there weren’t any approved treatments for ACC when she was initially diagnosed.  Let’s contribute to Brave Like Gabe and join her in the fight to find treatments for hers as well as those with other forms of rare cancers as well.

Please see the link below to contribute if you feel compelled.  There will be a box to donate in someone’s honor.  Make sure to make the First Name: Runners and Last Name: Doing Good so that Brave Like Gabe, and Gabe, herself, know that we’re behind her.

No donation is too little.  She’s out there fighting cancer and doing all she can to raise money and awareness for others with similar diseases.  If she can do all of that, we can help her mission.

Go to the below link to make and effort to help bring Brave Like Gabe and Gabe Grunewald a bit closer to their goals!

Expect to hear more about Gabe over the month of April as Brave Like Gabe will be our featured charity this month.  Thank you to Gabe for her time and example of what it means to be strong in the face of adversity.  You are a true inspiration.

Brave Like Gabe: Donate

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Sunday Inspiration #3 – Ride for Roz

Admittedly, I’m late to the game here.  The Chive and Chive Charities have been around awhile now but over the last year or so I’ve really noticed the work they’re doing.  They cover a wide range of things.  Growing up in Fort Wayne, IN and having gone to Bishop Dwenger High School….I should have known about The Chive and who they were but somehow I missed the memo as their founders are BDHS Alumni.  What they’ve created is pretty amazing and I find Chive Charities as one of the more incredible aspects of what they do.

They have such a following that they can throw the call out to support someone in need and the response is immediate and impactful.  I’ve grown to really love the stories I’ve seen through Chive Charities but this isn’t about how great John Resig and The Chive team is.  This is about Roz.

Roz is an incredible little girl in Ohio who has experienced a lot in her short life, has gone through nearly the impossible, has recovered, and exudes joy.  I just thought I’d share with you today.

If you’d like to contribute, every dime helps, even if they have already raised a tremendous amount more than what their goal was.  It’s a remarkable story and one that is a great way to end your weekend on a high note and begin your week in amazement.

https://www.gofundme.com/RideForRoz

An Intro…

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“A life is not important except in the impact it makes in others’ lives.” – Jackie Robinson

I’ve not really taken the time to introduce who I am and how the Runnin’ Not Walken team and Runners Doing Good blog and instagram pages came to be so I thought I’d do a bit of an Intro Friday to go down that road if you’d allow me.

First off, long distance running was the farthest thing from my mind.  I tried it for a week or so in high school and I was sick nearly every night so I quit it and joined up with the sprinters and long jumpers.  I wasn’t good at either thing but when I graduated from high school, I was in the best shape of my life from a speed, fitness, agility, etc. standpoint that it was ridiculous.  That all said, I didn’t run anything of distance for a long time

I decided in 2015 that I needed to get in better shape and I saw someone’s twitter post about Ragnar Relay.  I thought it was fascinating so I did what any good friend does and drug a couple friends and several family members into it.  I thought that if I could pull that off that I would be in great shape.  That was the thought at least.  I’m in better shape than then but overall, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster.

After some conversations with a cousin on the team, we decided to support a charity along the way.  It was an incredible idea and we leaned into.  We’ve raised more than $17,000 since 2015.  Runnin’ Not Walken, has exceeded expectations continually and I truly look forward to the next step.  NeighborLink Fort Wayne is a fantastic partner and I really am looking forward to participating in some of their running events.

Runners Doing Good evolved through a donor of RNW’s.  I think it has more potential than what it’s doing currently doing and if it were given the opportunity to grow, I think it could go big. I truly do.  My ultimate dream for it would be that we could bring people together, inspired by a runner or runner’s cause and support it both from an exposure stand-point but a financial one too.

It has been a true blessing to be able to feature different runners and tell their stories.  In a negative world, it’s shown me that there’s a lot to be inspired by and that people have a ton of good in them.

I want to continue to do that, making an impact for the runners we feature but also affecting charitable groups through the team’s running, and do this with people I appreciate and care about.  Life is a crazy adventure…do it with those that matter most and that’s why I’ve always chose people like that for the RNW team.

On the near horizon, Runnin’ Not Walken has a matching promotion for May 1st and Runners Doing Good is going to feature soon the biggest name in running we’ve ever had and I think both of those events will be impactful.

For me personally, I am running the Indy Min in May and it still scares me a bit but I have a good group of folks that are encouraging me and I look forward to tackling this monster of a challenge ahead of me.  There’s a lot that could go wrong but a lot that’s worth being proud about so I’m going for it.

So that’s me and how I got here, what I’m looking forward to, and how I see the blog and team evolving.  The future is bright and I’m proud to be a small part of it.

If you’d like to know more, leave me a note in the comments or you can email some questions to runnersdoinggood@yahoo.com.

Thanks!

Gabe

 

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