Our 1st Sponsor Has Pledged!!!

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I’m truly proud to announce that Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber – Sue Teasdale is our first sponsor of 2020’s campaign to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne.  I have had the fortune of knowing Sue now for more than 10 years as she helped Jenn and I find our first home and she has stayed in touch ever since.

About 6 years ago when we found our youngest was on the way, we decided it was time for us to find a bigger home. Sue was the first call we made because of how great she was to work with that first time and she didn’t disappoint.  The housing market was different then than it is now and we received all sorts of odd offers while our home was on the market.

In amongst that, we found our current home that we absolutely love.  We took the risk, made, and offer, and bought our current home.  We ended up paying double mortgages for 2 months, which isn’t convenient when one half of the family is going to be off of work for several weeks following having the baby.

Sue recognized how tough of a time that was for us and worked tirelessly on our behalf to get that house sold.  The couple that bought it lowballed us more than once and through it all, Sue worked so hard to help find a deal that worked for both sides, which we ultimately did.

Fast forward a couple of years and as we started this whole running adventure, Sue and Coldwell Banker have gotten behind us again.  This is our 5th year running charitable campaigns, our 6th race, and it’s their 4th time supporting us, the second consecutive as a Gold Sponsor!

So THANK YOU to Coldwell Banker Rother Wehrly Graber and Sue Teasdale for their generous past and continued support of our little team.  We truly appreciate you!

Sincerely,

Gabe

Keeping Fort Wayne Warm

 

Just had to share this great video that NeighborLink Fort Wayne produced.  It really shows what they’re about and where the money we raised in 2019 went.  It was great to see that our funds were both heartwarming and home-warming!

We’ve begun our campaign for them already.  If you’d like to contribute, please visit https://www.nlfw.org/project/18997  to make a donation now!

 

Meet Your 2020 Runners Doing Good!

The last 5 years have been a true blessing.  From barely dreaming about raising $1,000 to looking at hitting $25,000 within the next $500 raised, it’s been crazy to think about and at the core of all of this has been the people.

We’ve just had a great group of people.  Many I’ve met for the first time when we gotten together the night before a race.  Some I hadn’t seen in years until the event and it was great to catch up during the planning stages and throughout the event.  Some have been family members who are great friends and others, friends that are as close as family.

It’s just been a true blessing to have every single one of them a part of this process and adventure that when the goal became to simplify the process and Ragnar Trail Michigan became a possibility, it was difficult to consider cutting the team from it’s traditional 12 runner team down to 8 runners as there’s not been a shortage of great people to choose from.

As hard as it was to consider, when I finally boiled it down, it came down to the runners that I’ve had long term relationships with and/or that have been a part of this adventure for the largest portion of it.

If you count how many Ragnars each individual has run as a part of Runnin’ Not Walken/Runners Doing Good, we have 33 Ragnars combined and more than 500 miles of pavement/trails between us.  After Ragnar Trail Michigan is run, 5 of the 8 runners will go over 50 miles run for RNW/RDG and 3 will go over 75 with 1 falling less than a mile and a half short of their 100th mile. It’s an experienced group and one that I know will do well on the trails.

With that, I’m proud to announce that Cherri Marcum, Jennifer Arnold, Melissa Menzies, Chris Menzies, Ryan Koehlke, Michael Koehlke, Andrew Mills, and myself, Gabe Arnold are 2020’s Runners Doing Good, setting out to tackle all 130 epically forested miles of Ragnar Trail Michigan.

 

This Is What It Is About!

 

When we first made the decision to partner with NeighborLink Fort Wayne , it wasn’t an easy decision.  We’d been running to benefit a local children’s charity for 3 years, having run 4 long distance relay races to benefit them and had raised approximately $17,000 for them.

We started slowly but every year built upon each other considerably.  Time, as it tends to do, brings change.  I’m not sure about them but for us, the change was for the better.  It didn’t come without it’s worry that those that supported us  in the past wouldn’t carry over to our newest endeavour but within a short time, that worry proved to be nonsense.

NeighborLink Fort Wayne proved to be a wonderful partner to work with that allowed us to work hard on their behalf while trusting in our process and allowing us to do our thing.  That support allowed us to flourish as we raised nearly $7500 as we beat our previous record by almost $1,000.

Today, they gave us a gift that we’d never received before: something tangible that we can say we helped.  We had always known that our efforts, in the past with our previous charity, helped further their mission, today we have photgraphic evidence of what that nearly $7500 meant.

It meant that, as the temps finally dropped into the teens this winter for the first multi-day sustained colder temps, someone’s home is warmer.  Last week someone received a new furnace through our efforts to support NeighborLink Fort Wayne.  We truly are grateful to be working with such a kind and caring organization. 

 

 

Runners Doing Good to Again Run to Benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne

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While we work to formally organize the team as a non-profit entity, it would be easy to say that we should take ’20 off, at least until everything is set because it’d be easier, but when you’ve built a reputation based on running 200 mile relay races, stepping away from a challenge isn’t an option.

So it is with great excitement that we announce that once again, NeighborLink Fort Wayne is the beneficiary of our 2020 running and fundraising campaign!!!

Andrew Hoffman and the team at NLFW were a fantastic partner in 2019 and acknowledging that what we’re attempting to do here takes time and effort to both organize a fundraiser, a team event, and work towards nonprofit status, it was only logical to again work with such a supportive partner and reciprocally, support them.

So that we can give them a top notch effort and work towards the nonprofit piece at the same time, I have sought out ways to be more efficient by finding a race that simplifies the process while also living up to the epic standard that we’ve set for ourselves.

It’s why I am also excited to announce that we will be taking Runners Doing Good to Ragnar Trail Michigan in June!  It checks all of the boxes on the difficulty scale but because it’s a smaller team and 130 miles of trails within a Michigan State Recreational Area with the team camping there, there’s no vans or houses to rent.

Planning should be far simpler than any year we’ve done this and while having fewer runners may result in fewer people working to raise money for the charity but we’re also finding savings of at least $1,000 in expenses with this race.  If we continue to grow our sponsor list, my expectation is that we will return between $1500 – $2000 in area business support to our fundraiser which should mitigate any potential fundraising losses from fewer runners.

Also, we’re selling Runners Doing Good wristbands for $10 each as well.  Once we raise enough to cover our start-up costs, approximately $1,000,  100% of our wristband sales will go towards the fundraiser.  You can purchase one here!

Additionally, if you’re a fan of what we’re doing and of NeighborLink Fort Wayne as well, and want to be a part of the effort, contact me at runnersdoinggood@yahoo.com and I will fill you in on how you can become a Runners Doing Good Ambassador.

Lastly, THANK YOU! This is our 5th year and every time we’ve asked for support, you’ve answered the bell and then some.  We only hoped to raise $1,000 in ’15 and found out we were on to something and then next thing we know, 5 years passes in the blink of an eye and we’re on the doorstep of raising our 25,000th dollar for Fort Wayne area charity.   My heart warms and my mind almost explodes thinking about it.  I hope we’ve made you proud to support what we do.

 

A Year of Thanks

“The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”  — Melody Beattie

As the final hours of 2019 wind down, it is fitting to reflect on it.  Not everything was or is ever perfect but there’s always something for which thanks is warranted.  Here’s a quick list of a few things I’m thankful for in ’19.

  • Friends!
      • Much of what I do and what the team does has been done on the back of friends.  Without them, nothing is possible.
  • Ragnar Relay
      • It’s become a platform for achieving greatness.  I don’t know that we could be able to raise the money we have the last few years without something epic being done.  It certainly checks all of the boxes when it comes to epic.  That’s for certain.
  • Encouragement
      • It goes without saying but without certain people, this just wouldn’t be possible.  Friends, family, and all of our donors who have supported myself and the team so strongly these last 5 years.  It’s truly be a lot of fun to do all of this.  With all of you, we can’t go wrong!
  • Adversity
      • Ragnar Michigan was a heck of a challenge once again.  Enough so that we’re not doing that exact course again.  Working to raise $5,000 is daunting but that’s what we’re aiming for again.  We’ve proven to ourselves and others that even with a little bit of encourage and a whole lot of the above, we can accomplish anything.  And that thought  is what has me so enthusiastic about 2020.

 

What are you most thankful for as 2019 fades into the past?  Also, what are you looking most forward to in 2020?

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. May today be a fitting, safe, and happy close to 2019 for you all and a wonderful opening of the door that is 2020.

Sincerely,

Gabe

2020’s Vision, Part II

As highlighted in Part I one of the goals was to have a race calendar so that 2020’s effort isn’t confined to 1 major event and anything else in the area is training for it.  In our effort to better connect with the Fort Wayne area running community, we’re committed to making our miles count by participating in as many area events as we can.

If you would have an interest in running to benefit great causes in Fort Wayne & beyond as a part of Runners Doing Good, let us know!  We’d love to have as many people joining us!

To be a member of Runners Doing Good, please commit to raising $150, and be willing to share yours and our story along the way, and we’ll hook you up with a team shirt so you can show off the brand while you run.  At this time, we’re unable to cover costs of entry for any race other than the Ragnar Trail event in June, which is our major team event and by invitation only.

Hopefully in the years to come, we’ll be able to do some fun things like awarding free race entries for runners but right now we’re just trying to get this off the ground.

Here’s the races we’re committed to in and where you can join us in 2020:

Cupid’s Chocolate Chase 5k – February 16, 2020 – Downtown Fort Wayne.  Get a soft long sleeve shirt, finishers medal, chocolate, wine slushies, and more for running this cool weather event!  All proceeds to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne!  Register here!

Pokagon Trail Challenge – Saturday April 18th, 2020 – Pokagon State Park – Fremont, IN – How about something different?  How about a 5k or 7 mile trail challenge in a wonderful state park?  Sounds like a great time and should be a great tune-up for what’s to come at the end of June.  Register here!

Sunburst Races – Saturday, June 6th, 2020 – South Bend, IN – The Sunburst is a very well run, long time event in northern Indiana.  You can a 5k, 10k, or half marathon, starting at Four Winds Field, the home of the South Bend Cubs, and finish at the 50 yard line at a Notre Dame.  If you’re a football fan, trust me, it is awesome to come out of the tunnel and run onto the field!  Sign-up here

Ragnar Trail Relay Michigan – Saturday & Sunday, June 27th & 28th – Grayling, MI – This is our major team run in 2020.  We’re taking a year off from hitting the roads to hit the trails!  8 runners conquering 128 miles through the woods of Hanson Hills State Recreation Area in Grayling, MI!  Follow our instagram and facebook pages to follow along with the camping and running adventure from sun-up to sun-down and back up again!

Promenade Freedom 4-miler – Saturday July 4th, 2020 – Fort Wayne, IN – Kick off your Independence Day with a new event to downtown at our newest attraction: Promenade Park! Run the rivers and see Fort Wayne like you’ve not experienced it before.  Run this whether you’re running for us or not and help make this Epic Racing Events race a yearly tradition.  Register now!

Fort 4 Fitness Fall Festival – September 25th & 26th – Downtown Fort Wayne, Parkview Field.  Kids and Senior Marathon races on Friday night, 4 miler, 10k, and half-marathon on Saturday as part of Fort Wayne’s premier running, health, and fitness festival with a finish line at home plate of nationally recognized Parkview Field!  Registration opens on January 1st.  This link will be updated then!

Winter Wonder Dash 5k – Saturday, November 21st, 2020 – Franke Park, Fort Wayne, IN – Enjoy the first lighting of Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights by running this course and taking in more than 100 lighted displays!  Registration is not open yet but as soon as it is, this page will be updated!

Not listed will be NeighborLink Fort Wayne ‘s Night Moves races that haven’t been released yet.  These are fun events within the Fort Wayne to take in during times of the day where you might not normally be running around town.  A bunch of us attended one last year.  Check out my race review here!

Lastly, if there’s a race you’re running in outside of these and want to do so, please do!  If you’re committed to running to make your miles count for Runners Doing Good, I’ll make sure you get a shirt so that you can rep the brand.  Make sure you take a picture!

 

2020’s Vision

“Never limit your vision based on your current resources” — Michael Hyatt

That quote couldn’t ring more true right now.  Currently, as a team, we have approximately $29.48 to our name as a result of the 13 Runners Doing Good wristbands that we’ve sold so far.  Yes, we’ve covered our upfront costs on that investment but the runway is still pretty long but if I’m going to look down the runway, it begs the question…..

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What do I see?  What are the steps and goals that are going to make 2020 a success?  I thought I’d share some of what I see and hope is on the horizon.  All of this could change and most likely will.  Change is often the constant in life and in how this has evolved since we’ve begun this adventure, it’s been a powerful force.

So here are the goals as we set sail for all good things in 2020.

Goal #1 – Get Runners Doing Good off of the ground as an entity.

Goal #2 – Create a logo and update the website

Goal #3 – If Goal #1 is achieve, then create a RDG Ambassador program

Goal #4 – Create the fundraising calendar

Goal #5 – Create the running calendar

Goal #6 – Lock in the major event for 2020

Goal #7 – Lock in runners for major event and RDG Ambassadors

Goal #8 – Kick some butt for great causes within the Fort Wayne community and beyond

So while it may seem like a few easy one line goals, there’s a lot of work within those goals.  Additionally, the picture is much bigger when it comes to some of those items.

For instance, the running calendar and major event line items.  In previous years, we’ve run on our own various races, etc. to train for the Ragnar Relays we’ve run but not a ton that was coordinated.  This year was the first year ran something during the year with the majority of the team involved, NeighborLink’s Night Moves.  I’d like expand upon that.

Not only would I like to have that set group for a major event but I’d like to expand the group that’s fundraising and running to a much larger group that runs local races too like the River City Rat Race, any of the runs associated with Epic Racing, and have it all the running calendar or “season” end at the Fort 4 Fitness.  I definitely want to support the local community.  If any of them want to run in a race out of town to help spread the word about our group, that’d be awesome too.

Another aspect would be associated with a fundraising calendar.  I would love to have a few charities or groups that we help but I’d like to have a few personal causes too.  I’d love to put a call out to runners to raise money in November so that we can drum up $500 to go to a local store and buy a bunch of food to take to the Community Harvest Foodbank or something along that line where we can drop off something tangible.

I’d love to have this churning along where we could cover the cost of a bunch of kids to participate in the Fort 4 Fitness kids marathon.  I think it’s important to support kids getting active so that they’re living healthy lives with fresh air and activity more often than screen time.

There are so many great organizations out there doing such varied things to help our community and in no way am I looking to replace anything they’re doing.  If we can leverage the power of the running community, which is amazing, to make our mileage count by supporting these causes, that’d be amazing.

Now the question is….who’s ready?

A Runner Looks at 40

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I’m not there yet but tomorrow’s my birthday and as my wife like’s to remind me, it’s a big one because it’s the last of my 30’s.  She makes me laugh.  I had one coworker this week tell me that 39 was his worst birthday and he freaked out and bought a mustang.  I’m pretty sure if I did that, Jenn might head in another direction.  Don’t worry sweetheart, I won’t.  Maybe my freak out is thinking I can turn the running team into something more than it has been, but I think that’s more thought regarding the rational evolution of something with great momentum.

That said, a birthday is always a great time to look back over the last year, and in my case, my 30’s, as I begin to wind this fine decade down.  Being that this is site and blog is largely about running I’m going to focus on that and my running goals as I put the arrow towards #40.

When I started this decade, I had been a year or two removed from the last of my pick-up basketball leagues and my church league softball I played.  I was also just a few days from becoming a dad since my oldest’s bday is just a few days after.  That winter and for the next 4 years, whenever the next of the little ones arrived, I found myself as inactive as I’d ever been in my life.  I was busy trying to keep up with dirty diapers and helping my wife with the late nights, etc. but I wasn’t physically active.

Finally, right around my 33th birthday, we went to my in-laws, for Christmas and God love her, but my MIL pats my stomach (I was wearing my peacoat) and smilingly says, “Do you have a present for me?”  I said, “No.”  She, thinking I was messing with her said, “Oh come on….you’ve got something under there!”  I laughed, unbuttoned my coat and just said sheepishly, “Nope, I’m just fat!”

That was my first bit of motivation for losing some weight.  I’m 6’1” and I was coming in around 220 then.  I would go on to lose nearly 20 pounds and was feeling better but I’d still never gotten over the winter blah’s and always found 5-10 lbs of cookie, pie, and whatever else was around.  All 3 of our kids were born either in the fall heading into the winter or right at the beginning of winter and our families were far too generous with the goodies and meals they brought us.

When I decided to run our first Ragnar, I was about 215 again and slightly climbing.  Our youngest was just born and something needed to happen.  I finally committed to running and I thought I’d trained really well for the race.  I wasn’t fast by any means but I lost 15 pounds in the course of training as was down to 199 for the first time since I can’t remember.  That weigh-in came the morning after I got home from the race.  I’ve not seen it since.

Throughout all of my training I keep getting down to 200 or near it every time but the problem is that I keep finding the weight I’ve lost, nearly every time.  I’m so exhausted and burned out from the process that I literally will find myself quitting running for weeks on end post Ragnar.

Through 5 Ragnars, soon to be 5 years of RNW, now Runners Doing Good, and nearly completely my 39th trip around the sun, I’ve not found consistency in my running and while that might be the mode of adventure that I’ve used to go about our fundraising aspirations, I’m unsure if I can count myself a real runner.  I’ve had moments where I’ve felt like it.

In 2017 during Ragnar Chicago I had a 6 mile run that took me through the Glacial Drumline trail between Madison and Milwaukee.  We could see Jenn in the distance and there was a pack of folks lined up to take off at the exchange where I’d accept the baton.  One guy acted like he was afraid of the next run and although he looked in pretty good shape, I thought to myself, just try to keep him in view and then catch him, if I could.  One person after another would come in and the pack of 6 was down to 2: he and I.  He would get a sizable head start on me.  I’m not sure if it were a minute or two but he had a neon hat and shirt on from what I remember and I could see him down the track quite a distance and especially as we turned out into the country side where there wasn’t an cover.  I somehow kept him in sight and I noticed that I was gaining, especially after the first 2 miles.  By mile 4, I was only off of him by maybe 20 yards and by mile 5 he was a couple hundred yards behind me.  I felt strong.  I ended up finishing a good bit ahead of him and it was fun to be done and waiting on him.

Another time was later that year when I ran the Fort 4 Fitness 10k and ran the whole distance.  My goal was to run it in less than 1 hour and when my app hit 10k distance, I was at 58 minutes.  The problem was that I still had less than a quarter mile to go to the finish line at home plate at Parkview Field and my official time came in around 1:02, if I’m not mistaken so that goal is still technically out there but again, another day that I felt strong.

The consistency is what I’m striving for this year.  That may be my most lofty personal goal.  I know runners and the mileage they put in is due to that consistency.  I have not run enough from one year to the next to say I’m anywhere near consistent, and maybe not even a runner.

So in the full spirit of disclosure, here’s my yearly mileage since 2015.  78 in 2015, 2016 – 116, 169 in ‘17, 151 in 2018 till I got hurt, and 191 this year.  For someone that’s been “running” as part of this adventure to raise money through those running efforts, I’ve trained enough to complete the goal and while I love being out there, I’ve let the process get the best of me and there are long periods of time that I’ve lay out.  Consequently, my weight has yo-yo’d in the same 10-15 lb range and I’m currently at the upper end of that, nearly 215 again.

I’ve proven that putting the work in can achieve some decent results but it’s time for some true change.  Just running to finish can’t be the goal any longer.  2020 is going to be different so as I embark on this odyssey towards 40 and all things Runners Doing Good, here’s a few goals for the new year and I’ll report back on these quarterly:

  1. Less screen time, more pavement time
  2. Less pavement time, more trail time
  3. Become a runner by finding consistency. At least 10 miles a week with the goal of 12-15 a week.  If I do that, then I’ll more than triple my best mileage year ever.
  4. Run that 10k in under an hour.
  5. Run that 5k in under 28 minutes
  6. Get to 190 = healthier me = faster me
  7. No pop, just water.
  8. No beer or wine…just kidding.  Nothing wrong with a celebrating success. 🙂

Those are my running goals.  Here’s 3 challenge goals that I’ll throw in there that with your help, I’ll go after.

  1. If the team can get Runners Doing Good up to $5,000 in total donations by the end of our main event this year, I’ll run the Fort 4 Fitness 1/2 Marathon.
  2. If we break our fundraising record by August 1st, I’ll go for the Triple Crown that they’re bringing back.
  3. If we break $10,000 in fundraising this year, I’ll find a partner in crime and go Black Loop at a Ragnar in 2020 as a 40 year old.

So there it is, a year with some good running goals towards a healthier me for 2020 as well as some personal challenge goals attached to our racing efforts with 2020 and potentially 2021 repercussions.

All fundraising will start in January and count towards those goals.  Anyone who wants to join the fun, let me know!

Thanks,

Gabe

 

On Daring Greatly

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly” – Teddy Roosevelt

I went through a leadership training course this past year and the above quote was included on our certificate of completion and it absolutely stuck with me.  What stuck with me wasn’t so much about getting credit for doing anything special but for daring greatly.  Daring greatly is remarkable.

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We are Ragnarians.  We Believe….Together We Can Accomplish Anything

For soon to be 5 years, I’ve recruited runners to participate in a race that tests your ability to handle some long distance running in multiple sets throughout a 30 hour time period, more or less, depending on how fast of a team we had and just in the running, I’d say we’ve dared greatly.

We’ve also dared greatly when it’s come to how far we’ve reached and strived for in our fundraising on behalf of others within our community.  In four campaigns alone, we raised raised nearly $17,000 for Kate’s Kart, and then just this year, we raised just a tad short of $7500 for NeighborLink Fort Wayne.  Our 5 race total is almost $25,000!

We’ve always strove for doing better from one year to the next but we largely stayed within the idea of attacking the challenge directly in front of us and again, we’ve been wildly successful but I keep having this burning feeling that there’s more to be done.

If we’re here to dare greatly and do a lot of good, then my belief is that the team is truly limited by two things: Only working in the here and now and having someone else’s likeness as our name and logo.

We could keep doing what we are doing, which would be great.  We’ve had a lot of success doing this but I think we’d be shrinking and doing the safe thing by sticking to the same yearly plan.  We’d also be holding back an untapped potential.

The team and I have been blessed this year to watch and witness the kindness and genuineness of the folks at NeighborLink Fort Wayne and a significant part of this next evolution of this crazy running adventure is inspired by their willingness to look outwardly towards those that need help around them.

There are many details to share in the coming weeks but for now the only guarantee I can share is that we will ALWAYS contribute to NeighborLink Fort Wayne and that the vision is to make a greater impact within the Fort Wayne community but also beyond.

Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!

– Gabe

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