Run-Gooder #10 – Karl

Please note, this article was run on February 5th.  Karl had about 85% of his monetary goal met at that point and had 3 races to go.  He’s down to 2 races and is only 6% away from his goal.  Please read his story once more and if you feel moved, please consider giving to his cause.

Visit to make your donation today!


Karl is a UK runner that I happened upon the other day as he is running and fundraising for the British Heart Foundation in memory of his father, Jack.  The more I read about what Karl is doing in his dad’s memory, the more I knew he needed to be featured, spread the word on what he’s doing because it’s incredible, and maybe some of you would consider giving to his cause.  He’s getting very close to his goal so every little bit helps.

I asked Karl about his story and I could chop it up to shorten it down a bit but I do believe that he does a beautiful job of describing all he went through and the amazing challenge that he’s embarked upon so here’s his story, in his own words:


“Running through grief” – My mother lost her short battle with cancer in July 2011 at age 50.  I was 24 at the time and she was way too young to leave this world.  She was my everything.  She was my world!  I was devastated and living a life without her was something I was not at all ready for.

Before my mother passed away, I wasn’t one to worry about my current or future health.  I was overweight, ate unhealthily, probably drank way more than I should, smoked regularly and they were things I would turn to during difficult or stressful times.  When my mother passed away, I packed in the cigarettes and limited my drinking but had no real coping mechanism.  I didn’t want to hit the self-destruct button but I didn’t know how to cope or deal with the loss.  It was the darkest time of my life.

It was only when my daughter was born in October 2012 that I realized how precious life is and started to make a real effort to start looking after myself.  By this point in my life I was thinking to myself, ‘if I was to die at the same age as my mother, I’m already passed the half way point’ and that was a scary thought.

I tried many different things to help improve my physical and mental wellbeing.  Even with my beautiful daughter being in the world, the amazing support from my wife, dad, sister, brother in law and many other friends and family, deep down I still felt like I was struggling to cope and didn’t know what to do with my thoughts.

It was 2016 when I really came to terms with my mother’s loss. I started running in June 2015 and ran my 1st half marathon in Cardiff in October 2015. I decided then that in 2016 I would raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support in her memory. During that year I ran 4 half marathons (Merthyr Tydfil, Llanelli, Cardiff and Swansea), 3 marathons (Edinburgh, The Wales Marathon in Tenby and Gloucester City marathon) and finished off the year with The Gower 50 mile ultra-marathon.

Before I started my marathon challenge I didn’t realize the positive impact that year and running would have on my life. I had found my coping mechanism. My last surviving grandparent, my grandmother (my mother’s mum) passed away after a short battle with cancer in May of 2016, as devastated as I was, I was in a much better place mentally to deal with her loss.

After 2016 was over I realized that running and exercise is an amazing tool when life gets tough and it can really help improve your outlook on everything. That year changed me and my whole attitude towards all aspects of my life and really helped me grieve the loss of my mother & grandmother.

Sadly, a short while later in April 2017, my dad passed away suddenly aged 67. He died from the effects of undetected heart disease. I was 29 at the time and a lot more mature & self-aware. Being in this position before and understanding what grief can do to someone, I wanted to allow myself to experience the pain of losing my dad but I didn’t want it to take over my life. At the time my daughter was aged 4 and my wife was around 10 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t let the grief consume me as it did in the past.

I knew by running and exercising regular not only would it be good for my physical health but more importantly my mental wellbeing.

Spending the majority of my time each week working and looking after my family gives my mind a huge distraction from grieving. But, this is also why I always make time for a run or some form of exercise. Whether it’s a 4am run while my wife and children are asleep or a run on my lunch break during work or any other time I have a spare hour to myself. I make sure I get it done because the mental resilience running has taught me is invaluable. When I’m out running it’s just me and my thoughts. It allows me the time I need to think about what’s happened and to grieve.

Since losing both of my parents at relatively young ages, it’s given me the motivation to look after myself and regularly monitor my health. It frightens me to think of my children growing up without me.

Unfortunately, my dad died very suddenly and his heart disease had gone undetected so there was nothing that could have been done to save him. Not every story of heart disease ends so tragically. Many people live happy healthy lives with heart conditions and a lot of that is down to the amazing research and hard work carried out by the British Heart Foundation.

Wanting to turn my grief into something positive I decided to take my love of running and I will be attempting 7 ultra-marathons between January 2018 and June 2019. The distances vary between 32 miles to 100 miles.

I’ve completed 4 so far…

#1 Brecon to Cardiff, 11 February 2018, 43.9 Miles in 7 hours 22 mins

#2 The Vale Coastal Ultra, 7 April 2018, 33.6 miles in 6 hours 17 mins

#3 The South Wales 50 mile, 23 June 2018, completed in 14 hours

#4 The Gower 50 mile, 6 October 2018, completed in 10 hours 37… this event was a special one to me… it was held on my Grandma’s birthday & this event was also my 1st ultra-marathon experience back in 2016 when I run it in memory of my mother. When I completed it back in 2016 I certainly didn’t think at the time it would be the last run my dad would be at the finish line for. This makes this event even more poignant for me. It was very strange going back there to do it all again, this time in his memory!

The Gower 50 was always going to be an emotional day, I thought I managed to keep my sh*t together quite well considering, that was until after crossing the finish line I was caught completely off guard by the very kind gesture of Joe Timmins (the race director) & the Run, Walk, Crawl events team. At the finish they presented me with a frame including all the Run Walk Crawl event medals I had completed for the British heart foundation during that year with an engraved plaque saying ‘Ultras for Dad 2018’.

The course was a beautiful yet brutal one. Another awesome event to be part of and I was able to knock an hour and 17 minutes off my 2016 time.

4 down 3 to go! That’s all 4 for 2018 complete, the remaining 3 to be completed this year.

#5 Brecon to Cardiff 70k, Sunday 10 February 2019

#6 The Vale Coastal Ultra 50k, Saturday 6 April 2019… And to finish…

#7 The South Wales 100 mile ultra, Friday 21 June 2019… This will be my first 100 mile attempt, I’ve got a lot of work to do over the next 5 months if I’m going crack the South Wales 100 but I’m ready to work for it!

18 months of fundraising for The British Heart Foundation charity in memory of an amazing man, a man I was lucky enough to call Dad, Jack Williams. Gone but forever in our hearts.”


If you feel compelled by Karl’s story to give to his cause, please visit

You can also find him at @ktw09_Williams on Twitter.

Thanks for sharing your remarkably vulnerable story of grief and personal discovery with us all Karl.  I wish you nothing but the best of luck to you on your fundraising campaign as well as in your upcoming races.  Everyone will be cheering you on from across the pond. – Gabe

Wednesday Wisdom

I have been fortunate.  This whole process from the concept of just running a 12 person, 200-ish mile relay race has, for the most part, been somewhat easy.  I really can’t complain.

I have had the opportunity to do something “more” with my time, talent, and treasure and share it with the people I love who are in turn bringing their time, talent, and treasure to the table too.  It’s been incredible and that’s why when I saw this picture, I had to share it, because it’s pretty profound.

You wouldn’t think it’d have to be because it seems like a pretty well understood idea to “surround yourself with people who will life you higher,” but it’s not always easy to come by, even with people you’ve known your whole life.

That first year, I really had a core group of family members and one cousin in particular pretty much filled out the rest of the team.  That year was so unique because many of us group up together and hadn’t had the opportunity to hang out in such a long time that I felt like a kid again as we traversed the trails of Wisconsin to Chicago together.  It was my 2 closest cousins who group of 50 feet away.  One of them brought their girlfriend, now wife, so even she was family.  The other two runners in my van were two of my best friends who I’d done all sorts of crazy stuff with in the past and we were all married and busy with life but here we were.  It was almost surreal because other than Ruso, Joel’s wife, we had all known each other since were were very young so that bad jokes, pop culture references, catch phrases, and blasts from the past came crashing back for a 40+ hour reunion tour.

The years since then have been different in many ways, mostly pleasant but the common denominator has been the relationships.  No matter how long ago someone went back, whether it was a new runner or a friend who wasn’t a runner who just thought, “what the hell…let’s see where this goes,” there’s been a kindness and genuine vibe of support for one another.

It’s been a beautiful thing and as we continue here in 2019, I just want to say to Jenn, Matt, Amanda, Kelly, Cherri, Ryan, Michael, and Andrew, I’m blessed to have you along for the adventure because you definitely push our group higher by your presence.

May you all be as fortunate to have such a great group around you as well.

Happy Wednesday everyone!




Runnin’ Not Walken Update #2

Just a quick update on how Team Runnin’ Not Walken is doing.  So far today, we’ve raised $300 to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne.  There’s a pretty exciting development there for May 1st.  We’ll be back in touch in the coming days and weeks on that so be on the lookout!

Nine of the 12 spots are locked in for the team with 2 of the 3 basically locked in.  It’s pretty exciting really.  Usually I’m scrambling for half a team and to only have 3 spots and know that 2 of those 3 are probably in pretty good shape, there’s no worries there.

Lastly, special thanks to Don Ayres Honda, our very first sponsor ever and first of ’19, a Bronze level sponsor and Coldwell Banker & Sue Teasdale who have come in as our very first Gold Level, $1000 sponsor!  So far, $1250 pledged in sponsorship.  We’re a quarter of the way to our sponsorship goal.

In all, it’s still very early in the season but with warmer weather, there’s more action to come.  Thank you to all of our supporters through the years.  We’re still very excited for what 2019 has to hold!


Sunday Inspiration #1 – Returning The Favor

For our first Inspiration Sunday, I turn to Mike Rowe. Yes, that Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame and now, three seasons of Returning The Favor.  According to their shows description, “Returning the Favor gives back to those who pay it forward with humor, heart and surprise. Because one good turn deserves another.”  It is, at the very least, heartwarming and entertaining.

It is also a spotlight on those that are “bloody do-gooders” in this world where far too much negativity hogs the spotlight when folks who put themselves above others should garner a considerably higher percentage of our collective attention.

For me personally, it is a source of inspiration.  The first time I caught wind of this show, I couldn’t stop watching.  We were in our own 3rd running campaign and I was just in awe of the concept and as you can tell from our “run-gooders” and the concept of celebrating these runners and the good they’re doing whether it’s helping others, overcoming physical challenges, bad breaks of life, or just choosing a healthier lifestyle and becoming a rockstar in the process, there’s some parallels to this blog, albeit on a much smaller level.

The two espisodes that I’ve linked to above are two of my very favorites.  Both groups serve their community in unique ways whether it’s looking out for kids without a warm bed to sleep on or by empowering our girls.  I love both of these episodes.  I know you will too.

You can check out Returning the Favor on Facebook at:

Have a great week everyone!

On Inspiration

“Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination” – William Longgood

Inspiration….where does it come from?  It can be anything really.  It doesn’t have to be something profound but it causes movement within you and changes you somehow. I’ve had the pleasure of being surrounded by  great groups of people over the last few years.  Whether it’s the team and leadership at Kate’s Kart or Neighborlink Fort Wayne, one of my 30 team mates that have run a Ragnar with me since 2015, or just some of the people that I’ve encountered through this process of writing a blog, it’s pretty special.

There have definitely been some moments of inspiration:

We never would have run a Ragnar had a local runner on Twitter post not about her adventure in Tennessee with her teammates from Fort Wayne.  To whomever you are, thank you.

The team never would have gone down the path of deciding that we should do this for a greater cause if it weren’t for a team member’s thought to do so.  The decision to run on Kate’s Kart’s behalf wouldn’t have happened if not for a Facebook post by a runner’s wife posting about them on Facebook.

We never would have thought to attempt the effort again if it weren’t for all of the friends, families, coworkers, and supporters that donated so generously that first year and proving to us that we can do even more than we ever thought possible.

 We certainly would not have run it beyond the second year if it weren’t for the generous sponsors who started to get behind our efforts and essentially covered costs for us so that it was easier for our runners to participate in this without too much financial burden upon them or their families.  Their support has only emboldened us to keep going.

When we were looking for a new charity to benefit, we feel blessed to have come upon NeighborLink Fort Wayne and Team NeighborLink.  Your dedication to our community is amazing to us all and inspires us to continue running to help further your cause but more profoundly, to be better neighbors to those around us as well.

Runners Doing Good would not exist without the generosity, kindness, and support of Tim Green who has inspired us all to support other runners and their efforts because if we don’t, “Who will?”

To those runners willing to share their adventures, causes, and sunshine with the world, you are amazing examples that we can hold up to inspire others.  Thanks to you all for letting Runners Doing Good to be a part of that.

To the runners of Runnin’ Not Walken, we’d not keep this going were it not for your dedication to your training, the team, and to the cause.  You make us all stronger and keep us running in the same direction.

Very personally…to my wife, Jennifer.  This crazy adventure started as an idea in the fall of 2014.  Our youngest was still several weeks away from being born.  Looking back, the timing probably wasn’t the best but you made it work.  Your love and support has been unwavering even when all that we do isn’t easy.  The fundraising and all of that is nice but my greatest source of happiness is when I see yours.  It’s not easy being a mom and whether it’s an easy training run or seeing you during the Ragnar and talking about how you didn’t walk once during your most recent leg, it’s pretty special and I am continually inspired by you.  None of this would have happened if you weren’t on board that first year and now you’re as big of a part of this as anyone.

As you can see, there’s been an awful lot of growth from where this all start to where it is today and none of it would have taken place without the people, events, businesses, and causes that have inspired something within us during this time that have continued to nudge us in the direction we’re supposed to be.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.

What is most definitely next is that at the very least, every Sunday, starting February 24th, expect a Sunday Inspiration.  It could be showcasing a Run-Gooder, something that’s been inspirational in this runnin’ and bloggin’ adventure, or just a feel good to start your week.


Runnin’ Not Walken Update!

Ragnar Registration Day has been one of the most exciting days of the year for me.  It bears with it the promise of adventure.  It’s a feeling both exhilarating and daunting.

Sometimes I find myself busting at the seams with exuberance as I’m so ready to hit the road with the teams.  Each year and team have been different from one year having friends and family from my childhood filling up one van and being together in one place for the first time in forever, void of any responsibilities other than our running assignments, and joking around about old times to a group that’s been tweaked and molded that’s slowly formed a core of both devoted runners and fundraisers.  That might sound more formal but it’s not become any less fun.

Other days, when running in the cold of the early spring or late at night to avoid the heat of the summer, I’m thinking about why on earth would I ever do this again?  That feeling usually creeps in hard again when it’s 3 a.m. and I’m running down what feels like a deserted highway, the pitch blackness of the night enveloped all around me, and nothing but the next 4 ½ miles separates me from my team, a warm van, and probably the only decent amount of sleep I’m about to get.

Running a Ragnar Relay and operating a growing fundraising team operation can be tiring for sure and I’ve found myself just disconnecting from it for a few weeks after the race and I’m not just talking about the team operations part of it.  I’ve stayed off of the running path altogether nearly every year, finding a few pounds along the way I might add.

That all said, the grind and the challenge of it remain.  I’ve said it before and I mean it, although that could change after this next May when I run the Indy Mini, running a Ragnar Relay and organizing the team are by far the hardest thing, at least athletically related, that I have ever done but yet almost instantly, even if I lay low after each one for a bit, look forward to the next opportunity.

So with that, Runnin’ Not Walken is going to Ragnar Relay Michigan in 2019!

Happy February!


I saw this the other day and it got me thinking and I just had to share.  It’s a pretty simple message but it’s the kind of thing that can turn into a pretty inspirational message for our efforts here, maybe even a mission statement: To Be A Light of Hope & Encouragement for Runners Everywhere!

Admittedly, over the last 4-6 weeks, I promoted a good amount of runners, many of whom I’ve known before and were easy to write stories on but you can only do that so long.  If this is something that’s going to continue over the longer term, we need to slow the pace down a little bit on that a bit unless you all start sending us ideas for a lot more to feature.

So here’s a bit of what to expect over the next month or two:

  • 2-3 featured runners per month
    • Hopefully featured in February and March:
      • A reporter turned world runner
      • A group of runners running a Ragnar to raise awareness for a genetic syndrome in children
      • A multi-year run streaker
      • An elite runner who has faced and fought a rare cancer and looking to get back on the track while raising money for her foundation to support rare cancer research
  • A few updates on Runnin’ Not Walken and how are efforts to raise money and awareness for NeighborLink Fort Wayne are progressing.
  • An update or two on my own running journey as I aim towards a healthier lifestyle as part of my training for the Indy Mini in a few months.
  • Hopefully more positive stories or inspirational reminders that we can be better, we can promote the positives in the world to drown out the negatives, and just overall be there for our fellow runners.
  • Speaking of being there for our fellow runners, I’d like to start in March, to nominate and support 1 runners cause.  We’ll come to an agreement on what that  cause is and then all who agree to take part, will donate $5-$10 per person with the hope that this builds and we can bring more and more folks into the fold.

So with that, as you are trying your best to not over do it while you’re watching the big game today, think of ways that you can be a light of hope and encouragement for others.  If there’s someone you know that should be featured, send the info our way at .

Thanks and Go Rams!







Reflection Friday…

It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop – Confucius

Happy Friday!  Today is January 25th and the first month of the year is almost in the books.  It is remarkable how quickly time flies nowadays.  As we bring this month to a close, or anything for that matter, it’s always a good time to look back, reflect on where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

So first off, how are those New Year’s Resolutions going?  This blog is a part of mine.  I wanted to write more and make it about mostly about others, with some on the running team, our efforts, and a little bit of myself sprinkled in.

I also wanted to run more.  This is a running blog and it’d be pretty bad if the author wasn’t running.  Since starting Runnin’ Not Walken in 2015, the winter months have been my nemesis.  I have experienced a good amount of running throughout the year.  Not the mileage I have seen some of you inspiring runners put in but for a guy who didn’t count himself as a runner, it was a good amount and I’d lose weight.

In full disclosure, I’m 6’2 and about 215.  I have a wider frame so I hold it pretty well despite some softness around the midsection.  My wife often comments on how strong my legs are and my doctor has put me through some leg exercises that I’ve passed with flying colors but admittedly, I would love for my weight to be less and running has done that but consistency has been the key and lack of it over the last several years.  I’m actually really good from March to November but anything I lose, I find it in those 3-4 months and it’s been a roller coaster.  My goal is to lose 25 pounds.  If I can do that, I’ll be in the best shape I’ve been in a decade and maybe my fastest for the Indy Mini and Ragnar Michigan this fall.

So as far as my running has gone, I’ve run 8 times in the last 2 ½ weeks.  It’s been low mileage and largely on the treadmill but I’m moving.  I HATE the treadmill but a good 2 mile run is a good 2 mile run an I’ll take it.  I’ve not gotten to the point where I love 5 milers but I do enjoy a 2 miler whether I’m indoors or out.  Time is a bit limited with kids, work, running team organizing, etc. so 2 miles is perfect at times.  So consider that resolution still a success.  I’ve not given up or quit and part of that is that still intimidating goal of 13.1 on May 4th.

As far as this blog goes, I still enjoy it but I’m getting to the point where it requires some help.  There’s only so many runners within a group and I’m starting to run out of them that I can easy pick on, choose to highlight.  I’m reaching out to quite a few runners that I find absolutely inspiring and stories are features are coming but it is taking a little longer than I anticipated.  I probably should have spread out my posts a bit I suppose.  Either way, those individuals are inspiring nonetheless and just coming across them helps push me farther personally and I can’t wait to share those stories with you as well.

2019 has me very excited and we’re just a month in.  It’s going to be a lot of hardwork but a lot of fun too.  Here’s to keeping the momentum going!

Work Hard. Do Good. Love Wins


Life’s most urgent and persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I just had to share this because when you make changes, sometimes there’s worry that creeps in on whether you’re doing the right thing or not.  As a whole, our team, even those that aren’t coming back, are excited for us because of what lies ahead in 2019 especially because of our new relationship with NeighborLink Fort Wayne and Team NeighborLink.

From all that know anything about them, the consensus has been that they love everything that NLFW does and no better example could be made than this past weekend when the snow flew pretty well here in northeastern Indiana.

I used the MLK Jr quote above because I think it’s appropriate, both from a timing standpoint as well as from what they do.  They are on the look out to help others and it’s genuine and I think that’s the kicker.  They do what they say and say what they do.  That’s uncommon in this world it seems.

I was personally inspired by them.  Our snowblower officially died a week ago and I had to shovel my drive during the previous snowfall and while I was doing that, all I could think of was that when I get a new snowblower, I want to make sure it’s good enough that I can help others with it.  That week, I went out and got a new one that was about the same size but with a bit heavier duty engine that could handle a heavier workload and then last weekend’s snowfall happened.

My wife and I are blessed to live in a small neighborhood on the county’s edge but a lot of our neighbors are north of 65.  The wind was blowing 30 mph and the snow was drifting pretty good so I got out and did my drive and sidewalk but also the walks and drives of 5 other neighbors and when I was done, it felt great to help out and I thought to myself, “would I have done this before?”  I’d like to think I would have but admittedly, I hadn’t.  They’ve already had an impact on me and we’re just getting started.

It’s why I want you to learn more about them and join us in our support of them.  That weekend, they were able to put the call out and got responses from folks that enabled NLFW volunteers to clean more than 40 drives for folks in need.  It’s not a huge thing but it’s impactful.  If an elderly person doesn’t have to shovel snow it saves them from a potential slip and fall or other weather related health concerns as well as saving them from having to pay for services to do it.  It’s just a genuine act of caring and ultimately those are the things that lie at the heart of what Neighborlink Fort Wayne is all about.

It’s hard not to get excited and inspired to do well by such a wonderful group.  Please check them out at and if you’d like to give please visit

Like I’ve said from the beginning, it’s going to be a great year!




Run-Gooder #9 – Michael

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.


%d bloggers like this: