“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” – St. Mother Teresa
What is a “run-gooder”? A run-gooder is a person that is willing too make their beating of the pavement meaningful. It’s sacrificing hours of training, the aches, pains, and hard earned sweat that accompanies it all, all for the greater good of others in some fashion. By that definition, Jennifer is a “run-gooder” and the first I’m going to highlight.
In full disclosure, she’s my wife and I am partial but I am also the Captain of Runnin’ Not Walken and while she may be my wife, she oftentimes points at me and says, “that’s his baby!” when people talk about the running team and while the time involved may directly affect her more than anyone on the team, she has been tirelessly willing to listen, help, and encourage whatever was necessary to make this whole thing a success.
Four years ago, she wasn’t on the team but supported my efforts to get this off of the ground. She had just had our youngest so it wasn’t always easy or convenient for me to be outside running to get ready for the race but she made sure that I was and the race went off without a hitch and she, along with my parents, came to Chicago to see us finish. It was incredible and as everyone was exhausted from it all, they offered a seat in their car to go home. The rest of the team told me to go with my family and I did. They drove 3 hours to Chicago, cheered us on for 5 minutes, hung out for 25 more and we left for a 3 hour drive home. It will never be forgotten.
In 2016, I talked her into coming along for the adventure. We had a full team so I didn’t need another runner but I was all about runner safety. She was to be a driver, along with Adam. He ended up driving the whole race which was pretty incredible but she was like our van mother. It was projected to be in the 80-90 degree range during that race and before each run, the first question we’d hear was from her. “Do you want support?” Which is when the van would stop to check on a runner. “If so, what mile marker and what do you want?” “Do you want us to stop after that?” “When you’re done, do you want the same thing to drink?” She discounts her part on the team that year but I am utterly convinced that Van 1 that year would have wilted pretty quickly without her constantly ensuring that we were well hydrated.
If it weren’t for 2018, I would have said that 2017’s race would have been an amazing effort. With 4 weeks to go, Ryan, my godson, was sick and determined that he couldn’t join us. I wasn’t sure where to turn and there she was and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Jenn is actually a far more decorated runner than I am, by far, but she hadn’t run anything seriously since when we were engaged. While she wasn’t happy, initially, with her times, she got to a satisfactory point leading up to the race itself. She also helped contribute to our overall fundraising efforts which tipped the scales at more than $4500 that year. Come race day, I had the fortune of receiving the baton from her and it was awesome to see that smile coming in. She did great and you could tell she was beaming with pride and the joy of running was back in her veins.
Then came 2018 and if she wasn’t a run-gooder before, she certainly earned that label this year and that Mother Teresa quote described her to a “T.” She took on all of the full responsibilities of running on the team, getting friends, family, and her employer to donate more than $300 to the team. After a year where we lost a few family members, including an Aunt to Acute Myeloid Leukemia, when she found out that her friend Amy was diagnosed with AML as well, she knew she had to do something.
So in addition to all of the help she gave me, all of the funds she raised for our annual campaign for Kate’s Kart, she took up the responsibility of raising some money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in her aunt’s memory and in honor of Amy who was fighting like hell and winning it I might add.
In total, for Team Amy, she raised nearly $3,100 as Team Amy raised more than $25,000 to benefit the LLS and fight blood cancers. It was an amazing effort by this little run-gooder and it made me so proud of what she was able to accomplish. The only kicker was that she was in the other van with the ladies for the whole race vs getting to spend the weekend in the same van with her. She is a true inspiration and a beacon that lights up a room with her infectious smile and constant chatter. We are lucky that she’s on our team and I’m blessed that I get to call myself hers.