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

 

Tuesday Truth – Be Intentional

“Intention + Action = Magic”

I’ve had the good fortune of taking part in a leadership development course through my employer over the last 5 or 6 months and the phrase “intentional” has come up a lot when we’ve discussed servant leadership.  I’ve also gone to two, 1-hour talks as part of a week long, in house, tech conference at my work just today and the subjects were about decluttering and being more effective and efficient with our time as well as how to lean into our strengths to that our inner, high performance leader could come out and again, the speakers focused on being “intentional” with our efforts.

It has gotten me thinking about this Runners Doing Good blog, the Runnin’ Not Walken team, and just this whole running adventure that I’ve been fortunate to be on the last 4 years and how being intentional with those actions has gotten us here.

First off, with running, if you’re not intentional with your goals and put them into action, how do you keep motivated?  I first wanted Runnin’ Not Walken just to be a portal to greater health for me.  I’ve personally yo-yo’d on my weight a bit during this adventure but I’m healthier now than I am then.  I put the effort in to be able to run a Ragnar and now I’m putting in the effort to run a half marathon and hopefully the payoff is where the magic lies.

As far as Runnin’ Not Walken, it has been intentional to focus our efforts on local, small charitable groups.  If we’d chosen some massive charity, they might not have wanted the hassle of our group, they most certainly wouldn’t make an effort to promote us, and the dollar amounts we’ve raise really wouldn’t have been a big deal for them either.  Between Kate’s Kart and now NeighborLink Fort Wayne, we’ve been blessed by two groups who are making an effort to push us so that we’re successful in what we do and consequently, they benefit.  The magic here is that it has proven to work not just once but four times and with results that only show that we’re continuing to grow as we maximize the opportunities we’re given and only push the fundraising dollars even higher from one year to the next.

With Runners Doing Good, there is a very real intent to make those that are putting their blood, sweat, and tears into the running community, their weight loss efforts, and other causes that are important to them.  I’ve been very blessed to come into contact with some really great people and while we’ve only released one Run Good profile in February and none so far in March, the best is yet to come.  I’m about to announce a fundraising effort for one running for the month of April.  Again, in that instance, we’re going to be very intentional with our efforts to hopefully raise a bit of money for a wonderful cause.

And with that, I want to say, very intentionally…Thank You.  I see the viewer habits and totals and while there are still peaks and valleys, the peaks continue to be higher and higher and I couldn’t be more appreciative of all of you who take the time and effort to read this.  Thank you so much!

Happy Tuesday,

Gabe

 

 

Runnin’ Not Walken: Update #3

Just two items to update today:

  • I’m happy to report that Ash Brokerage has committed again for the 3 consecutive year to support Runnin’ Not Walken at the Silver level of $500.  This brings our total sponsorship dollars to $1750.  We are well on our way to our sponsorship goal!
  • On the donor side, we have a Matching May even set up where in the month of May, we have a very generous donor who has challenged us to raise at least $500 on May 1st.  If we hit that, then everything else we raise in May, he will match.  This is quite simply, the most exciting and large opportunity the team has ever had.  There are more details to come but we’ll be working hard to make that a huge day!

Sunday Inspiration #2 – Jon Dorenbos

Sticking with the theme of a weekly inspirational story or person, not necessarily running related, this week, I’ve chosen Jon Dorenbos.  If you’ve not heard of Jon, you might want to get caught up because this guy is on a rocket ship right now and he’s only going to get bigger.  That’s a good thing for us.

I first heard of Jon and his story less than 2 years ago.  He was on an ESPN Radio show that I frequently listen to and was blown away by the positivity that was flying out of the speakers despite the fact that his childhood was blown up when his father murdered his mother when he was 12.  More on that and how his life has played out since.

Fast forward a year or so, and I find out that the upcoming Do it Best Corp Market, that I was going to be attending for work, was going to have Jon Dorenbos as the keynote speaker the first day.  I thought to myself, “I think I’ve heard of this guy.”  So I googled him and sure enough, Jon was exactly who I thought he was.  No one else in our office really knew who he was and I told them, I think he’s going to blow us away.  His story is incredible.

At that point, I’d only ever really heard him talk on the radio and a 3 minute clip of him from Ellen.  It was a pretty small sample size to say the least but I was bought in and excited for what was to follow down in Indianapolis.  So the day comes and we had tweaked our schedule to where the keynote speaker wasn’t first thing in the morning on a Saturday but now midafternoon on Friday.  People had a full day of running around the convention and this was maybe the first extended period of time that people could actually sit.  I was worried that the crowd could be pretty sleepy and to a degree it was until….

The Metallica starts blaring in the room.  All of a sudden Jon pops up with a beach ball and yells something to the effect that “if you can’t have fun with a beach ball and Metallica blasting, you might want to check your pulse.  Let’s go!”  He was a runaway train of fun and inspiration for the next hour and he earned a fan for life that day.

I mentioned that Jon’s father murdered his mom when he was 12.  A kid could go a couple ways with that.  He was fortunate to eventually be adopted by his aunt to be with family but a kid could still go the wrong way after something traumatizing as that.  He dove into football and magic and eventually played for the Philadelphia Eagles for more than 10 years as their long snapper.  Hint: that’s why you’d never heard of him.

Anyways, he led this charmed life as an NFL player with this bigger than life personality and used magic to wind down or perform for his teammates.  Eventually the Eagles would trade Jon which led to a team physical that would reveal he had a heart problem that would require emergency open heart surgery.  Magic helped him recover as he was an expert with card tricks.  It would start with just taking them out a shuffling and putting them back but as time would heal him, he’d do more and more and it became a motivator for him.

In between the Eagles and the surgery, he performed on America’s Got Talent and wowed the judges on a weekly basis.  His positive message, high octane energy, and off the charts skills earned him a place in the finals.  Just within the last month he was back on the show for its Champions rounds and finished in the Top 10.  He has a book coming out this year and a movie based on his life is in development.

In a world full of negativity, Jon is a shining example of what optimism, gratefulness, humility.  He truly is remarkable.  If you’ve somehow, not heard of him before, watch the below video.  You’ll not regret it.  This guy could be the best thing to come around in a long time.

 

Have a great week everyone!

 

Sincerely,

 

Gabe

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 www.justgiving.com/Karl-Williams17 to make your donation today!

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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:

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“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.”

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If you feel compelled by Karl’s story to give to his cause, please visit www.justgiving.com/Karl-Williams17

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

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