A Family of 6!!!

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Now this is the type of update that we’ve been waiting to give for some time. Over the last couple of weeks, the Dee Family embarked on their trip to Colombia to adopt their daughter-to-be. It’s been a trip that, in a small group text, Tony described as, “A once in a lifetime trip. It’s a trip that changes you.”

It brings us great joy to share the following from the Dee Family in their own words:

“BIG ADOPTION NEWS!!!

We can now announce that we are officially a family of 6!!

Please Welcome Mafe to our family!

(Pronounced Mah-Fay- this is her Colombian nickname which she has chosen to adopt as her first name)

Throughout this journey, Jeremiah 29:11 has come up over and over again “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”.

Hope. That word specifically has shown up everywhere, even in our pre-encuentro meeting, our in-country rep talked about Hope. I almost started crying because I just knew that Mafe’s middle name should be Hope. 💜💜

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And now it’s a matter of time, hopefully in the next several days, that arrangements will be made, and they’ll work their way back to the states and we can welcome all 6 of them home.

For now though, it is with warm hearts that Team Runners Doing Good congratulates Jayme, Tony, the girls, and young Mafe on their new life together as a family of 6. We couldn’t be happier for you all.

Sincerely,

Runners Doing Good

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Meet the Team #6 – Kelsey

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It’s that time of the week again! We’re introducing another runner for Team Runners Doing Good and today, we are thrilled to say that Kelsey is on our team. She’s one of the very best teachers we have at our school and her infectiously positive attitude is something we’re can’t wait to have be a part of this team.

In addition to being an all-around great person, I’ve been told that she’s been a lifelong runner who’s pretty kickass too. Check out that half marathon picture. That’s just awesome.

Having someone of her caliber on all fronts is a big deal for us and we’re glad she doesn’t mind hanging out with the rest of us who are about as fast as a herd of turtles!

A Ragnar is always an adventure and having someone like her on the team, we can’t lose…..That’s more of sentiment. We’ll certainly lose but we’ll have more fun because she’s on the team! Ha!

If you’re as big of a fan of Kelsey as we are and would like to support the team, please visit our gofundme page to benefit the Dees right now!

Click below:

Runners Doing Good 4 Dee Family Adoption

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Team Update

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This is a picture of the finish line at last year’s Ragnar Trail Relay in Grayling, MI. 3 of our runners will be new this year. We’ve already told you about Lyndsay but we have 2 more to discuss as well but there is another big difference with this year’s team.

Because we’re doing this without a net and have no sponsorship, we’ve had an agreement with the Dee’s that our expenses would net out of the fundraiser once our matching cap was hit. We’ve met that requirement fully and as noted in a prior Campaign Update, they’re looking at netting out, right now, at more than $9500.

That said, we still have some expenses that we have to cover. Our promise was that our portion would come last. Operating a Ragnar Trail team isn’t entirely cheap and because of our lack of non-profit status and lack of partnership with a non-profit organization this year, we’ve had zero sponsorship to help with the expenses that have largely been covered over the last few years.

We have done an exceptional job of limiting costs this year. In 2021, our costs approached $3500 with most all of that covered thru sponsorships.

This year, we’ve cut that down to approximately $1450! That’s a massive reduction in costs but today, we’re currently at a bit below $1100. There are a couple of things that we may be able to trim but if we can just come up with a bit more, it’d cover all of our needs and be immensely helpful.

And here’s the pledge, if we raise more than what our needs are, the rest will go to back to the Dee Family fundraiser to assist with any further costs that are left beyond what we raised.

Thank you all for your support of what we’ve been able to do this year. It’s been truly appreciated by us and the Dee’s. This has been a tremendously creative campaign that’s proven just as successful.

If you can help, please see the links below:

Facebook: RDG 4 DFA

GoFundMe: RDG 4 DFA

Thanks again and we can’t wait to share our running adventure with you all as it draws near.

Sincerely,

Gabe – Runners Doing Good

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Map Update!

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This map. It might be one of my favorite things AND challenges of our fundraising efforts. It shows so much and as we’ve grown and evolved over the last couple of years, it literally puts a smile on my face.

To me, it shows growth. A couple of years ago, we might have gotten donations from 10-12 different states but now, through the love and generosity of so many people connected to the team and within the running community, we have received donations from 19 different states and if we can just get a few more, we’ll have covered half of the country. To me, that’s just remarkable.

It also shows potential. There are so many people within the running community and there are so many different things that I believe Runners Doing Good can be and do but spreading the word about the team and our efforts still has a way to go. That’s exciting too.

So, here’s the ask: If you know someone in one of the blank states on the map, please ask them for their time and donation. Help us push this just a little farther. There’s approximately a month left in our campaign and if we can fill this map just a bit, it’d be incredible.

If you or they are not on Facebook, please visit the below GoFundMe page to donate today.

Runners Doing Good For Dee Family Adoption

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Meet the Team #5 – Lindsay

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Every year we have a newbie or two. This year, we have 3! We are thrilled to have Lindsay and her husband Jake on the team this year. I have known Lindsay for roughly 20 years and I was actually in their wedding many moons ago! They are just awesome people and I was thrilled when they answered the call and said yes to joining the team.

Here’s a little more about Lindsay, in her own words….

“A bit about me. I didn’t start running until college in an attempt to combat the “Freshman 15″ plus relieve stress. I have run a handful of half marathons and several 10K races over the years, but mostly just run for fun and fitness. And yes I said fun – I actually love working out. This race will be the biggest fitness challenge that I have taken on, both physically and mentally. Excited to be a part of the team!”

Hopefully she doesn’t kill me for stealing this picture from her facebook but outside of that, she’s just the type of person who will fit in great with our team!

If you are a friend, family member, or a fan of Lindsay’s, please consider giving to support our efforts this year! We’ve maxed out our matching cap and so the Dee’s are confirmed for a net of approximately $9500.

The running team’s expenses come last and we’re approximately $400 away from covering the last of those needs so anyone who hasn’t donated yet and would like to, we’d greatly appreciate it!

Please visit the following link to donate:

Runners Doing Good 4 Dee Family Adoption!

Campaign Update!!!

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We’re excited to share that the Dee’s are off to Colombia to officially adopt their new daughter, M! We’d originally thought that sometime soon here that when we have a team meeting that they’d be able to join us to tell the rest of the team about their story a bit but unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, a lot of paperwork and approvals came through quickly and in about 10-14 days they had to get everything organized to leave in a hurry.

This has been a long time coming for them and we couldn’t be more excited for them. It was a dream that came to them as a calling and our hat’s off to them for answering that call. Life is a series of calls and when presented with this one, they said yes to it. Their lives will be enriched by the addition to their family and for “M”….the whole trajectory of her life will change and improve as opportunity for her with expand in ways she could only dream now that she’ll have a family to love and support her.

For them and her, Team Runners Doing Good couldn’t be happier.

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Now…onto the fundraising update. Through our matching opportunity that we’re running through another grant that they were able to get, our unofficial fundraising total is now approximately…..

$9,500!!!

How have we arrived at this number? It is more than $2,000 beyond our best fundraising total ever! It has been a unique path to say the least. We’ve had a lot of strength from private donors and the unique ability because of that to make the dollars we’ve raised work in ways that we’ve not in the past.

The Dee’s have had a grant that would match what they raised so we saw to it that many of the dollars we raised went to the grant first before they received it. Throw in our donor who always challenges us to reach higher with a matching opportunity as well and our dollars are pretty similar to last year’s numbers, however, as mentioned, we’ve been able to make those dollars count more this year and if it weren’t for the efforts of the team in coordination with the Dee’s, they’d not have gotten this amount and that’s why we’re counting it towards what will be an official total when the fundraiser closes at the end of June.

Also, we’re calling it an unofficial total because we’re doing this all through GoFundMe and Facebook and of course, those groups take their cut so the numbers we’re providing are approximate net totals and we’re still waiting on one disbursement to come through so that we can know what that will truly look like. It should be a shade higher than $9500.

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Now…so where are we as a team, today? The $9,500 doesn’t include the costs of running the team. We’ve actually raised dollars beyond that $9500 approximation which also becomes a record for us as it’s the first time we’ve raised more than $10,000 in a campaign whether it was 100% through private donations or a combination of private and sponsorship.

Right now, the team is approximately $350 away from fully covering our expenses and so we are, for the first time, reaching out to you all to help with those costs.

If you are able to help us with those costs, the pledge is the same as it’s always been, we’ll give 100% of anything beyond that, back to our cause of choice, and in this case, it’d be more to heap on that $9500. What we’ve done has helped do something incredible and it’ll help them immensely with the cost of the adoption but they’re still bringing a girl home and what’s often forgotten are the costs of clothes and other things that a person needs as well once they get home.

So, my ask is that if you can support us even more, we’ve got 4 weeks till we leave for the race, let’s cover the team’s final needs for the raise and boost their total!

The only question is can we boost it to exceed $10,000? I’d like to see.

If you feel compelled to donate, please visit:

Runners Doing Good For Dee Family Adoption

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Lastly, I just wanted to express the team and I’s thanks for the continued support. This year was a challenge on many fronts. We basically have zero sponsorship because we’re not a non-profit and so all of this has been scratching and clawing to get here. Also, by the time we hit the finish line at Ragnar Trail Michigan, we’ll have run the fundraiser for nearly 8 months as we started this process in November and will finish it just before July kicks off. It’s been a grind to continually reach out and find different ways to keep boosting the overall bottom line.

But through all of this, there have been the supporters we’ve always had. There have been the supporters of the Dee’s that haven’t been with us before, too, which is significant for us as well.

And most importantly, we’ve again been able to make a difference in our community, by directly supporting a family this time in a way that makes our community better by literally adding to it.

For all of that and for who you all are to us, I/We say thank you and that gratitude doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of where we’re at here so far, 7 years into this journey. It’s pretty special and it’s because of all of you.

Now let’s keep pushing because we’re not done yet.

Take Care,

Gabe & Team Runners Doing Good

Meet the Team #4 – Andrew

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For a guy who says that he doesn’t like running, he’s sure done a fair amount of it. This year, he’ll be one of just 4 runners, all-time, who have run 5 Ragnar Relays with us, and will move firmly into 3rd Place in career miles run for us with more than 80 miles run for others’ benefit.

He’s endured the heat of Chicago, the cold night air of the trip from Grand Haven to Traverse City, and the hills of Grayling and keeps coming back. He’s truly been one of the pillars of our team and now he’s bringing Kati with him!

One of the best stories about Andrew at a race comes down to volume. The volume in his head phones and himself….at Ragnar Relay Chicago, his first race. He was getting ready for his first leg and grooving to some music to himself, just bouncing in his spot as he worked out the nervous energy as we waited for Michael. At some point someone said something to him whether he was ready and he declared, “YEAH, I’M GOOD!” as he all too nonchalantly yelled it in our faces as if he were trying to shout over the noise of a concert. Except the problem was the concert he was at was in his head and we were all just standing with a group of stranger who were practically as startled as we were. After he took off, I think we all talked super loud on purpose for the next hour.

In the end, he’s a guy that I can’t imagine not doing this with us. He’s been as good of a friend as they come throughout the years and it’s been special to share this craziness with him.

If you, too, are an Andrew fan, please consider supporting him and consequently, The Dee family, through Runners Doing Good. To make a donation please follow the corresponding links for what works best for you.

Face Book: RDG for DFA!

GoFundMe: RDG for DFA

Thank you all for your support of Runners Doing Good, The Dee Family Adoption, and Andrew. Your love, kindness, and generosity are what helps propel us continually forward.

A Full Realization

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Not quite a month ago, I wrote a blog post that was titled, “An Interesting Question….” You can read it if you like but it detailed a conversation I had had where someone asked me what I’d do for the next 20 years if I wasn’t at my current job. I answered, that I’d love to do “What I do with the running team but bigger.”

Part of that answer is a belief that I could grow it to a point where I could make it my profession full time and provide for my family through it. I truly think that with a little time that I could. The kicker is that I love what I do already though, but the thought of what Runners Doing Good could be hasn’t left my head.

Part of that is because of a look to next year. Last year’s race and campaign felt like unfinished business for NeighborLink Fort Wayne. This year has felt completely and wholly different.

It has been more personal, more creative, more direct, and sustaining than any other campaign. It’s also much riskier than any campaign has been as we’ve not had an ounce of sponsorship. I fully comprehend why we don’t have any sponsorship and that’s because we’re not a non-profit. Without that, organizations struggle to just give to individuals and at the heart of it, I’m the one they look at and I get that they can’t just hand over $1,000 to some guy even if they’ve worked with that guy before.

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The behind the scenes part of organizing a non-profit running “foundation” aside, this thought and internal debate over taking that step forward has been more constant than ever. In all honesty, it’s been there since we decided to move from Kate’s Kart to NeighborLink but this year just being out there on a limb, or at least feeling this way, has given root to that idea more than ever.

Even more so, though, is the thought of what could this all be if it were fully realized? Now, I don’t honestly believe that this will come to be but if it were to somehow hit a chord and snowball in a way that much of our story already has, then anything is possible, right?

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So with all of that said, here’s a list of thoughts and things I’d love to say that Runners Doing Good, could become if it had the chance to reach full realization, keeping in mind that many of these are pipedreams and wishes but are still things that have registered a thought at some point. So here it is in no particular order….

  • Reach Non-Profit Status
  • Fully fund the operation through the creation of income streams. In the past, we’ve had sponsors from the community that have helped with this. Annual Ragnars cost us approximately $1,500 between registration, t-shirts, website, etc. That’s just for Trail Ragnars. Road Ragnars are nearly twice that.
  • Grow awareness of the team locally. Much of what we’ve done has been to the benefit of local organizations and groups. If we can continue to do that then we need to spread our name better so that when Team RDG puts the call out that folks answer it. The running community is pretty amazing and the more engaged local runners can be with what we do, I know the more willing they’ll be to support us.
  • Create a full Ambassador program with people willing to make their miles count through a commitment to raise dollars to support what Runners Doing Good does. The Ambassador program should have a host of benefits from discounts at local running stores to nutrition and hydration solutions to free entries into different races.
  • Get included in the Fort 4 Fitness charity list so that a portion of Ambassadors’ registration can go to Runners Doing Good
  • Have a gear store of RDG logo’d products for purchase but also place runners, in our gear, in the major races within the area.
  • Get a state level sponsor. It would be amazing to be supported by groups based outside of Fort Wayne as it would show the impact we’re having is growing.
  • Get a national sponsor. See above but bigger.
  • Have relationships with a major running centric brand(s). If we’re able to show that runners of the Average Joe variety are supported by someone big like Asics, Brooks, Nuun, Nathan, Petzl, BocoGear, Gatorade, Ragnar, etc. then it proves that high level support for even them is possible because of the impact we’re making.
  • Grow the Relay Team. Have larger core of runners willing to participate in Ragnar style relay events so that it’s easier to field one team with the hope of growing that to multiple teams.
  • Take the Team Farther – One of those additional teams should race outside of the midwest
  • Grow the Scope of the mission beyond just Fort Wayne community needs. It would be incredible to have a relationship with a national charitable organization that we could work with and support.
  • Write a book about all of this
  • Consult other relay teams on best practices for running relay events and fundraising as well.
  • Ragnar Minnesota for Brave Like Gabe. This is one that was on my mind years ago. I never actually met Gabe Grunewald in person, however, she followed Runners Doing Good on Instagram and we chatted back and forth about what we were trying to do. At the time, it was more focused on highlighting other runners accomplishments and fundraising endeavors. She was all about it. That was in late January or early February and we even discussed doing an interview or questionnaire to highlight her and Brave Like Gabe. My dream there was to ultimately bring Runners Doing Good to Minnesota to benefit Brave Like Gabe with her and Justin on the team in some capacity. Not long after we conversed back and forth, within a few months actually, her condition worsened and she passed. This hasn’t happened and part of me really wants to still do this.
  • Create an Allstar team to crush a Ragnar Road Relay’s fastest times and our best fundraising totals. We’d need incredible fundraisers willing to draw a ton of attention to the cause to raise as much as possible for it and then several out of this world runners who could make up for how slow I am and still break Ragnar’s best time. See above….
  • Expand the scope of the athletics to more than just Runners Doing Good but to ___________ Doing Good with different athletes achieving other crazy feats in the name of raising money for great causes. For instance, riding a bike the length of Indiana or someone kayaking a river or completing an IronMan.
  • Become big enough that we become an amplifier, for runners making a difference within their community, that can help drive traffic to their causes so that their running and fundraising campaigns are as absolutely successful as possible. Think….The Chive but for runners but without me putting on a tube top.
  • Become self sufficient enough that this could become a fulltime gig for me.

So as you can see, there’s all sorts of things that I think this could be. To sit here right now and say that any of this is possible feels like I’m half crazy because maybe it’s not and I could be dead wrong but it also could be a bit fun if some of it actually hits.

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In the end, this whole adventure has been a true blessing. Many of us that have done this have had the opportunity to do this multiple times from the Runnin’ Not Walken years till now have had such a unique experience. Michael, Jenn, Andrew, Courtney, Melissa, Chris, and myself…we have have been able to make a difference in the world through the craziness of our Ragnar adventures and made memories that no one can take away that will ultimately last our lifetimes. I know that I will personally hold all of those moments and laughs as precious. It’s truly been that type of special to me.

So what does the future hold? I don’t know but for now, I am beyond grateful for this experience and I look forward to whatever possibilities lie ahead.

Sincerely,

Gabe

Let’s Finish Strong!

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Hills are great metaphors for anything tough. Sometimes they’re little and you can fly up and then down but then sometimes, they’re just plain daunting as you come across one after another. Other times, you come across one and you’re not sure how you could ever get up that darn thing.

The one in the picture is a bit like the latter description and it’s not a metaphor at all. It is most definitely waiting for us out there at Ragnar Trail Michigan. During last year’s race, Jenn warned me that there was on the Yellow Loop that was an absolute doozy and that a “power hike”, and there were a lot of those out there, would be necessary but this one in particular was noticeable. I asked her where it was exactly and she couldn’t quite remember the mile marker but that it was a “you’ll know it when you get to it” kind of a deal.

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As we just hit the Easter holiday, our group of friends and I received a text from the Dee Family that their immigration approval came in the mail and that “the pressure is on” as they could realistically travel in the next few weeks.

With today beginning our matching opportunity, looking at raising an additional $1,500 for them, and thinking about what to write here, it made me feel that much of this process has had to feel like that hill for them. More appropriately, it’s probably felt like a series of hills like that, I’d imagine.

For those of you who have kids, you know the feeling of loving them so much that you’d move mountains for them if you had to do so. For the Dees, they’ve faced a mountain just to bring their daughter home. That’s just an incredible thing and our hope is that we can aid them in climbing that mountain.

So here’s where we’re at:

We’ve got the ability to match the $1,500 through a very generous donor who’s been with us for years. From there, we’ll be able to take those dollars and apply what’s left towards the Dee’s Matching Grant which has approximately $1841 left.

That’s going to give us the ability to take this from $5838.48 that’s netted out as of right now and get $3,000 prior to GoFundMe and Facebook fees, which should allow us to wipe out the rest of their grant. That’ll get us to the $9500 range in total funds raised because of Runners Doing Good’s efforts and then we’d still have $1159 left over.

Our efforts should help the campaign reach $10,000 for the very first time. That’d be amazing for them and be quite the testament to the creativity of our efforts.

So how can you help?

If you’re on Facebook, please visit:

Runners Doing Good for Dee Family Adoption!

If you’re NOT on Facebook, please visit our GoFundMe Page:

Runners Doing Good for Dee Family Adoption

And if you’re already donated, please SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!!!

Thank you all for your consideration and hopefully your generosity. We and the Dee Family, especially, truly appreciate you all.

Sincerely,

Gabe & Team Runners Doing Good

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Meet the Runners – #3 – Kati

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The above is an interaction I had with Kati’s husband, and fellow teammate of ours, Andrew, after I’d posted Michael’s meet the runner profile. It made me laugh so I had to share…the picture of it…not Kati’s details. Haha.

Now…on to Kati! I’ve had the good fortune of knowing Kati for more than 15 years. She’s truly one of the good ones. We’re proud, and quite frankly, lucky to have her join us last year. Every year has a Ragnar Rookie and sometimes a few but Kati was 2021’s lone rookie on the team.

I know that Andrew bugged her about joining for a year or two and he finally convinced her. Ragnar Trail Michigan was tough on all of us as we were all rookies to the trail format but when you’ve never been a part of this team, the first year is always tough for one reason or another.

I know that Kati, being a former collegiate runner, wasn’t happy when she told me that she walked a lot of the last leg of the race. To which, I said, “It’s ok. We’re not here to win or even set any records. It’s about the journey and you survived.”

I truly was happy and proud of Kati for all of the hardwork she put in last year and I think having been through it and understanding the challenge, I honestly felt she wanted another shot at it and that’s part of why she’s back for another go at it.

Usually, this is where I ask folks who are friends or family members to support her by donating in her name to our cause of choice but if you’ve read yesterday’s post, you know what we are gearing up for something special this Monday so I’d ask that if you’re a fan, friend, or family member that hasn’t donated yet to support the Dee Family, please read our latest post (link below) and you’ll understand why we’re asking you to wait till Monday.

Light The Match!

After Monday, we’ll repost this and ask you all to jump in. Kati’s pretty awesome and we hope to hear from you all then!

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