Top 11 Runners – #8 Matt

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According to a definition of hardcore it is: “the most active, committed, or strict members of a group or movement.” That sums up what I think of Matt. He is a hardcore runner and proud of it. He should be because he’s come a long way over the last several years.

After deciding a change in lifestyle was necessary, he’s dedicated himself to running and living a more active life. What started off as a movement to run a mile has snowballed into checking one challenge off only to look towards what the next challenge to conquer could be and currently he’s up to Olympic style triathlons. It’s incredible.

Matt started off by letting me know a couple years before he joined the team that he was available if I needed a runner. When it finally worked out, I knew I had someone who would take on any challenge, anywhere, and his stats show it.

In only 2 years of running with the team, Matt is the first runner on our list over 40 miles with 42.65 miles run during our races. He’s also the owner of the highest average mileage per race at just over 21 miles. There simply hasn’t been an assignment that he’s turned down or approached with less than 110% effort or enthusiasm and I’ve seen some of the hills that he’s had to run in Michigan. They were daunting but he crushed them. Just like he has all of his other goals.

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Top 11 Runners – #9 Greg

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At 37.8 Miles, the 2nd highest average per race mileage, and one of the very fastest runners we’ve ever had, Greg comes in at 9th in our Top 11 runners of Runnin’ Not Walken.

Greg was awesome to have on the team, along with his brothers that joined us for 2 years, ’16-’17. The Schortgen boys took the relay by storm and although he might have been quieter than the others, he was one of our workhorses we hitched our wagon to during that time. He just ran effortlessly and it was fun to watch.

Fun fact, in 2017, in a pinch for a runner with a guy dropping out 3 days before the race, Greg convinced his then girlfriend Tayler, to join our adventure and a van of 5 guys to take on the Ragnar Chicago course from Madison to Chicago in some decent heat that year, although not like 2016’s race, and they survived! Fast forward a couple years and they’re married and just had their first child! How awesome is that?!?

Top 11 Runners – #10 Kelly

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Kelly, a newer runner to the team in 2018, she’s run with us twice and left a mark, did a ton of good, and cracked our Top 10, just eeking out Courtney’s 36.5 with her own 36.8 miles between her two races in ’18 & ’19.

When she joined the team, she brought and exuberance and energy to the team that was infectious and brought that to not only the team, the race, but to the fundraising part of the equation as she got coworkers, clients, family, and friends of hers donating and following along.

In 2019, she also conquered what will probably always be the longest run of anyone on our team. With us down a runner due to a family emergency, we were scrambling. Along the way, she volunteered to jump out and take a portion of one of that team member’s runs, which would have preceded her run and add it to hers.

So she took off, came into the exchange and back out to run hers, totaling a Ragnar Leg medal-worthy 11+ miles in one stretch, battling some wind and rain as well. It was an amazing effort and one that won’t be duplicated any time soon. She should be truly proud of her efforts.

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Top 11 Runners – #11 Courtney

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Courtney Took on the Ragnar Leg in 2017!!!

Courtney is one of our originals. She joined us in 2015 and was the only member of the team that had ever run a long distance style relay race. Her knowledge of what to expect was extremely valuable and it helped guide the younger Wisconsinites in the van she rode in back during that first race from Madison to Chicago.

She also joined us again in 2017 to make that trek, riding and running in Van 1 with Jenn, Artie, Michael, Andrew, and myself. We had an absolute blast with her as she was jammin’ out to Apple Bottom Jeans as she was getting herself set to run. She tackled the Ragnar Leg, all 7.8 Miles of the Deep Dish Leg of the race and crushed it.

In fact, she was so fast that although we got to the exchange fairly early and she caught us, especially Jenn, off guard. Jenn had just gotten her shoes on, stretched out, and was headed to the bathroom when all of a sudden Courtney popped up! She was FLYING!

Also, she is supremely talented and created our Runnin’ Not Walken logo for which we used for 3 years worth of tshirts.

If you think that’s cool, you should check out her website where here talent is on full display as she is a supremely talented graphic designer and photographer. Check out Hardy Design & Photography!

In all, between two different tours of Runnin’ Not Walken, Courtney ran 36.5 miles of Ragnar Relay craziness with our team. She’s easily one of my most favorite people who have ever run with and I’m still holding out hope that somehow I can convince her again someday to run with us again.

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I Miss My Team

All of this time off and races cancelled and it’s gotten me thinking about what I’ve missed this year. It was supposed to have been a big year. I had put some lofty goals for myself out there and largely, I’ve not gotten close. Between the pandemic and everything going on, admittedly, my motivation has been about to zero, and I think I’ve been able to pinpoint it.

I miss my team. Usually there’s an energy about what we’re doing that’s palpable. It makes you, at least for me, accountable to the team to train, get in shape, and be able to run a race with some level of ability so that you’re shouldering your fair share. Things pop up before a race (twice) or during a race, more than once, where you have to pick up and run with the ball for someone else so if you’ve trained well enough to cover your distance and then some, it’s important.

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I miss preparing to meet that challenge because of the awesome people that have been on our team. So, it got me thinking. I already did a Top 10 Moments & Memories countdown. It’s hard to pick just 10 people to profile, however, I think it’d be cool to do a leader board countdown based on our mileage over the last 5 years.

I’m the only one who’s run all 5 races so I’ll do a Top 11 with my spot at #1 being a quick review of why I love our team, Ragnar Relay, and some general stats on our team’s actual mileage since 2015.

The first one drops tomorrow!

Thanks,

Gabe

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It’s Time to Look Towards 2021

“A Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road….Unless You Fail to Make the Turn.” — Helen Keller

Maybe not for you but for Runners Doing Good, it is time to change course and look towards 2021. This year, like it has been for so many, has been a year that has been very trying and fraught with uncertainty.

There were some definite highs. We officially kicked everything off in March with the hope of getting out to a fast start in our fundraising and boy did we. We ended up raising more than $1400 which was all matched so we ended up just short of $3,000 in total for March. That provided us with our best fundraising month ever in the 5 years and 6 campaigns that we’ve run. The last 3-4 days of the month, when Covid-19 was really starting to take hold in Indiana, were our best fundraising days. We were able to scrape together a bit more beyond the end of March, but that’s about where everything ended.

When Ragnar was forced to postpone and then cancel Ragnar Trail Michigan, that really killed anything momentum we had at the time. Without a functioning running team that was working towards training for the event and drawing friends and family members in to support them in this quest to take on something epic, it was very difficult to continue those efforts.

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I held onto the idea that we could continue on with running the Fort 4 Fitness and invited others to join the team as part of Team Runners Doing Good with much smaller fundraising requests, etc. and as race after race cancelled, the enthusiasm and any momentum there waned as well. The F4F is still on, for now, but people’s positivity towards running in groups at the moment is pretty minimal.

As I stepped away a few weeks ago and had some time in nature, this year’s campaign has been an underlying thought in the back of my mind. What do I do with it? We have never fallen short. In another year, the accomplishments of March would have lead us considerably farther than where we finished this year but the feeling that it is finally time to face reality has set in.

Is it disappointing? Yes. There’s a lot of this that has been that. Is it failure? I don’t believe so. Our first year, we hoped to raise $1,000 and scratched and clawed as a team to get to $2,250. In our second year, we set a $2,750 goal and finished with over $3,600. In perspective, we eclipsed 2015’s goal and final tally, and 2016’s goal, and only came up less than $600 short of it’s final number…..all in only really 30 good days of fundraising.

It believe that while we’re short of our goal it does show how far we’ve come. This has snowballed in a delightfully surprising way. I never would have ever guessed we’d raise $1,000 much less $3,000 in a year and now in what could be called a “down year”, we raise more than that.

So with the above quote in mind, we’re making the turn towards 2021 with great excitement. It’s exciting to think about a time where hopefully (crossing my fingers) our world may be a healthier place where events with groups of runners can take place, where we’re not quarantined at home, and where hope and optimism reign supreme.

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We’re excited for a time where there’s less uncertainty in the world where businesses can embrace charitable activity with less concern for their day to day operations, where families don’t have to worry about whether donating to a cause negatively impacts their household.

2020 has been crazy BUT we’re excited to go big in spreading goodness in 2021. With making this turn in the road towards 2021, it allows us to plan more and to potentially kick off 2021’s campaign sooner. Some of our expenses are already paid for so we’ll need less sponsorship in 2021 to meet those demands.

A special thanks to all of you who have supported NeighborLink Fort Wayne through us this year. We’ve raised more than $3,000 which brings our total for them to more than $10,000 in 2 years of fundraising. That’s something to be proud of even if we wanted to push that much higher. An official total will be issued within the next week when it’s finalized.

Thanks goes to Sami Blair and the Fort 4 Fitness committee for giving us a chance to partner with them in our wristband initiative. I have a strong interest in coming back with that again in the coming year. It’s an idea that I still believe can make an impact for them, NLFW, and Runners Doing Good and I look forward to taking another swing next year.

Lastly, with fewer expenses to cover and more time to plan, expect for us to aim much higher than we have in the past. We’ve never come up short and while that’s not necessarily our fault, we look at those goals as a promise, and the goal in 2021 will be to grow this in a much bigger and bolder way, making up for what we couldn’t this year.

2021 is going to be exciting! Who’s with us?!?!

“If You Aim Higher Than You Expect, You Could Reach Higher Than You Dreamed.” — Richard Branson

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I’m Back! Now For Some Thoughts…

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It is amazing what a few days can do for your mental health and even more what 10+ can do for you. I was actually relaxed and ready to go back to work. It felt like I’d been away for what felt like it’d been forever. That’s really a good thing because I feel like I’ve been able to fully step away and recharge which has enabled me to come back ready to work. The vacation wasn’t what we intended in the first place but it ended up being just what we needed for us individually, as a family, and for me personally, it was just what the doctor ordered.

During my time off, I’ve had some time to think and try to make some sense of where we’re at with everything this year. It has been an absolutely crazy year that has been difficult to comprehend what direction to turn towards next.

My first thought occurred on a run that I took at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, IN. If you’ve never been there, you need to look it up. It’s a very pretty place. I took off from my campsite, #105 to be exact, and wound through the campgrounds a bit and turn a quick right turn into the woods down trail 9.

My goal wasn’t for speed or even for a particular length. Out and back I think it came in at just under 1.5 miles so yea, it wasn’t far. I stopped and turned around when I got to the parking lot for the Clifty Falls pool. It was to experience some trail running that I missed when Ragnar Trail Michigan was cancelled. I absolutely loved it and it got me excited for 2021 (psst…we’re registered already) and that excitement and flood of thoughts kept me thinking about 2020, how to finish it out, and when to start working on 2021.

For this year, it’s pretty safe to assume that any race that matters stands a good chance of being cancelled, which just stinks. It kills me to think about it but I think that’s where it’s going. We’ve take a big swing on the Triple Play Promotion to benefit NFLW, F4F, and RDG, and we’ve sold 3 wristbands. It’s difficult to get excited about selling running accessories when races that people could wear them to aren’t happening. We’ll keep pushing for awhile but I’m on not sure what kind of traction we’ll get there. I’ve only got about 390 more of them so they’re going to be around to sell or give away to say thanks for a donation.

I’ve also thought about calling it short and just pivoting towards 2021. I think there’s big things that we hoped to do here in 2020 that if they break in a positive way, unlike in ’20, we can accomplish them in 2021 and why not start working towards those now?

Our registration for Ragnar Trail Michigan is already covered. We have more than $300 in pockets, towards other expenses already. We probably have $1500 or less to cover, in total, for 2021 and then everything else in sponsorship will go to our charity of choice, which I hope to be NLFW once again. The chance to go big for them in 2021 would be a big deal. I’m just not sure how to get there this year so maybe readjusting and going ALL-OUT in 2021 is the ticket? I just don’t know but these are the thoughts bouncing in my head.

The best thing about the time away is that these aren’t stressful issues. They’re thoughts that have provoked consideration into what the next steps are and I’m excited about them. I’m not dreading them or burdened by them. This is a good thing, no matter what happens this year.

My question to you is…what would you do?

Email me at runnersdoinggood@yahoo.com to let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas.

Take Care,

Gabe

Time For A Break

It’s been a crazy month or so. Shoot, the whole year has been nuts but this last month has been a challenge. I never thought we’d have the opportunity to relaunch the wristband initiative and we did. I’m truly grateful to the Fort 4 Fitness for partnering with us. I figured that they’d be the hardest to convince and they came back with an enthusiastic YES when they gave me the thumbs up.

Admittedly, any other year and this would be the type of thing that should take off like wildfire but with the virus, it’s been much more difficult. Enough so that we’ve been pushing this for almost 2 weeks now and just received our first order of 2 wristbands. Only nearly 400 to go! Haha.

I think that’s the thing about the last couple of months and this year really, you’ve got to maintain your sense of humor to keep your sanity. Nothing has gone as it was planned.

That’s ok though. Sometimes the most growth comes from swerves in the road of life….just don’t over correct and out the car in the ditch.

That doesn’t mean that through the growth, you don’t get worn down. Every year, the team has grown and I feel that way as well, however, this year, as well as things started and how we got to here, I am spent.

So I’m taking a break to step away from it all and find some time for my family and I literally away from it all. We had grander plans but are now mainly staying put here in the Hoosier state because of the craziness of the world. Work, life…it’s all been nuts and I just need the quiet…or at least the quiet the being holed up with 3 crazy kids allows.

Kinda like the picture above, one of my favorites, it’s going to be a pretty great run but there’s more road to go.

Here’s to a great step away to refresh and get back on the path when I return.

Cheers everyone!

Gabe

Why Buy a RDG Wristband: NLFW

Runners Doing Good, as announced on July 6th, is selling wristbands to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne as part of our annual campaign but also to benefit kids in our community by donating 1/3rd of the proceeds to the Fort 4 Fitness organization to sponsor new sign-ups to the Fort 4 Fitness kids’ marathon.

Why are we pushing these wristbands to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne? First, because NLFW is an amazing organization and I’ll go into more detail on that in a bit but lastly, we made a promise. Some may consider it a goal but we’ve never failed to hit our goal so to us, it’s a promise.

In 2019, we raised nearly $7,500 to benefit them and they put it to good use. Please watch the video below to learn more how those funds were used.

NeighborLink Fort Wayne, used funds from our efforts to repair and replace furnaces to keep area residents warm

When you know what NeighborLink is about: “neighbor to neighbor expressions of God’s Love” and then you see them take the fruits of your efforts and apply them in that manner, it’s humbling.

For me personally, I hate being cold. I hate seeing my family cold. I’d much rather have it be warm and so in the winter time, I hate thinking about anyone being cold. When NLFW took those funds and used them to make people’s homes warm, it was really touching.

They are absolutely the type of organization that we’re proud to support and we’re about $2000 away. Selling a few wristbands won’t get us the rest of the way but it’ll help.

Visit the Team Store now to make your purchase.

Thanks,

Gabe

Why Buy a Wristband: F4F Edition

Runners Doing Good, as announced on July 6th, is selling wristbands to benefit NeighborLink Fort Wayne as part of our annual campaign but also to benefit kids in our community by donating 1/3rd of the proceeds to the Fort 4 Fitness organization to sponsor new sign-ups to the Fort 4 Fitness kids’ marathon.

We realize that with Covid-19 that provides a level of uncertainty to the race this year but the Fort 4 Fitness committee is doing everything they can do to provide for a safe environment for anyone who’d like to participate.

So why support just children? Childhood obesity is real and a problem in our country. The Fort 4 Fitness is a wonderful event that has supported the Fort Wayne community to get out, be active, and choose a healthier lifestyle. If Runners Doing Good, through this effort, is able to make it easier for kids to participate in such a positive community event, and potentially begin to create healthier habits in their lives, we’re all about it.

So what does your purchase look like? For every 10 wristbands sold, at $10 each, equally $100 in sales, after PayPal takes their cut, Runners Doing Good will net out at $96.80. One third, rounded up to the nearest dollar puts NeighborLink Fort Wayne and F4F Kids Marathon Sponsorships at $33 each.

That $33, that sponsors 2-3 kids depending on what the price. At the end of July, it bumps to $15 per child. We have enough bands that if we sold them all, averaging $15 a child, we could sponsor 85 kids. We’d be tickled to say we supported 5-10 but we could do more, we’d be ecstatic.

So let’s support our community! Make a Purchase….Make a Difference!

Visit the Runners Doing Good Store at the top of the page or click HERE to go over there and make that purchase.

Any questions, please let us know!

Thanks,

Gabe

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