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

Triple Play!!!

When we started this year, we had 3 goals:

  1. Meet our goal for NeighborLink Fort Wayne
  2. Become more self-sufficient group so we’re not so reliant on sponsorship for our operations
  3. Find a way to make a more direct impact within our community

With our Triple Play Promotion, all 3 are converging at once and we couldn’t be more excited. This year, we purchased some wristbands and have tried to sell them outright with little success but admittedly with the pandemic, anything fundraising related has been, at minimum, difficult.

So, today, we’d like to kick things off again! Visit the store or click the picture below to purchase your own Runners Doing Good wristband knowing that you’re making an impact in the Fort Wayne community.

Get yours today!

Your purchases impact the Fort Wayne community and meets Runners Doing Good’s goals for 2020 by splitting the proceeds 3 ways:

  1. One third of the proceeds, rounded up to the nearest dollar, will go to NeighborLink Fort Wayne. If you’re not familiar with NLFW, their mission “is simple: practical neighbor to neighbor expressions of God’s Love.” This is our second year working to benefit them. IN 2019, we raised nearly $7500 for them. This year, we started off with our best fundraising month ever in March, and then everything with the pandemic hit and the whole path we were to take this completely changed. Our major annual event to benefit them was cancelled and fundraising, as a whole, ground to a halt. We see our $5,000 goal as a promise and we’re just less than $2,000 short. This is a way that we can get closer to that goal. All dollars raised to benefit them go towards projects which range from roof repairs to wheel chair ramp construction to furnace replacement and repairs which is what the dollars from last year’s campaign went to. They’re simply one of the best organizations our fine city has to offer and they do everything with a servant’s heart for others. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished for them in the past and look forward to meeting that promise for them once again.
  2. One third of the proceeds, rounded up to the nearest dollar, will go to sponsor new sign-ups for children to participate in the Fort 4 Fitness. With everything going on in the world, registration is considerably lower but they assure me they’re doing everything they can do to once again hold another incredible event that does all it can to keep its runners safe and healthy. Every $10 raised now through July 31, will be donated to help cover the cost of one child participating. The Fort 4 Fitness is, I believe, the best community event we have. Childhood obesity is a real issue in our world and if Runners Doing Good can promote kids being active along with participating in a positive and fun event within our city, we’re all about it, and we’re truly grateful to the Fort 4 Fitness committee for allowing us to be a part of this. If we can help 10 kids participate we’ll be thrilled but we’d love to make it so that 100 more can as well.
  3. Lastly, whatever is left, will go to help fund Runners Doing Good‘s operations as we turn our focus towards 2021. We’ve been truly blessed to be supported by so many area businesses in the past such as Ash Brokerage, Parkview Health, Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber, Don Ayres Honda, Steel Dynamics, Do it Best Corp, Cap n Cork, OmniSource, and many others. That said, this year, with the pandemic, getting sponsorship to fund our efforts, which have resulted in more than $25,000 being donated to local charities, was very difficult. Fortunately, with our event being deferred to 2021, we had enough money to cover our registration. Being able to be more self-funded through the sale of these wristbands will allow us to get a head start on covering the last of our expenses for our 2021 needs, allowing whatever business sponsorships we get for next year to pour directly into the fundraiser.

The wristbands are on sale within our “store” for $10. and you can choose how many you’d like to purchase using PayPal.

If you have any questions about NeighborLink, Fort4Fitness, or Runners Doing Good, please do not hesitate to reach out via email at runnersdoinggood@yahoo.com.

Thank you all for your consideration!

Sincerely,

Gabe Arnold – Founder, Runners Doing Good

#DoGoodRunGood

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I Miss The Chase

Early morning in Madison, WI – Ragnar Relay Chicago 2016
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2020, man. I had so many plans for this year for the running team as well as myself personally. Running, admittedly, hasn’t been at the forefront. Part of that has been that motivation hasn’t been great. This year has just worn on me. My head hasn’t been where it should be to drive ahead and get the mileage in.

The other part has been life and work. Work has been insane. For those that don’t know me, I am responsible for the treated lumber sales of a national lumber and hardware cooperative. If you’ve not noticed, treated lumber, especially decking, is like toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic…you can’t find it anywhere. People have been at home and looking to improve their outdoor spaces since they’re spending more time at home. To say that my time working at home was nuts would be an understatement as well as increasingly frustrating because I couldn’t find product to sell. Additionally, I probably didn’t manage my time as well as I could have. I was so work focused that I just didn’t step away to get a run in to blow off some steam.

Then as well as now, with the kids home, the extra time we’ve had, we’ve spent with them. We’ve had more quiet nights snuggled up on the couch watching America’s Got Talent and The Titan Games than I can count and I love it. Now with the weather warmer and a new patio ourselves, we’ve spent a ton of time outside while the kids run through the sprinkler. It’s been so, so nice. The pace of life, at least at home, as slowed and I couldn’t be happier about that.

It’s about time for my running pace to stop slowing. 🙂 I’ve always done better with a target on the board. The picture above is one of myself from our second Ragnar Relay. I was the first runner for our team that day and it was a beautiful run. I miss those types of runs.

Being that today’s the start of July and I’ve struggled so mightily to get going, it’s time to focus on the Fort 4 Fitness. I’m as excited about this year’s race as any in awhile and determined to do well. It may not be the first one I’ll get to experience as things come back but I love that event. I’m not sure what it is. I think it’s a combo of being a huge baseball fan, proud of my town, and just the enjoyment of the event because it’s so well organized. Add it all up and it’s a wonderful time.

So here’s to the thrill of stretching your limits and feeling the breeze on your skin as the skin as, hopefully, the running community comes together again this fall. The target is on the wall now. I’m tired of being tired because I’m not in the shape I’d like to be in. I’m tired of not getting after it. The chase….it has begun!

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RDG’s Top 10 – #1 RNW ’15

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Whenever you approach something new, nerves abound and EVERYTHING about Ragnar Relay Chicago was new to us in 2015. Looking back on it and what we did back then compared to how we approach these now, it’s fairly amazing. Also, because it was such a new experience, there’s a certain fondness that I look back on it with and can’t help but smile. Here’s why….

It was our fastest team but not because we had the speediest of runners. Don’t get me wrong, the Wisconsin Van could scoot. They were no doubt younger, lighter on their feet, and more accomplished runners than Van 2, the one I was in, but with the exception of a good rain at the beginning of the race for the first couple runners, EVERYTHING lined up. The weather was warm but there was a nice breeze throughout the weekend. The sun was out and people were just in a great mood. It was easy to fall in love with the course as there were just so many areas were you’d see rolling, lush, green fields and the finish line at the beach was an awesome experience with people packed around it celebrating each others’ success. Everything just lined up for a great day and we clipped through it quickly and it’s been hard to duplicate that experience since. In the end, we were hooked.

The fundraiser….we had no idea what we were doing other than reaching out to folks to see what we could do. We knew our charity of choice well enough but none of the people there very well. That would come later but in that first year, we were doing it just to support something we believed was a great and worthwhile cause, which it was and is still. We threw a goal out there and proceeded to double it and then some. It almost seemed easy at that point and again, we were hooked to do it again to do it even better.

The team roster was pretty special. I’m very grateful for the friends of my cousin Sarah for jumping aboard. If they hadn’t, I’m not sure I could have fielded a team. Of that group, I’ve only seen one since that first year but I will always appreciate them. They were rock stars.

For myself personally, the group in my van, it was just about as good as it gets. There was my cousins Brandon and Joel, whom I’d grown up with on our family farm with them just a couple rows of trees away. Joel’s girlfriend at the time, now wife, joined us too and I could see why he liked her. Despite being surrounded by our stupidness, she fit in great as she joked and carried on with us throughout the race.

Nerk, Brandon and Joel’s cousin on the other side of their family, who had come to play on the farm at times, I’d known since we were little too and played a lot of baseball with and against him throughout our childhood. Again, a friend that was like family. Add in Adam, my godmother’s oldest son, just 10 years younger than I am, and his youngest brother Ryan, one of my godsons, and my best friend Artie, and I had a crew that was maybe the closest knit that I’ve ever had. All of those stupid inside jokes you had as kids and throughout your college years that you carry around as a group? It was a weekend full of it and it was great to catch up.

Throw all of that together and you have an event that goes off without a hitch with great weather, a fundraiser that wildly exceeds expectations, and a group to do that with that which is that close, and it’s an experience that has been incredibly difficult to duplicate to the point where I oftentimes catch myself trying not to compare a fundraiser or team against this first group.

Our process has been improved multiple times since then and proven to be a formula for success a couple times over but the feeling of that team and that weekend may be something we’ll always be chasing but it’s why I keep trying to refine it and coming back.

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