I have some big racing goals for 2015, including two marathons and a half IRONMAN triathlon. The year started out with just one marathon and the triathlon, which is why I’ve been calling it the #yearof96point5 for the 96.5 miles I’d be completing in those two races. Coming from someone who used to have the “I’ll run if I’m being chased” mentality, this is a monumental kind of goal for me.
Although some of my races and fundraising goals this year are about more than just running, that’s where my first fitness love is. I love running for the personal challenges it presents on a daily basis and for that time to get out of my own head for a little while. Running has become extraordinarily therapeutic for me, but what I love even more is running with a purpose larger than myself. It gives the miles meaning and a reason to keep working when the training gets hard. It’s no longer just myself I’m running for, but it’s also the people that will benefit from the money I raise. For 2015, I’m honored to be fundraising for three different organizations/causes:
[ONE] Kent County Girls on the Run
I’ve been involved with my local chapter of Girls on the Run for a few years now and it’s an organization that I love so deeply. Growing up, I didn’t have the greatest self-confidence and could have desperately used an organization like this! I can’t help but wonder how it would have changed the trajectory of my life. I never had the chance to participate, but I want to do what I can to give today’s young girls the chance to do so. GOTR gives girls in 3rd-5th grades the tools and skills to believe in herself and her dreams. The running comes into play by giving the girls a goal to work towards and a sense of accomplishment for crossing the finish line. It’s such an empowering mission!
In 2013, I was a running buddy with my niece for her end of season 5k. Sharing that experience with her was one of the most special moments of my life thus far, and it meant so much to me that she wanted me there with her. To this day, she’ll still talk about it! In 2014, I was a running buddy for a school in the Kent County chapter and the girl I ran with struggled a lot. Being that voice of encouragement to her through those 3.1 miles was awesome, and the look of total pride on her face as we ran towards the finish line was so great.
My goal is to raise $1,447.50 for KCGOTR, which will provide $96.50 (stemming from the #yearof96point5) in scholarship funding for a full team of 15 girls.
[TWO] Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University is my two-time alma mater, as I attended for both my bachelors and masters degrees. I deeply cherish my time at GVSU and strongly believe that the years and experiences I had while I was a student shaped me into the woman I am today. My education would not have been possible without the scholarships I received from generous donors. Through my fundraising efforts for GVSU, current and future students will benefit from the Student Support Fund which helps students facing unexpected emergencies that may prevent them from completing their degree. Life happens in sometimes cruel twists of fate, but that shouldn’t be a reason someone doesn’t have the opportunity to become a college graduate.
My goal is to raise $500 for student scholarships that will allow students to graduate from the best university Michigan has to offer!
[THREE] MSU College of Human Medicine Gran Fondo (skin cancer research)
As a fair-skinned girl who burns super easily, skin cancer is something that I’m always a little bit afraid of. Did you know that more than 70,000 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer this year? One of my friends is a skin cancer survivor (and perhaps there’s more people in my life that are and I’m not aware!) and I’m participating in this 40-mile bike ride to raise money to support skin cancer awareness, prevention, and research at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. I believe that the research teams at MSU-CHM will change the world of medicine for the better!
My goal is to raise $500 for skin cancer research and awareness that will save lives!