Our 2018 Heroes
HEROES OF 2018
One of our favorite traditions of the year is recognizing those in our community who inspire and make a difference by touching our lives.
When we sit down and consolidate the candidates and review our past honorees it’s always a reminder of how lucky we all are to be involved with such a great group of people. And even after having honored 96 heroes over the years, it’s still hard trimming the list down to just twelve for this year.
The following are our Heroes of 2018 – people who have caught our attention with their contribution to the sport we love. You may know some of these folks or maybe you will strive to make their acquaintance in the future, either way we think you’ll be moved and inspired by all of them.
Heroes Day 1: Rising Star
There is no better person to kick off our Running Heroes of 2018 than Andreas Bradley. You’ve probably seen this young man racing the RRCA Grand Prix, proudly representing the Little Rock Road Runners and you may know him as “Fast Feet”. What you might not know is that his exceptional talents reach far beyond running – you could say they even reach to the stars!
Andreas discovered his love of running through an athletic journey – starting with AAU Track in the 2nd grade, then on to baseball where he picked up his nickname of ‘Fast Feet’ as he rounded the bases, to Taekwondo, to basketball, and then to his first 5K (the Chase Race) and he was hooked. Since then he’s been a fixture in the GP races, improving by several minutes to 20:13, and placing high overall in big races like Race for the Cure and Firecracker. But he’s not content with that. He dreams of running the Nike XC series and later in college and even allows himself to look to the Olympics!
His ‘shoot for the stars’ determination continues to bring him to even greater heights. This year he was awarded ‘Youth of the Year’ for the LR Air Force Base Youth Center – a major accomplishment writing essays and making speeches. He now represents the state of Arkansas for the Military, earning scholarships and travelling the country! After one of his speeches about his desire to work for NASA designing satellites, he was introduced to someone who does just that!! Here’s to our stargazer – fulfill his dreams on the road and in the stars.
An exceptional young man, Andreas is our Rising Star Hero of 2018 and beyond.
Heroes Day 2: Legacy
It was April 1985. The Arkansas Razorbacks track team was on our way to the Penn Relays when we heard that a track alumnus, Randy Taylor, was running in the 10,000m that night. And he was going for some kind of record! Several of us decided to go straight to the track to do our pre-meet shakeout run and cheer him on. On a cool, blustery evening, Randy ran 31:18.3 to set an American Record for age 37. Remarkable. That record still stands as the Arkansas record for 30-39 age group.
But he wasn’t done there. A few years later, he set the American Record for age 39 in the 3000m in 8:48 at the Razorback invitational in Hot Springs. He continued running and racing and had an illustrious Masters’ career on the track winning 2 World Master Championships and 9 National Masters Championships in the 800 and 1500 distances. His record setting continued with a 50 & Up 800m record in the National Senior Games held at LSU.
Randy was on the Arkansas
Razorback Track & Field and Cross Country teams from 1965-69 and he
continues participating and giving back to the sport he loves – as a track meet
official, on board for the Arkansas Track and Field Hall Of Fame and as part
Chairman of the UofA Sports Hall of Honor.
A true hero, Randy is always quick with running advice and an exciting running story. And his legacy continues as he supports our youth by co-coaching the Lutheran Junior High cross county team – and we’re told the kids loved him! He’s our Legacy Hero of 2018.
Heroes Day 3: Making a Difference
There are angels out there among us. People whom day in and day out are making a difference in the lives of others. Chris Olson is one such angel.
Most runners and athletes know him as the race director of the fun, exciting and wonderful RussVegas. Chris started the RussVegas Foot Races Foundation in 2012 and it’s especially fitting that the idea came while he was running.
Each year, you never know what’s going to be new and exciting at the RussVegas Half Marathon – now grown to a two-day event that features a kid’s mile, 5k Glow Run, relay, and 10k. It brings more than 2,500 participants from 37 states and 4 countries into Downtown Russellville each spring. The 6thAnnual RussVegas Half Marathon Weekend will take place on April 26-27, 2019, and you know we will be there. Through events such as the RussVegas Half Marathon and RussVegas Tri and Tailgate, the foundation has given over $170,000 to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. An angel indeed!
He continues to make a difference in his community as well, where he serves as the executive director of Re-Create Russellville, a non-profit with the primary focus of bringing new vision to Russellville. In its first year, Re-Create brought updates to Russellville Downtown, began working with the Arkansas Valley Soccer Association (AVSA), and is currently working with multiple city departments and statewide organizations to bring a world class kids bike park and inclusive special needs playground to the city of Russellville. Recently, Chris was elected to continue serving his city as the Russellville City Council Ward 2, Position 2 Alderman.
Chris served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 2001-2007 as a combat medic respiratory therapist. Chris and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 13 years and have two children, Grace and Reid.
We have long wanted to honor Chris as a person who makes a difference. Always looking for ways to put others first and enriching the lives of so many. He is our hero and we know the hero of so many others.
Heroes Day 4: Perseverance
There are some people you meet in life who just make your heart soar. And you think, “they truly get out and live life” – no matter the hardship. They keep their head up and preserve. Inspiring us all. One such person is @Paul Bing.
Born in the early 1960s to a loving mother, Paul Bing was an unfortunate victim of a new pregnancy drug called Thalidomide. What no one knew at the time was this new ‘wonder drug’ caused sever birth defects from blindness, deafness, and in Paul’s case – phocomelia, which is the shortening or even absence of limbs. While growing up, Paul refused to let this hold him back. He played golf and water-skied, and he endured many surgeries. But Paul was never one to complain.
As he grew older, his left foot became more of an issue and staying active was becoming more and more difficult. From one surgery to the next, and one pain management technique to the next, nothing seems to work for long. In early 2016, he had to go on disability. That was the final straw for Paul, and in June that year, he elected to amputate his left leg below the knee. As anyone who has been around Paul knows, he keeps moving forward and was fitted with a prosthetic and began to walk. Then he began to run! Not only did he run with his friends, he began racing. In 2017, he ran his first race – the Go! Mile. Then in October he ran the Cossatot Trail Half Marathon and in February 2018 he completed the Sylamore 25K — all very challenging races to say the least!! And in 2018, Paul became the CHI St. Vincent “Inspiring Go! Mile Runner” running 10:18 (more than a minute and a half faster). Impressive!
Paul talks about how his friends inspire him. But it’s he we look
to with admiration. He humbly deflects praise just as much as he embraces life
— always with a big, infectious smile.
For all he does to uplift so many, we honor Paul Bing as one of our 2018
Heroes Day 5: Performance
Our girl Stacey Shaver ran the Tahoe 205 miler this year.
Let’s make it clear – this is not a typo. Stacey Shaver RAN the Tahoe 205 miler this year!!
When Stacey gets it in her head to do something, she goes all in. Whether it’s making her killer “life changing” bread, getting her amazing kids into the Math & Science School, or taking on a new 100- or 200-mile trail race, Stacey is meticulously planned and particular about every detail. And to add a little more into the record books, she even recently completed her 100th ultra distance race!
There are many people who see some of the training, some who see part of the race or perhaps they see the amazing results, but when you work or live with someone, you understand and truly SEE the level of commitment. Over the last year, we watched Stacey methodically come back from injury, take on a coach, get up regularly at 4am to train the 100 miles per week needed, do strength work with incredible discipline, and plan, plan, plan every tiny detail of this amazing run. She Was Going to Achieve it!!
So in September, Stacey conquered the Tahoe 200 in 84 hours and 54 minutes, (sleeping only a total of 4 hours), to place 11th overall and become the FIRST Arkansas woman to complete the distance. An amazing feat.
Then in typical Stacey fashion, just one month later, she was a pacer in the Arkansas Traveler 100 and is now in race director mode for the Athens Big Fork trail race in January.
For always being ready to help others, for being a
pioneer, and completing the Tahoe 200, Stacey Shaver-Matson is our
amazing running partner, employee, friend AND our 2018 Performance Hero.
Heroes Day 6: Community
You can just ‘live’ in a great community, or you can ‘become a part of it’… making it continually better. Our 2018 Community Hero, Bob McCullar, does just that.
Bob is an avid and accomplished runner, with some pretty good PR’s and finishes in several marathons. But that isn’t what this is all about. Bob moved into Cammack Village, Arkansas many years ago and always had an interest in its future. A long time advocate for development in Cammack, Bob later took on the role of keeping Baker Park in good shape, and earned himself the nickname of “Ranger Bob”.
Then a little over 3 years ago, Bob (along with Cody Kees) combined his love for the community, his joy of running, and his energetic personality to create the Cammack Village 5k. He designed the race to be a celebration of the community by holding it on a holiday weekend, running the race around the local hills, using the community pool as the after race party, holding a fun run to include the local Jefferson Elementary’s Running Club, and proceeds to benefit the community. With race profits they have done major renovations to the swimming pool, tennis courts, and provided funds to the neighborhood association to put on other local village events.
To top is all off, Bob was recently elected onto the Cammack City Council and will start his tenure in January. We think, and I’m sure hundreds of the Cammack 5K runners and Cammack Village Neighborhood residents will agree that Bob McCullar is a true Community HeroH
Heroes Day 7: Indomitable Spirit
Indomitable spirit. That’s our girl, Meg Berry. Right from the start, she learned how to be tough – born premature at just 27 weeks and spending the first 3 months of her life in the ICU. She had multiple complications and procedures even requiring resuscitation multiple times. The treatment that saved her life also left her with damage to her eyes that later caused glaucoma resulting in severe visual impairment.
Meg is a fighter. She has never allowed her visual impairment to affect her goals or abilities. She graduated as valedictorian from high school and was in the honors college at @UCA. She completed a master’s degree in social work and now works at the @Arkansas School for the Blind as a social worker where she helps kids every day.
Three years ago, Meg started the @Women Run Arkansas program and she took off like a rocket, even being one of our founding “@Go! Summer Runner” group members. Meg has trained with a guide and alone, through heat and freezing cold and in pouring rain. She has completed 12 races in 3 years. In fact, she just finished her second full marathon (3B26) in under 5 hours – smashing her PR by 20 min. Plus, she has two marathons planned in the coming months! Wow. There’s no stopping her now!
In addition to her grit and determination, Meg is always sweet and kind. That’s probably what led her to a career in social work. If you see her running on the River Trail yell out your name so she will recognize you, and you will get the most beautiful bright smile and a sincere wave. Meg loves running and loves all of her running friends. For all these reasons and more, Meg Berry is our Indomitable Spirit hero of 2018.
UAMS’ Running Injury Clinic
Heroes Day 8: In Your Corner
Running is a basic instinct and perhaps why many of us love this sport. It’s so simple – just some basic gear and off you go. So ‘innovation’ isn’t a word we use a lot around running. However, that’s all changed with the UAMS Running Injury Clinic headed up by Dr. Michael Cassat and Chris Oholendt. Their clinic is dedicated to not only treating and overcoming injury, but for the first time in our knowledge, they are systematically looking into the root cause of an individual’s running issues.
The UAMS Running Injury Clinic has invested into a tool called, “3D Gait Analysis”. It will analyze your running gait or form by comparing it to the norm based from millions of others who have been tested around the world. The runner (or patient) has multiple reflectors attached to their limbs and joints for cameras to record up to 500 images a second while they run on a treadmill. This running skeleton shows up on a screen, but it’s the data that it produces that tells the real story. Dr. Cassat explains, “If you are a far outlier from the norm, we use that data to build a physical therapy regimen to strengthen that area in order to correct it.”
Dr. Cassat, Occupational Therapist Chris Oholendt, physical therapist Caitlin Mallinger, and Paul Stover (administrator for the department) are all runners so this innovative approach to running injury and prevention is fueled out of their passion of the sport combined with their mission as health care providers.
For taking a chance investing in our amazing running community, to revolutionize how injuries are treated and prevented, UAMS Running Injury Clinic and its staff are our In Your Corner Heroes of 2018.H
Heroes Day 9: Rising Above
For most people, taking the first step out of your comfort zone is the hardest part about making a change. John Lawson is the epitome of making a 180 in life. To see John now, you would think he’s always been this amazing athlete, always on the go, always looking for a challenge. What you may not know is that his journey began just a few short years ago.
When you work long hours and travel for your job, eating right and exercise are not often a top priority. Diagnosed as overweight and diabetic, John knew he had to do something and do it now. In January 2016, in a motel gym, he took that first step. With hard work, diet change, dedication and support from family and friends, he changed his life and consequently the lives of those around him. He joined a running group and never looked back. John lost nearly 80 lbs., but gained more than that with a healthier body, more energy and a whole new extended family.
He can be found most often on running or cycling on River Trail. He finished Ironman 70.3 Ohio last year and is scheduled to do the Ironman in Muncie this year. And has been spotted recently inspiring the little’s, getting his newest grandson in the kid’s runs!
Not only did he step out of his comfort zone and make a change in life, he pushes and encourages others to do the same. John is a passionate advocate and runner for Ainsley’s Angels of America, and you will often see him assisting Angel Rider’s like “Rissa” in their goal to participate in races.
His love for everyone is obvious and he truly works to encourage others in their pursuit of fitness. John is always there when you need a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, a “congratulations”, or even just a quirky smile! Has he encouraged you somewhere? If not, you can be sure he will sure try! Helping others not let anything stand in their way to a health life, makes John our Rising Above hero of 2018. (Special Thanks to Julie Ingle for helping to write this amazing post!)
Heroes Day 10: Determination
Some people would say being born on a Friday the 13th is a bit unlucky, but for the Garner family, they would say it was the best day of their lives. That’s the day Carissa Garner was born. A mom will tell you about their child’s eyes, or hands or smile, but Pam Garner will tell you about her child’s fighting spirit. Carissa was born with Spina Bifida and was med-flighted from UAMS to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where she had surgery when she was 3 hours old. Pam was told she would never walk or talk and a lot of other things, “but wow did they have it wrong,” says Pam. “God had it right!”
Even at 3 years old, Carissa was determined. She was crowned ‘Lil Miss Wheelchair Arkansas. When she was 13, she became Arkansas’ first Jr. Miss Wheelchair Arkansas. She said she simply wanted everyone to see that she was just like them – only with cooler accessories! In August of 2018 she was named Ms. Wheelchair America Ambassador!
She loves letting people experience life with wheels and race them (knowing she’s going to win every time) BUT hopefully teach them something about breaking barriers and bridging the gap at the same time.
In 2017, Carissa competed in the LR Marathon as part of Ainsley’s Angels of America where Rissa is and Angel Rider. That led to training with her new friends at Go! Running and meeting John Lawson, Meghan Lewis, Anita Shuptrine and Val Pearcy Clark. That of course led to other races and even to the 2018 Go! Mile – Rissa’s very first race to start and complete independently. A quarter of a mile in, her hands were blistered and bleeding but she was determined to see it through and finish on her own – which she did with a time of 13:50! John Lawson gave her the name, ‘Lil Miss Need for Speed’. He was spot on. She loves rolling through life as fast as possible, breaking every barrier she comes across and bridging each gap that gets in her way.
Breaking berries, and building smiles – man you have to meet this smart, determined girl we all know and love. Rissa’s life will be full and rich, positive and accomplished – because she will certainly make it happen. She has her sights set on accomplishing a Triathlon. Our Determination Hero of 2018, Rissa Lynne Garner will no doubt make it happen. H
Heroes Day 11: Giving Back
If you love trail running, you’ve probably volunteered on a workday or at a trail race. Like all races, a trail race has volunteers – lots of them – and we salute each of you. But there’s the few who truly go above and beyond. Who are passionate enough to make sure that people have a good trail experience, not just a good run. There’s not many who continually volunteer on the day of the races, as well as for the days and weeks and months leading up to prepare for the race, AND be the RD for races, AND oversee a racing Club while maintaining a race series website, and somehow in his spare time maintain the local trails (not for a race), but just because he appreciates their beauty and understands their value. There aren’t many… but George Peterka is certainly one of them.
President of Arkansas Ultra Running Association since 2014, he handles the AURA website and newsletter, oversees the Ultra Trail Series, and is creator and race director of the Hot Springs National Park 18 mile trail run. He works tirelessly to help maintain trails all over the state such as the Sunset Trail in Hot Springs, Athens-Big Fork, and the Ouachita Trail west of Little Rock – even when there is no race coming up. George likes to think beyond to the multitude of people who will get to enjoy the trails, to enjoy being in nature all because of a little time given back to the sport we love so much. George leads by example and generally runs most of the UTS races along with many other ultra races.
While he’s doing all this, George is building a very strong running resume, too. Competing in many trail ultras and road marathons, including: the Big Horn 100, Hurt 100 Hawaii, Wasatch 100 in Utah, and The Leadville 100. He’s also qualified for Western States twice!
The Arkansas trail running community holds a huge debt of gratitude for the work George does and the vision he has. This pioneer is renowned for being the first to show up to a race and the last to leave helping the RD and committee set up and pack up after the event, many times giving up the opportunity to run in the event in order to man an aid station or sweep the course. And he continues to give back by leaving a legacy: his youngest son, Alex, has grown up in the trail community and like his dad, volunteers at many of the trail races. For all these unbelievable reasons, we honor George Peterka as our 2018 Giving Back Hero. H
Heroes Day 12: Kids’ Hero
Running means something different for each runner or walker: a cause, a goal or perhaps a purpose. Marc Gill sees running as a way to help and connect with others.
A fast and accomplished runner in his own right, Marc has run over a dozen ultras and over 50 marathons including Boston Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon, with an enviable PR of 2:54. However, when you see Marc really smiling is when he’s running with a “Pacer” sign in his hand followed by a swift group of runners who are achieving their goals and having a great time doing it. Wonder how much he loves it? Almost half of the marathons he’s run have been as a pacer, leading groups between 3:05 and 3:30.
Recently Marc, who is an elementary school teacher, decided to start a kid’s running program earlier this fall – The Lakewood Marathon Kids Club. Due to Marc’s amazing enthusiasm, 100 kids signed up!! The program introduces kids to running and little by little they can achieve completing a marathon – a little at a time. Marc has a logbook for each kid to track their progress, and through Nike Running they get a prize when they run the required 26.2 miles – a t-shirt or a pair of laces – and some have already made it! But the real gift they receive from Marc is learning his passion for a healthy, lifetime sport. The program also makes it possible for the kids to take part in the Little Rockers portion of the Little Rock Marathon weekend.
For giving to kids the opportunity to get out and run with the wind in their hair, Marc Gill is our Kids’ Hero of 2018.
Making resolutions is one of the most empowering things you’ll do all year. But keeping it going can be challenging – so lets do it together!
For the next 100 days, commit alongside us to get out and run or walk 1 mile – or more – every day for the next 100 days! Don’t miss a step or a day. 100-Day Running Streak: Jan 1st – April 10th
Simply join in and allow us to keep you going with reminders, some help, a little motivation and in turn you can share your successes, your struggles, and ask… well… anything to help keep your 100-day streak alive. It’s well known that habits can take 3 months to really become a part of your life, so let’s help each other push through that with a Resolution2Run at least 1 mile a day, and who knows where we’ll be at day 200!
Share with a friend to make these next 100 days you’re best start to the New Year Ever!
Go to our Facebook event to join in. Simply click on the “Going…” button.
Ainsley’s Angels are on a mission…
Ainsley’s Angels are on a mission…
…and Go! Running is proud to support and partner with them! Ainsley’s Angels gives children and adults with special needs the opportunity to run races across the country. Their main mission is to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life – to bring joy and acceptance.
The Little Rock Marathon Debut!
Currently in 30 states and 60 cities, they are brand new to Little Rock, and we need your help to officially welcome them to our community during the Little Rock Marathon this weekend. They are bringing 24 Angel Runners and 6 Athlete Riders to participate in this year’s race. We couldn’t be more excited that they are here and joining us for this beautiful event. And, we are sure that their spirit will make race day even better. Our own Meghan Lewis will be joining them as an angel runner! So cheer them on!
When Jarrett Banks came in our store, we knew this was meant to be. Some of you participated in a recent Thursday night run where we ran with one of our Athlete Riders and learned more about the program starting up here in Central Arkansas. So we asked Jarrett to share a little more about this life changing organization:
How does a race with Ainsley’s Angels work?
We pair Angel Runners with Athlete Riders (children and adults with developmental disabilities) in endurance events. Two to three runners are assigned to a racing chariot before each race. The Athlete Riders “Roll with the Wind” in life and in endurance events. We like to say that the rider in that chariot “pulls” us through the race and across the finish line! Anyone with a disability that prevents them from racing on their own may participate as an Athlete Rider.
What is the experience like for the Angel Runner?
Being an Angel Runner is the best running experience you will ever have. These athlete riders are gracious enough to be including you in their life, which is a really special thing. You learn things you have never even though about, like what it’s like to live with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or MS. That’s a powerful thing. And, the sense of fulfillment you get giving someone else the joy of finishing a marathon. Someone who thought they could never ever be in a race. It’s life changing.
What is the experience like for the Athlete Rider?
For the athlete rider, they are just like any other runner in the race. They register just like everyone else, get a t-shirt, go to packet pickup, get a medal. And they love getting to finish before the other runners. The athlete rider is the core of the team and pushes the team across the finish line with smiles, cheers and immeasurable inspirational spirit. We will be going to the expo, too… and we will be doing that this year, too. Stopping in to hang out with Go! Running for sure and other friends. We will have a booth there, too. So come see us!!
What is your favorite part about being an Ambassador?
The kids just smile and laugh, and the joy of the people that we push in each race. The first person I pushed was 48 years old. He said, “Jarrett Banks, I just never thought I could do anything like this and run in a race.” Just the joy they get feeling able bodied. For once, they don’t feel different. Before I did this, I always assumed that people with disabilities didn’t think about doing a race. But they really do! I hear them say they have friends who run, or they have always wanted to run a marathon.
How much does it cost for the participants?
Registration is free and provides each Athlete Rider with insurance during our events. Angel Runners will only be asked to make a small donation to cover the cost of the Ainsley’s Angels Tech Shirt to wear during our races ($25).
What made you choose the Little Rock Marathon?
We don’t actually choose races; we have to be invited to each one. We currently have a chapter in Northwest Arkansas and wanted to expand to Central Arkansas. I was doing the route 66 half marathon in Tulsa and I just happened to have a booth at the expo. Here I met Gina and Geneva (LRM chicks in charge). We visited and they invited us to come to the 2018 LRM. Since we have to be invited to any race we attend, we were all really excited about a chance to run the Little Rock Marathon. We’ve done 7 races in Western Arkansas (the first in September). Our first half was on February 11th – the Fort Smith half marathon. So this is our second half marathon to include people with disabilities.
What can I do to help or get involved? Go! fundraising for a chair this year.
We are currently looking for a Central Arkansas Ambassador who would help coordinate races, runners, and riders. Or, any volunteer who is great at fundraising or grant writing. We are also working on raising money for new equipment. Riders and runners don’t have to spend money to come to a race because we pay for everything. We need a few new chairs and a trailer to haul everything to each race. These special rolling chairs and cost $1,000. We raise money, donation by donation, or sometimes a company buys a chair and they get their logo on the side for every race. You can be a “Guardian Angel” and donate to Ainsley’s Angels through their website. Since our organization is 100% volunteer based, 95% of the donations stay right here in Arkansas and go directly to fund Riders and Runners in each race.
** Go! Running will be putting on a fundraising event to raise $$
for an Athlete running chair in the near future. So be on the look out!
Do you think you have what it takes to be an angel runner or an athlete rider? Ainsley’s Angels is currently recruiting angel runners of all paces as well as riders. Register at http://ainsleysangels.org.
Running Through the Community: The Little Rock Marathon
It could be a new trail, a dog park, a kid’s playground, or maybe even helping to find a cure. And when you lace up those shoes and enter that race, you may be having a much bigger positive impact on your community… simply by running a race. We wanted to share some of those impacts – a few you may not expect! So over the next year, you’ll be introduced a little of the “back story” on some pretty familiar races.
So set a goal, Sign up for a race. And look at our community soar.
Since the Little Rock Marathon is right around the corner, we caught up with one of the Chicks in Charge – Gina Marchese, and she had some fun things to share! Read on… and don’t forget to join in the race on March 3rd and 4th!
Photo Credit: Little Rock Marathon
The Little Rock Marathon benefits Little Rock Parks, but what does that mean exactly for our running and walking community?
The Little Rock Marathon produced our first race in May 2003, and has contributed over 1 million dollars into our parks system, helped build an amazing, growing running community through free training, and annually provides about a 5 million dollar economic impact on Central Arkansas. Whew. So Thank you for running!!
Tell us about one of your favorite projects that has made a difference for the running community.
A little know face, is that we were part of the original group of communities that starting Global Running day in connection with New York Road Runners. It began as ‘National Running Day’ and then it caught on globally. We love being part of this and proud Go! Running is there, too.
The LRM Medal is famous… Tell us how it all began!
We started off with a standard size medal. Geneva and I ran another race in Texas and Geneva did the marathon and I did the half marathon. We got the same medal except for the wording, and we both looked at each other and said, “we can’t let that happen at our race.” So we got on the phone and changed our medals the very next day. We chose to GO BIG in Little Rock. As the years went on, (Geneva designs our medal and I am her focus group), we just kept enlarging the size to where we now have the distinction of having the largest finisher’s medal (that we know of). Runners World endorsed it. Thank you Bart Yasso!
Adding the LIPS!
At our 10th year, we added lips! I have a lip fetish, all kinds of lip stuff, so Geneva put it on the medal and we cracked up and have stuck with it ever since. We call it our race director’s kiss to all our finishers!
When did you decide to do a Medal Unveiling?
Oh, the early days of YouTube. We decided to unveil our medal and have a little fun with it, so we decided to do the unveiling at a press conference. The very day of first unveiling, Little Rock had an ice storm and the city was in lock down – so NO press conference, of course! But Geneva and I made it to the office and were determine to do something so we did a video on our phones, Kevin Clay (our video guru) uploaded it to YouTube, our video went viral and the rest is history as we say! We now do everything on social media. We say we put the FUN back into the medals. Now people run for the medals and we love that and do just the same. This year’s is lots of fun… and sealed with a kiss. Wishing you all the best of luck and lots of fun along the way. Come join us.
Getting to Know Team Red White and Blue
We all know someone who has served. Or is serving this great country! Thank you. THANK YOU. We celebrate veterans for their love of our country and willingness to sacrifice for their fellow Americans. If you want to support your running veterans – consider getting to know Team Red White and Blue! Ultimately, the aim of Team RWB’s community-building program is to bring veterans together with civilian citizens in a way that enables them to establish authentic friendships.
Go! Running loves supporting this amazing group. What a better time to hear from a few of these wonderful runners.
Lisa Palicki Webb, a runner for Team Red White and Blue, shares us her love of camaraderie. “My favorite thing about Team RWB is the unconditional camaraderie and team spirit that the Eagle provokes. We can be anywhere at any time, and when someone sees the Eagle, there are words of encouragement and shout outs to kindred spirits. It’s a warm, proud feeling of belonging to a group with a beneficial purpose.” She also added. “My favorite thing about working with veterans is being close to those who have served and made a difference for our country. It gives me comfort to somehow be a part of their nurturing and growth outside of the service. My husband is retired Air Force. He served 24 years, so I have a special bond with the military community.”
Everyone is welcome to be a part of Team Red White and Blue, from civilians, to active military, to veterans. This is what drew Lisa Gunnoe to Team Red White and Blue. She said, “Team RWB encourages not only inclusive membership, but also inclusive leadership. Anyone can become a leader in Team RWB and Team RWB will help that leader grow in essential leadership qualities which help that leader not only in their volunteer role in Team RWB but also in their home life, church, community, any interaction with another person. All of these relationships can become improved with the leadership qualities available to learn through Team RWB volunteer leadership. Team RWB is a hands-on organization. Awareness is good, but then what? Team RWB answers that question by being where the veterans are and encouraging them to make connections in their communities through physical fitness and social activities. Lets roll our sleeves up and get to work along side our veterans to enrich all lives.”
Since US veterans are some of the most highly trained in the world, they have skills worth emulating. Lisa is honored to be able to work with veterans. She goes on to say, “Our veterans are humble. Most often when you thank a veteran for their service they don’t see themselves as heroes and they are a bit uncomfortable with the attention. Veterans have so much to teach us. In the way Team RWB is structured those veterans are given the opportunity to teach those lessons.”
Thank you to our veterans and Team RWB. Want to join the “eagles?” It’s free to join and there are no fundraising requirements. You just have to show up! www.teamrwb.org
Be Safe, Be Seen, and Brighten up the Night
The weather is getting cooler, which means Fall is upon us and it’s just the best time of year to get out and run. THIS SUNDAY November 5th is the daylight savings time change… – “Fall Back”. That means it will get darker earlier in the evening and will still be dark in the morning, too! As runners, we need to be thinking about Fall Safety. Our motto year ‘round, but especially for fall is ‘Be Safe & Be Seen’. And, there are an array of things you can do. Outside of wearing reflective gear (shoes and apparel), you can find other sources to help you “light up the night”. Headlamps and other lights and true reflective night apparel (vests/shirts) are truly a must. Drivers are more distracted than ever – so protect yourself!
All week long at the store we will have “Light Up” specials – up to 20% off your favorite “be safe/be seen” products.