Running for a Cause: Mission Accomplished
January 24, 2017
Mission accomplished. After nearly six months of training and thousands of miles logged, Team All Heart successfully completed the 2016 Dallas Marathon.
It wasn’t easy. From fitting in long runs during NM’s busiest time of year to training in inclement weather and reaching lofty fundraising goals, each NM associate faced a unique set of challenges.
But Team All Heart kept their eyes on the prize, and on December 11, all 25 members—including yours truly—hit the pavement in the heart of Big D. (Two associates from NM’s Hawaii store participated four time zones away at the Honolulu Marathon.)
The weekend kicked off with a carb-filled pasta dinner (a pre-marathon tradition) with none other than NMG CEO Karen Katz, who ran the marathon in 2015.
The following morning, runners rose before the sun for a light breakfast and photo op in the hotel lobby—and then it was go time.
Conditions couldn’t have been better. The weather was mild—albeit a bit windy—and colleagues, friends, and family members lined the streets in a strong show of support.
“The run itself is always delightful,” says Elizabeth Ellis, Assistant Selling Manager at NM San Diego and three-time Team All Heart member. “Seeing a new place, being alone with my thoughts yet surrounded by supporters, and feeling so accomplished upon finishing—all renew my spirit in this hectic time of year.”
Personal goals varied: completing the half, completing the full, setting a PR, and myriad others. An unseasoned runner compared to many, I simply hoped to beat my last half-marathon time of two hours and 18 minutes—which I did by a full eight.
But most important, was the reason Team All Heart ran. True to NM’s tradition of philanthropy, each associate pledged to fundraise on behalf of a chosen nonprofit and NM’s All Heart Fund.
To wit, I raised more than $1,200 for Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas, an organization close to my heart for the work it does to support North Texas families. Ellis exceeded her fundraising goal by 20%, raising $3,600 for The Wingman Foundation benefiting families of fallen Marine Corps and Naval Aviators.
“In 2016, my husband lost 12 comrades in a Marine Corps helicopter crash,” she says. “I ran to remember their lives, and in doing so, set a personal record for marathon times.”
NM Assistant Buyer Trey Harrell may have been slightly disappointed with his finish time. “I wanted to finish the marathon in under four hours and crossed the line at four hours and one minute,” he says. But the $3,485 he raised for Kate Marmion Rides to Radiation, a transportation service for those affected by cancer, served as a nice consolation prize. “I felt great about the money I raised. It was a humility check—and a reminder of the purpose of the run.”
Altogether, Team All Heart raised a cool $45,609, setting the bar high for next year. Undaunted, many runners are already vying for a spot on the 2017 team.
“I love hearing how excited everyone is before the race,” says Alexandra Underhill, NM Production Coordinator. “After it’s over, you hear one of two things: ‘I’ll never do that again.’ Or, from those who ran the half, ‘I might do the full marathon next time.’ We’ll see who shows up!”
I’ll be there with bells on—maybe I’ll even tackle my first 26.2.