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Thursday, February 2, 2012

This site is Now Moved

Well, I'm going to be making the leap and hosting my own blog.  That's right, I'll be getting rid of the .blogspot and moving over to my own dedicated domain.  It might be a little while before I post something new as I'll have to figure out a whole bunch of new software.  Hopefully the move will get me some more blog traffic.  So far it's 20-50 hits a day and I want it to get a lot bigger than that.  I'll post when the new site is ready.

Thanks,
Collin

Update:  The site has now moved and can be found at www.myriadragnar.com  I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Speedy Fundraising with Ragnar Relay


Tomorrow we are picking our routes for the Ragnar Relay: Wasatch Back race.  As mentioned in this previous post, route selection will be based on who has accomplished the most fundraising.  This has turned out to be an amazing motivational tool to get the team excited about raising money for cancer research.  In a single month’s time, we have raised nearly the entire amount of our fundraising minimum.  At this moment, we have raised just under $11,500 and we are just $1,000 short of our minimum goal to be able to race.  The team has been amazing at fundraising.

There’s been numerous fundraising high lights so far.  Ones that come to mind are Diana Bateman being the first one to hit $500 and raising her goal to $1000 shortly thereafter.  Jodi Vargas, Mandy Fuhriman, and Ryan Smith each raised $500 or close to it in just a couple of days. But, this week has been the most exciting so far.  I announced to the team on Friday that we had made the $9,000 mark, 75% of our goal.  I came back to work on Monday and found out that over the weekend we had raised another $1,000.  I was so excited, but the team had even more in them.  The next day, I was elated to see that our team had done even more and raised $1,500 in 24 hours.  I seriously don’t think there’s anything these guys can’t do.  

This has seriously been one of the best things I have done in a while.  This also has got to be one of the most effective fundraising tools out there for charity running groups.  Figuring that the average cost of an entry for a Ragnar Relay is $1,500 and that, at least for the Huntsman Hometown Heroes program, the minimum fundraising goal per team is $6,000, you have a return on investment of 300%.  It’s also an awesome way to recruit people into the organization.  So far, our two Ragnar teams have recruited 26 new individuals into the Huntsman Hometown Heroes program.  A few of these are even from outside of Utah, which gives the HHH program national exposure.  The Ragnar Relay may very well be the most effective charity running event around.  See if there is one in your area and if you can get a charity running team together.  You’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sh*z Ragnarians say; Wasatch Back Style

Salt Lake Mormon Temple
One of the sites in Salt Lake City


At the end of January, @RagnarRelay hooked into an internet meme and tweeted "Ragnar is jumping on the bandwagon but we need help! What is some ?"
A runner in the Wasatch Back Race




I still have yet to participate in my first Ragnar Relay, so I can only guess what most of the responses mean.  However, I do know that if you run in the Wasatch Back, as I plan to in June, you will inevitably meet some Mormons.  Of the many things that we Mormons do, one of them is to practice clean speech.  That's right, no swear words.  That has not, however, stopped us from coming up with our own choice phrases that stand as suitable substitutes.  So, while you may not hear sh!% so much here in Utah, you are bound to hear shiz, frick, and son of a biscuit eater.  The video below gives an excellent primer on most of the naughty Mormon phrases that you may hear during the Wasatch Back race.


With that being said, here is my favorite list of #ShizRagnariansSay, Wasatch Back style.


"Van #(1 or 2, whichever is the other one) are running really damn dang slow today." @erichauge


"Those high school track kids are only passing us because they're not old enough to drink vote"  


"I seen a van full of BYU cougars back there" @JoMoFoDaddy



So, if you come out and enjoy one of the best Ragnar Relay's there is, hopefully this post will help you understand a little bit about the quirky culture that Utah has to offer.

See you at the finish line.

What's the funniest thing you've ever heard/seen at a race?  Share below.


Follow me on twitter: @MyriadRagnar

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Earning BIG bucks with Charitable Foundations


For a lot of the members of our team, the basic friends and family approach to fundraising has proven highly successful.  In this style of fundraising, you write a quick email and send it out to your close friends and family.  The email usually has a paragraph or two about why the person is raising funds, has a picture, and asks for people to go to their donation page and help out.  We’ve had a number of people on our team make the individual goal of raising $500 in 24 hours or less using this tactic.  However, I’m not so lucky.

This is the third time I’ve raised money for HHH and I think that my friends and family pool has dried out.  I sent out an email to 30 of my closest friends and family and I only got two donations out of it, for which I am very grateful.  I’ve plastered status updates all over Facebook, to the point that I’ve probably annoyed most people.  I got one donation out of that.  With that being said, I’m declaring my family and friends a dried up funding source and I’m looking at additional ways to raise funds.  That’s partially what this blog is about.  I’m hoping that eventually it gets big enough that I can get some serious numbers of followers, which might donate, or maybe even get a brand to sponsor some advertisements with the proceeds going to HHH.

Another avenue that we are pursuing is charitable foundations and grants.  These are not as reliable as family and friends can be, but they have bigger pay-offs.  One member of HHH, who is participating in a different race, got a single donation from the God, Family, and Country foundation for $2,500.  If our team could get just one grant of similar size, we would be nearly done with our fundraising.  

I did some more browsing and I ended up discovering the National Center for Charitable Statistics. On their site, I found a list of local charitable organizations as well as the total amount in grants that they give out on a yearly basis.  The list for local Utah county organizations was also extensive and listed 160 charitable foundations in Utah county alone.  Hopefully this website can help others as they seek to find donors to help them in their fundraising endeavors.

I emailed the rest of our team to see if anyone else would be interested in contacting these groups, and I got another lead from one of our team members.  She said that she kept hearing on the radio about a Utah competition for charitable organizations that was sponsored by Select Health.  The contest awards $2,500 grants to 25 organizations spread throughout the state.  Applications are capped at the first 500 submissions.  I forwarded this on to HHH and they applied for me in my name.  If we end up winning it will be the easiest fundraising I’ve ever done.  You can read more about the competition at www.select25.org and even see past winners.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twitter Motivation

Lately it’s been hard to get a lunch workout in while I’m at work.  This semester I have a class from 12-1 4 days a week and it takes up all of my time that I usually have for a workout.  As intriguing as bioanalytical chemistry is, I’d much rather be putting some miles behind me.  However, today class was cancelled so I got to head up to the workout room.  

I went into change my clothes and after a few minutes, I realized I was missing something; my running shoes.  I was about to call it quits when i realized that I could probably just use my regular work shoes and go on the stationary bike.  The fashion would be hideous, but I thought it might make a for a good picture to put on Twitter and hopefully get some more followers and hopefully attract some more people to my blog.  So, away I went with my horribly clashing blue workout socks, that the Huntsman Hometown Heroes gave to me, and my brown leather work shoes.  On their own, each is quite attractive, but put the two together and you get some nice chuckles from coworkers as they gawk at you in the hallway.

I got my 30 minutes on the bike in and took a nice perspective picture with my phone to share with everyone.

My super fashionable exercise socks and super fashionable work shoes.
Not so fashionable together.


While running outside is certainly much more preferable, Myriad has a pretty nice gym set up for those days when you don’t feel like going outside and braving the cold like these guys.  

Picture

The room is triangle shaped and has a panoramic view of the whole Salt Lake Valley.  On a clear day you can see all the way past the Oquirrh mountains as well as mount Olympus.  On a not so clear day when there is an inversion you get to see the lovely smog cloud that rivals anything Los Angeles has to deal with and your glad to be running inside with filtered air.  I tried to take a panoramic picture of the view from the stationary bike.  I hope you like it.


Panoramic view of our workout room




I just got word that HHH is going to come to Myriad and do a group picture of us as well as take some video interviews of why people are participating and raising money.  I should be able to get a few of those up.  In the mean time, here is another video that HHH has produced that shows some of our runners out doing their thing.  This video is from the first training run in 2011.







Saturday, January 21, 2012

A soggy 12 miles

Today's run was wet and rainy.  Utah has been unseasonably warm lately.  Today's run would normally have been done in a snowstorm, but since it was 50 degrees this morning, we got to run in the rain.  The run was made a little more difficult by the fact that it wasn't a consistent rain.  Just when you got used to the wetness, it would stop raining and then you'd start to over heat.  Off comes the hat and gloves.  A few minutes later and the wind picks up so you have to put the hat and gloves back on.  Kind of frustrating.

Many people decided to get their running done today on the treadmill, but we still had a good turnout.  Not quite the usual 50+ people that turn out on Saturday, but we probably still had about 30 show up or so.  It surprises me that that many people would choose to run on a treadmill instead of outside.  The longest distance I've run on a treadmill is 10 miles, and I just about died of boredom.  Even with the rain and cold, it's way better to be outside.

There was so much rain today that as we ran along 1500 south, one of our more common routes, we pretty much had a babbling brook in the gutter.  It was kind of nice to have a different noise to listen to rather than the sound of car engines.  The sound of running water is rather soothing.  It was kind of like running next to a creek for a good two miles.

It was still a great run.  Any time you go out and battle the elements on a day like today makes you feel more confident in your abilities as a runner.  Races don't always happen on sunny warm days, especially here in Utah.  There's a pretty decent chance with the spring races here that race day could be in the middle of rainstorm.  I wouldn't even necessarily cross out snow either.

So, how wet was it today?  Check out the video below and you'll what we were dealing with.  I'm holding my hat in my hand.


Half Way There.



This last week our team hit the half way mark for our fundraising goal of $12,000.  All of this momentum has mostly happened within the last month. Prior to this month, I think our team raised around $1,700 over a 2-3 month period.  We really saw a shift in the fundraising this last month.  I think most of this momentum can be contributed to one aspect that is unique to running a Ragnar relay.
At the beginning of January, our team decided that we would give preference for route selection based on who had completed the most fundraising.  A Ragnar race can be very different for each individual runner depending on what position they run in.  Some runners will have lots of uphill, some lots of downhill.  Only half of each team needs to be at the actual start line.  Most people will have some kind of preference for what leg they want to run.  We made one caveat, any of the cancer survivors or previvors would get to pick before any of the employees. Most of the survivors and previvors are flying in from sea level and won’t be used to the higher elevation here in Utah.  This is one of the great things about using a Ragnar relay event as a charity fundraiser.  The dynamics of the event allow you to create a pretty effective motivational tool to inspire people to raise funds.  It also allows you to create a milestone before the final fundraising deadline, which helps motivate people to donate sooner.
We’ve had some truly remarkable fundraisers in our group.  Multiple people have met the $500 minimum or, come close to it, in less than 24 hours time.  These individuals have a very supportive family and friend network and are able to garner support with a simple email.  They are a great asset to the team and we are glad to have them aboard.
Members of Huntsman Hometown Heroes (HHH) are really starting to take notice of our group.  Our team has currently raised $7,251 as of today.  This puts us as one of the top, if not the top, fundraising teams at the moment for HHH.  There is still a lot of time left before the final deadline and we still have quite a bit of money to raise.  Our team still has quite a few more ideas to try out, so stay tuned.  
We have a very special team working together.  If you’d like to make a contribution and help us out, you can visit http://ragnarrelay.kintera.org/collincburton and make a donation. Thanks for reading.