Richard Conner Richard is a strategic marketing professional with experience in B2B marketing. Richard is the founder of Inspire Virtual Runs and is passionate about helping others reach their goals. He is a Connecticut native and is a husband, dad, writer, Star Wars fan, and of course – runner! Richard recently discovered obstacle course racing and has fully embraced this new obsession.
Welcome to Episode 45. Today we’re going to talk about how running can help you do good for yourself, but also how we can help you do good for others. Hope you enjoy.
Richard Conner 0:15
Here’s what you can look forward to on this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. And we are connected with the Connecticut chapter where I am based. And we since that time, we have run the purple stride, where the Purpletride is a 5k race that is run every year. Last couple of years, I believe it’s been virtual. And this is one of their main fundraising activities. And if you’ve never been to a Purplestride event, it is absolutely amazing.
Welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast, whether you are new to running or seasoned, get tips in the inspiration that you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Now, here’s your host, Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 1:13
Hi, everyone, welcome to Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. Today, we have an exciting episode, where I want to talk about something we don’t normally talk about on the podcast. And it’s about the versatility of running. Typically, we talk about how running has many benefits. And there are many reasons why someone may decide to run, maybe it’s because they want to become more active. Or maybe it’s to support some of their other sports. So there are a number of reasons why runners to run. And what I’d like to talk about today is one reason that we don’t talk about enough. And that is running to support a good cause. We’ve had a number of guests on the show over the last couple of years that either really kind of got into running through one of these causes, or they represent an organization, a nonprofit organization, where they host races to raise money. And it’s all for such a great cause. And I really wanted to dedicate this episode to talk about it. Talk about some of the past interviews and guests that we’ve had on the show, and really encourage you to learn more about these organizations, and sign up and run. So let’s kind of get into some of the past conversations that I’ve had with guests about running for good cause, then hopefully that will spark something inside of you whether you’re running today and you’re looking for the reason to stay motivated and run. Or if you’re not a runner today, maybe these are opportunities for you to get started. So what I’d like to do is talk about four different episodes for different conversations that I’ve had. And starting with the first one, which was episode five, and Daniel Nardi, Danielle is a doctor of physical therapy and certified yoga teacher. And I had such a fun conversation with Danielle, about yoga in general. But she shared a really interesting story about, you know, how she really got into into running, and especially a longer distance. And she shared a story about how she made a friend who unfortunately had cancer. And Danielle had run, I believe it was a half marathon race to support the Leukemia society in to support her friend that she made. And it was really a heartwarming story. To hear about the connection that Danielle had with her friend that motivated her to run to do this long distance. It’s not an easy thing to do. But she did it and she did it for her friend and to support this cause. So it was really just a heartwarming story. So I’d recommend that you go back to Episode Five, and just listen to that story. She shares it with me. The next one is IRIS. IRIS is the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. And this is episode 17. In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ann O’Brien, who was the director of community engagement. And this was such a great story because Iris is literally in my backyard. They’re here in Connecticut, and I learned about them about a year ago and I had the privilege of bringing him on the show to talk about this their organization And what they do. And Iris is a nonprofit agency whose mission is to help refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, strengthen hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities.
Richard Conner 5:17
So every year, Iris hosts a race called Run for Refugees 5k. And I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this organization or this race before, and was thrilled to have and talk about not only the organization and the great work that they do, which, you know, they provide many services for refugees, but also the ways that they fundraise which part of the way is through this 5k, which is not uncommon for these types of organizations. So she talked about how they’ve, how the 5k has been successful and grown over the years. And, of course, over the last couple of years, how the 5k had turned to virtual, and what they’ve done to operate a virtual race, which, you know, it’s great in a way that they were able to maintain this race and maintain this important source of fundraising, but also expand their brand and expand this organization’s reach, really worldwide, because it was virtual. So, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of things that obviously, are not great about the pandemic, but this is, you know, one of the few bright spots that you know, really enabled the organization to take advantage of technology, and kind of expand their their fundraising activity, which is the run for refugees 5k. So such a great opportunity to support IRIS, by running this Run for Refugees. And this year, they’re back in person. And this is actually coming up. At the point of this recording, this is coming up in a few days is coming up on Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re listening to this in the US, I’m personally signed up for it. So I’m excited to run this again, this will be the first time that I’m running it in person. And you know, really kind of looking forward to supporting this organization. So this is episode 17. This is cause that’s near and dear to your heart, I would recommend that you check out the episode, and also include links in the show notes to sign up for the race. The next one that I want to talk about is Make A Wish I had the privilege of bringing on Christina Alt, who is the donor Experience Manager for Make A Wish Connecticut. And I also had two other guests who at the time were two students, Sean McHugo and Connor Ratte. These students are amazing. So what they did is they took part of a choose a challenge program. And choose a challenge was an opportunity for them to raise money for a good cause, in this case, make a wish. And I’ll talk about what Make A Wish does in a moment, if you’re not familiar with them, but also they they raised money for an experience for a trip. So part of the funds goes towards the cause part of the funds goes towards this trip that they choose. And it’s such a great opportunity for students not only to learn how to fundraise and give back to the community, but also get this trip, you know, this is this experience that is really of interest to them. So they chose make a wish, as that cause and make a wish is a organization that is really designed to grant life changing wishes for children diagnosed with critical illnesses. So during the episode, Christina shared, you know, some of the examples or some of the wishes that they’ve been able to grant for children, which is really heartwarming. It was really wonderful to have her on to talk about it. And also the different ways that they do fundraising. And it was so nice to see that partnership between Christina and make a wish with these two students. And this this choose a challenge program that they were running. And they put on Make A Wish Connecticut 5k Road Race Series. So again, it was an opportunity for me to run this virtually last year. And the students not only made their goal last year, but they exceeded what they had raised in previous years. So just a wonderful story about how the students are able to learn how to fundraise and use running ads As a way to do that, so again another opportunity for them to do good for others. While you know folks are able to do good for themselves.
Richard Conner 10:13
The fourth and final one that I want to talk about and this one is near and dear to my heart is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. And the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has a mission to improve the lives of everyone impacted by pancreatic cancer by advancing scientific research. So before I get into the the episode, which is episode 25, before I get into that, and talk about the guests, and a little bit more, I’ll just share a little bit about kind of what led me to this to to Panchen. So back in 2015, my mother in law was fell ill, it was the fall of 2015. And at the time, we didn’t really know all the details of what was going on. And early in 2016, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And at the time, I didn’t really know much about pancreatic cancer, I’m not sure that many of us in the family knew a lot about it, or the resources that are available for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. So unfortunately, the summer of 2016, she had passed away. And that fall, we had discovered Pancan – Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. And one of their programs, which was called which is called purple light. And purple light is, is really an amazing ceremony and celebration of life, where those who have been impacted by pancreatic cancer come together, and some of which share their stories. And we, we acknowledge and we recognize, and we celebrate the lives of either those we’ve lost, or those who have survived pancreatic cancer. So that was my connection, or is my connection to Pancan. And that was our first interaction with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. So from there, they offer other programs to support their cause. And their mission is to improve the lives of everyone impacted by pancreatic cancer by advancing scientific research.
Richard Conner 12:44
So there is a network of what they call affiliates, or chapters around the United States. And we are connected with the Connecticut chapter where I am based. And we since that time, we have run the purple stride, where the Purplestride is a 5k race that is run every year. Last couple of years, I believe it’s been virtual. And this is one of their main fundraising activities. And if you’ve never been to a purplestride event, it is absolutely amazing. I mean, the energy there were you would think that it would be more of a sad and somber kind of moment, considering the situation and what these families are going through. But it is exciting. It’s full of energy. And everybody really just comes together to support each other, as well as support the organization to help in the research and the fight against pancreatic cancer. So just a wonderful program and opportunity to support. So I had the privilege of bringing on two guests, and episode 25. Richard Pante, who is the community relationship manager, and Kim Levesque, who is the Connecticut affiliate chair for Pancan, and during that conversation, they were able to share their stories about why they got into it, why Richard works for Pancan, and why Kim volunteers for the Connecticut affiliate. And it was really nice to talk about what ping can does and ways that we could support and I mentioned that purple stride is one of those key areas. So this is one that’s really again near and dear to my heart. And I am so happy to have the opportunity to support Purplestride and to support the Connecticut affiliate. Last year for the first time. I set up a team for Inspire Virtual Runs, which was really exciting for me to do that. For the first time and raise money for this great cause, and I’m doing it again this year, setting up a team for inspire virtual runs. And I really would love it for all of you to consider either joining the team and running with us if you’re local here in Connecticut, or simply donating, donating and supporting the cause this is one of the deadliest cancers. And this money obviously goes to advancing the research to to help fight cancer. So, again, something that’s that’s really important to me and in my family, and it’s an opportunity to get moving. This is, you know, just thinking about Danielle’s story, and opportunity where if you’re not running today, or you know, you kind of need that motivation or something to run for, this is a great cause to do that. And with running in general, doesn’t take a lot of time doesn’t take a lot of money to to do this maybe unlike other sports. So just a really nice way to support these causes. So I hope this was interesting for you, I hope you learned something about these different causes that I’ve mentioned, you know, my ask is that you support a cause that could be any one of these. And of course, you know, sign up for the Inspire vertrouwen team for for purplestride. But it could be any cause that’s really near and dear to your heart. And it’s that opportunity for you to help others and do these causes, as well as get moving and help yourself. So that’s really the message I wanted to share with you today.
Richard Conner 16:51
I really hope you enjoyed this episode and sign up for for either my team or for one of these other causes. And if you enjoyed these episodes are the ones that we’ve been putting out. Please leave a review that helps us reach more people gets this podcast in front of others so we can help inspire more people to incorporate running as part of their fitness journey. So if you’re listening to this on Apple on your on your iPhone, please go to iTunes and rate and leave us a review. It was certainly helped us tremendously. And of course, check out inspirevirtualruns.com, you can find the links to all of our social media platforms. And if you’re not already part of the group, join our Facebook group where we encourage and inspire and support each other to run and to get active. So with that, I just want to thank you again for listening, and have a great day.
That’s it for this episode of Inspire Virtual Runs Podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast, please leave a review. Also, be sure to click the subscribe button so you don’t miss an episode. Thanks for listening.