Michelle's Marathon with Team Awesome
Calling all nerdy runners, joggers, walkers, and more!
Let me introduce you to Team Awesome. Founded in March 2015, this AWESOME group is dedicated to helping TSWGO through participation in athletic events. Members from the Chicago, Boston, and California teams, as well as other DIY groups across the country, race to raise awareness and funds for families affected by childhood cancer. Even those who aren’t the “athletic type” are encouraged to get involved in the team—their website tells its readers “stop worrying! Team Awesome takes you just as you are—and we REALLY do mean JUST as you are. We’re nerdy too, remember?!”
This past October, Team Awesome’s founder Michelle decided to run the Chicago Marathon (her FIFTH marathon! WOW, am I right?!) to help TSWGO in her favorite style. In a Team Awesome video, she explains why she decided to take on this feat: “What This Star Won’t Go Out does is so important. I personally don’t know what it’s like to have a child that has cancer, but I just want to do what I can to help out those families.”
All of us here at TSWGO are inspired by Michelle’s compassion, determination, and strength, so we decided to ask her a few questions to learn more about her journey with Team Awesome and the Chicago Marathon.
What inspired you to found Team Awesome?
Team Awesome grew out of my love for TSWGO & Nerdfighteria, my need to decrease world-suck, and my insane dream of becoming a distance runner. I wanted to run for TSWGO and I thought perhaps others would like a new way to connect with TSWGO.
Why is important to give people a chance to get involved in TSWGO physically?
So many people want to give to TSWGO, but may not have the means to do so financially. That’s where Team Awesome comes in. People can choose a race of any kind to participate in or take part in one of our challenges, and they are then given their own fundraising page to collect donations from friends and family who want to support them. People are doing something physically for TSWGO while raising money, thus they are contributing when they might not normally be able to give.
What about marathons do you enjoy?
I love the Chicago Marathon especially because it’s like a city-wide party. The whole city shuts down the day of the marathon, and people are out there grilling, having lemonade stands, dancing, singing, and generally cheering everyone on. I especially love the people who stay until the very end to cheer people on (because I’m at the back of the pack and those are the people who REALLY need encouragement!).
What do you learn from running marathons?
You learn a lot about yourself really. You learn how to dig deep and keep going WAY after you’ve got nothing left. You learn what really matters to you when it comes to motivating yourself.
Do you have any new goals or upcoming races?
I am planning on running in The Greater Midwest Ragnar Relay Race this upcoming May. It’s a 200 mile relay race which takes place over the course of 2 days and is run with 12 people on a team. It will be my fourth time running it. I am also thinking of doing a half marathon sometime in the spring.
How do you hope to make the world a better place with Team Awesome?
I hope that Team Awesome is an entity which motivates people who might not consider themselves “athletes” to give it a try and do something athletic for This Star Won’t Go Out. I hope to get people to join Team Awesome across the U.S. and into the rest of the world.
What’s your most meaningful experience with Team Awesome and the marathon?
I think one of my most meaningful experiences with Team Awesome is the creation and implementation of our summer challenge. I love seeing people excited about getting involved, and I love the wide range of people and abilities that join. One of my most meaningful experiences with the marathon is my most recent race during which I ran my best time and just felt good the whole time. Any time I got discouraged all I would have to do is look down at my bright green TSWGO bracelet and remember the real reason I do this.