Running has never been my favorite thing to do, so why, you might ask, am I training to run a half marathon in October? Well, it's because one of my favorite people (my aunt) passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and another favorite person (Augie Nieto) has ALS, and the half marathon I'm running (and likely walking a lot of the time) is part of a fitness industry effort called TeamQuest4ALS to raise money for ALS research.
The best part is that you, too, can be a part of this event, whether it's as an individual who joins an existing team like I did or whether you form a team from your fitness facility to join the companies who started this group—and come join the fun.
In early March, Kevin McHugh, COO at The Atlantic Club, made me aware of the TeamQuest4ALS program in which The Atlantic Clubs, Newtown Athletic Club, Chelsea Piers, Greenwood Athletic Club, River Valley Club, Prairie Valley-Nashville, Hockessin Athletic Club and Life Fitness had formed teams to run the Brooklyn Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon on Oct. 8 in Brooklyn, New York. These clubs are involved in the Augie's Quest efforts, and they wanted to do more to help raise money.
Like I said, I am not a runner. I kickbox, box, strength train, walk, do Pilates and other forms of exercise, but running has never been top of my list of things to do. However, McHugh asked me to join The Atlantic Club's team during the middle of the Augie's Bash at the IHRSA show in March. I don't know if it was the glass of wine I'd had, the inspiring message from Augie and others at the event or what, but I thought, "What the heck. I'll do it." And I signed on, despite the half marathon being a few short days from our Club Industry Show in Chicago Oct. 12-14. When you've watched the devastating effects of ALS on someone you know and love, a little inconvenience and hard work is nothing compared to what they are experiencing.
So, if you love to run or have staff members and club members who love to run, and if you want to do something to be a part of the cure for ALS that is being led by industry icon Augie Nieto, then I urge you to add your fitness facility's name to this effort. In case you don't know, Nieto, who founded Life Fitness, was diagnosed with ALS more than 11 years ago. He started Augie's Quest to raise money for ALS research. The money for this race and for all the Augie's Quest fundraising events (including the Augie's Bash at this year's IHRSA show, which raised $1.4 million) goes to ALS Therapy Development Institute, which has an impeccable rating on Charity Navigator—no surprise to me considering Nieto is chairman of that organization. I got to know Nieto and his wife, Lynne, when we gave Nieto our Lifetime Achievement Award last year.
If you can't form a team or join an existing team, then please donate to one of the dedicated people who will be running for the cause on Oct. 8 by clicking on one of the teams in this link and finding someone you know to support. If you don't know anyone, then consider the two of us as friends and feel free to donate on my page here. The most important thing is to give to the cause so we can find a cure.