Calumet's story with Reach the Beach began back in 2010 when the Mele sisters and Tom Schauer had this grand idea of running all over the main streets and back roads of New Hampshire (along with thousands of others, for 30 hours in a row, with just a couple of smelly vans as support vehicles, rain or shine, cold weather or warm). Tom, who was serving on Caluemt's year round staff at the time, used his epic cheerleading skills and built some serious enthusiasm among the runners that first year. The runners really had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Yes, the official RTB handbook is clear and full of all the details. Still, most runners did not train they way they should have trained -- and there were VERY sore muscles and a couple of injuries that required months of healing. The runners and drivers that first year learned a whole lot. They learned about themselves, about team work, about preparation, and about how running a wicked long time and a wicked long distance could be wicked fun! In 2010, Pete Schiller took on a responsibility of knowing the handbook inside and out -- race expectations, directions, rules in the event of an injury, procedures for all sorts of things. To the present time, Pete's problem solving and planning has been one of the most important pieces of success. While RTB has come to be one of the biggest and most important fundraisers Calumet has, during that first year the fundraising support was almost an afterthought. The original team of 12 runners and two drivers raised about $2,000. And they felt great about it!!
Unbelievably, most of the group just couldn't wait to do it again! That second year, the team had a couple of bumps along the way. The first little issue was that a friend of a friend who was suppose to be running with Calumet made it known at the very last minute (within 36 hours of race time, actually) that he had something else to do. In true Calumet fashion, alum Karen Mele Lukeman, who at that time hadn't yet become the runner she is today, got the emergency phone call, gathered her gear together, and showed up just in time to start her first run of the race. She was a true trooper. Due to that little mess-up, future RTB planning groups would learn to cross every "t" and dot every "i" well before race time. The importance of good planning during 2011 paved the way for Calumet's excellence in attention to detail for the years to come. We were probably at our fastest in this second year. Of course, it's never been about how fast we could run it. It was then, and continues to be now, all about finishing healthy, raising money for camperships, and having a GREAT time!Year number 2 brought in over $6,000 for the Annual Fund.
For Calumet's third year, we expanded to two whole teams because enthusiasm for being part of the FUN and fundraising endeavor for Calumet was catching on. This was the first year Calumet used third party donor software to help with taking advantage of the social networks of team members. Another special circumstance that would be memorable about year number 3 was a race injury that sent a runner home. As the rules dictate, the remaining runners immediately get bumped into unfamiliar, not-trained-for Legs with those extra miles being covered by one runner having to do a whole additional Leg. The Calumet Spirit was alive as ever and team members figured it all out. The lesson? Everyone's got to be ready to do be flexible, take on strange assingments, and be ready to go the extra distance. 24 runners and 4 vans -- details, details, and more details. Year number 3 fundraising figures were an impressive $12,000+!
For the 4th year, more enthusiasm and more interest meant yet another expansion. In 2013, Calumet would have 4 teams in its 4th Reach the Beach. Calumet team members came from all over New England, plus alums Ken Languedoc from Florida, Todd Gothberg from Pennsylvania (for his second Calumet RTB), and Cathy Reed from Michigan. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans signed on as a major supporter. Three ELCA Rostered Leaders were on the team as Pr Steven Wilco and Pr Kari Plymette were runners, and former Calumet director D. Guy Johnson (AiM) served as driver. Giving in support of Calumet's RTB run was unbelievable with gifts totalling over $52,000. Calumet Nation started really catching on to how cool of an event this was becoming as part of the year of events on the schedule.
2014 was year number 5! Four teams of runners and drivers -- and, for the first time -- some support drivers. Alum Pr. Jeff Stalley, staff member Bonnie Brooks Burroughs, and alums Laura and Bill MacFeeley did lots of pre-race and post-race driving to get vans, materials, and people to places they needed to be. Partner congregations came through AGAIN offering resting spots and parking spaces. Hats off to Good Shepherd in Laconia, Holy Trinity in Newington, Triumphant Cross in Salem, Concordia in Concord, and Trinity in Chelmsford. Thrivent Action Teams played a big role for the first time as 30 of the 48 runners were sponsored by an Action Team -- that's a total of $7,500 to cover the costs of those runners. The total amount raised -- not including that great Thrivent support -- was about $62,000! Calumet Nation, as always, is wicked generous! And Bryan Berlin's work on getting all the fundraising pages set up for every single runner proves to be instrumental in the success. Wow!
In 2015, Calumet again fielded four teams to run for Calumet. There were some very cool features we experimented with during our sixth year. They included working with the official RTB race organizers with Calumet itself being a transition area, partnering with Nativity Lutheran Church and their Neighbor to Neighbor ministry to provide services to runners ($1,000+ in donations to Neighbor to Neighbor), partnering with Thrivent Financial which provided significant support in a whole variety of ways, and partnering with congregations throughout New England by linking up with runners to offer prayer and financial gifts. The transition spot (TA 10) had volunteers from local areas and from most of the New England states. Free pizza, free cookies, free fruit, free gatorade and water, and free Thrivent tee shirts were well received by the thousands of guests who ran and drove onto the property. Donations the Reach the Beach participants shared totalled over $1,000 for the Neighbor to Neighbor program. As for the fundraising for Calumet -- about $72,000 was raised in gifts! Unbelievable!
2016: Calumet went to 5 teams for our 7th year participating in RTB for Calumet. We raised over $87,000! Calumet was a transition area for the 2nd year which benefitted "Neighbor to Neighbor" -- a ministry of Nativity Lutheran Church. 60 congregations stepped forward to serve as prayer partners -- one congregation for each runner. Gifts came from far and wide, as did the runners (from NC, FL, and NY, as well as every state of the New Engalnd Synod. Over 50 yeasrs separated our runner with the most life experience and our runner with the least life experience. Many runners chose to create a Thrivent Action Team to support their individual fundraising. It was a beautiful thing to see the 5 runners making their way, hand in hand, along the beach. A see of green (special RTB shirts) formed a blob around them as runners, drivers, luggers, and their families ran the last hunk of yards together across the finish line.
2017: Calumet had six teams participating in the big race this year. 72 runners and 12 vans! We sailed past our $100,000 goal well before the end of the calendar year as congregation sponserships arrived in the mail. Some congregations shared a couple hundred dollars and some shared much more than that! Together, congreations and individual donors from throughout Calumet Nation shared generously. We had our first van flat tire which caused some stress in the middle of the night. Due to Pete Schiller's careful planning which keeps teams sort of close together during the race, we were able to figure it all out with substitute runners, borrowing a close-by minivan, and getting the flat taken care of. The transition area (TA10 at Calumet) was as lively as ever with plenty of local volunteers and raising a couple of thousand dollars for local youth to go on a big trip to Houston, TX. The crowd was impressed with the sea of yellow crossing the finish line!
Our 8 RTB runs from 2010-2017 have raised over $395,000 for Calumet. In 2018, our fundraising goal is $109,000 (to note the 9th annual RTB run).
The runners, past and present, include: Sam Allison, Sara Alterisio, Gary Anderson, Hayden Anderson, Sara Wilson Anderson, Haley Andreozzi, Kevin Arndt, Sarah Carlson Arndt, Ary Aslanzadeh, James Barrett, Bryan Berlin, Hanna Billington, Alicia Brooks, Eric Brown, Jennifer Heinrich Brown, Sue Olson Bruce, Tim Bruce, Julie Anderson Burns, Ron Cashman, Sam Chang, Bridget Chmura Christy, Gary Christy, Ryan Clancy, Austin Connell, Ryan Connell, Kim Conner, Laura Conner, Evan Connolly, Kira Dancewicz, Heather Guerriero Dans, Peter Diamante, Ryan Doncaster, Mike Douglass, Amy Doyle, Jim Doyle, Peter Ernst, Adam Fales, Carolyn Fales, Meredith Freimer, Wyatt Gantenbein, Todd Gothberg, Sophie Granberry, Amy Grant, Pr Joe Graumann, Pr Nathan Hall, Anthony Kent Case Hatch, Big Matt Hayn, Max Heaton, Eric Heinrich, Joe Herman, Kirsten Hjelmstad, Pr Christian Holleck, Pr Jon Hopkins, Vicki Mele Hopkins, Paul Jackson, Kathleen Janakis, Kurt Jones, Beth Kelley Kane, Kate Lacroix, Mark Landolina, Megan Lane, Emily Languedoc, Ken Languedoc, Amy Fournier Leighton, Kate Lopes, Karen Mele Lukeman, Nathanael Mathieu, Philip Mathieu, Sarah Mele McCready, Dave McHale, Nate McMahon, Andrea Bentley Melle, Kristy Moore, Rebecca Moore, Kurt Niiler, Andy O’Brien, Knute Ogren, Keren Paquette, Peter Panguere, Jeff Penoyer, Sam Stalley Penoyer, Cindy Perkins, Kristin Phyles, Dave Piper, Jack Plante, Pr Kari Plymette Rinas, Amanda Ramirez, Cathy Reed, Mark Rhodes, Leigh Ricci, Heidi Peltola Richard, Kim Rogerson, Neil Romberg, Tom Schauer, Pete Schiller, Mike Schlesselmen, Matt Schmidt, Tara Schroeder, Suzanne Schur, Pr Geoff Sinibaldo, Bill Smith, Pr Jeff Stalley, Pr Todd Stange, Erika Lundstedt Stokke, Michaela Stokke, Karen Stott, Spencer Tate, Ali Fales Thayer, Christopher Thayer, Hans Tobiason, Rick Tofteroo, Felix Vajdos, Croce Verrochi, Michelle Weagle, Mike Welke, Jessica Bergman White, Pr Steven Wilco, Gordy Willey, Steve Williams, Pr Lydia Wittman, Pr Dustin Wright, Zach Zimmerman, and Sofia Zrioka.
Calumet, unlike most Reach the Beach teams, has always had a non-runner in each van who serves as Van Driver. Van Drivers keep the runners on target, on time, and safe. They make sure all the safety equipment, binders, and maps are all set. They take responsibility for the first aid kit. Over the years, Calumet teams have had some of the best. They include: Julie Anderson, Hanna Billington, Tim Bruce, Jim Doyle, Karin Ogren Ernst, Adam Fales, Adrien Groleau, Sarah Groleau, Jenna Haskarl, D. Guy Johnson, Paul Lindahl, Kailina Mills, Jenn Lerz Norr, Karl Ogren, Bob Ohman, Jeff Penoyer, Jack Plante, Lara Gresens Quiroga, Kim Rogerson, Pr Geoff Sinibaldo, John Stokke, Rick Tofteroo, Croce Verrochi, Missy Verrochi, Ed Whitman, and Zack Zimmerman.
And we'd be lost without our chaplains, luggers, and support people: Pr Brett Bietkowski, Ginger Brownell, Bonnie Brooks Burroughs, Pr. Sandy D'Amico, Pr Dave Dalzell, Karin Ernst, Madi Ernst, Pr Mark Huber, Penny LaCroix, Bill MacFeeley, Laura MacFeeley, Pr Joe McGarry, Susan O'Hara, Dan Purtell, Debbie Stalley, Pr Anna Tew, Felix Vajdos, and Rob Waterman.
And now it's on to Reach the Beach, 2018 -- September 13-15! Here we go!!