By: Jake Marcus
Over the past few months, we have had a lot to be proud of here at Team Intestinal Fortitude. So I'll cut right to the chase and give a quick update on all the latest happenings.
As we are on the cusp of the Boston Marathon, I'd like to give an update on our most recent races. Unfortunately, I will not be competing in the Boston Marathon this year and opted to sign up for other races in lieu of Boston. First, in November, I ran the New York City Marathon. This was a very fun race and I loved running through all the five burroughs of NYC as I used to live in the Bronx for an internship program in undergrad and reall enjoy the City. I was able to connect with some old friends and check out the scenery as the weather was a balmy 60 in November. As far as the actual race, I ended up running a 2:43, which I was definitely happy with on the tough, rolling hills. Afterward, I enjoyed my favorite pizza in NYC, Artichoke Pizza.
Our next big event was actually a Team Challenge race in New Orleans for the Rock n' Roll Marathon in late February. My father and I decided to travel to this event and had a really great hotel room. This was an unbelievable weekend and I met so many great people. For the actual race, I ran a 2:49, as the second half of the Marathon was not very fan-friendly and mentally challenging with some muscle cramps, but it was good enough for 10th place, which was pretty cool. The race start was also very close to the hotel so that was super convenient. The after party in New Orleans was also a great venue for the race and one of the best camaraderie-wise I've ever seen.
For the entire weekend, there were a few surprises that ended up happening. The VIP Party two nights before the race was on a boat, so my father and I enjoyed chatting with all the other VIPs. Afterward, we saw my cousin and some of her friends from Tulane University. The day before the race, I did a quick shake out run and then we went to the Team Challenge Pasta Party. There were hundreds of people there as it was held at the Mardi Gras World so we saw a lot of the giant floats they use for Mardi Gras. We had some pasta and listened to always-entertaining MC Kennedy Elsey and CCFA President, Craig Comins. Following this, we saw some motivational videos and also learned about the groundbreaking research going on in the CCFA world. Next, we were presented with the number one top fundraiser award. We listened to motivational speeches from a great young man and two really good friends who are young professionals and were also very funny. What happened next was something we were not expecting at all. Mike McCready, Pearl Jam's lead guitarist who has Crohn's has a best friend named Chris Adams who present the McCready-Adams Award to somone who has gone above and beyond in the CCFA community. It was very unexpected when Adams presented the award to Team Intestinal Fortitude. My father and I accepted the award and gave a few words about how much raising awareness and funds for Crohn's and Colitis mean so much to our group. It was also nice to chat briefly with Chris Adams, who was a very down to Earth guy.
The next big event for our group came two weeks after the New Orleans Marathon as we hosted our 6th Annual TIF Auction and Raffle Banquet. This was the night after we connected with Matt Light (former NFL player who was diagnosed with Crohn's during his career) and The Light Foundation at his Marathon kickoff event where TIF was a sponsor. For our event, this is the most packed I'd ever seen the ballroom. We were definitely at capacity and people seemed to have a great time and stayed the whole time. The best part of the night, in my mind, was the speaking portion. My father kicked it off with a lengthy but stellar spech recognizing all the great people in the Easton community. The speech really hit close to home, no pun intended, as it was amazing how well he laid out all the amazing people who have done amazing things in our community in the face of adversity. Next, and another slight surprise, was when we were given a Citation Award for our efforts in the Crohn's and Colitis community. This was the second Citation we received this year as my father was given a Chairman Citation Award at the Fete in November. Next, we presented the man and woman of the year awards to D.J. Howe, who is a high school kid and has Crohn's Disease and Lisa Marlowe Branigan, who is an Easton mother and has two children who have Crohn's Disease. They both gave really inspring speeches. David and Karen Howe also gave amazing speechs presenting the awards to the award winners. We were sad that one of our heroes, Amber Queen, was unable to attend but next time for sure.
By the end of the night we have raised over $955,000 since our inception in 2010. The $1,000,000 mark is a very real possibility at this point and it is kind of surreal to think our group of misfits from Easton, MA could reach that total in the next year or two. I'd like to thank everyone for all the support since day one and that we are continuing the effort until we find a cure. Next up, I am signed up for the Chicago Marathon and we hope to announce the $1Million mark very soon!