January 30, 2015

TIF Year in Review and into 2015

Stephen Marcus and Brian Teague enjoy the Fourth Annual TIF Event
Stephen Marcus and Brian Teague enjoy the Fourth Annual TIF Event
By: Jake Marcus
            Good day all, it is that time of year again where Team Intestinal Fortitude is hoping for another successful fundraising campaign for 2015.  This will be our fifth year in action and each year seems to somehow surpass the preceding year in terms of success by raising awareness and funds and getting the proper people involved. 
            Since this is my first post since the Fourth Annual Thorny Lea event, I’ll give a rundown of a year in review, discuss some of the at-large Crohn’s and Colitis research being done, and provide some insight into our plans for this upcoming year.
            2014 seemed to be a very event-heavy year with multiple successful events.  We kicked the year off in March with our Fourth Annual Dinner and Auction event at Thorny Lea.  Committee members, Jim Messinger, Jonathan Adams, and Carol Lang were named as co-man of the year and woman of the year, as we raised approximately $60,000.00 at the very successful event.  I will get into the details of the upcoming event this year, which we expect to be bigger and better than ever, as our mecca event continues to grow.
            In June, the Young Professional’s Group in Boston held their Second annual event.  Committee member, Brian Teague, plays a large role in the logistics planning of this event, which was at Liberty Hotel.  The event had a rain scare as it was outside but luckily it stayed dry and we all had a great night.  The Third annual event will be June 25, 2015, with Liberty Hotel as the expected location again.
            Next, in late July at Stonehill College, Team Intestinal Fortitude was the major charity organization for the Narragansett Summer Running Festival, which holds a 5k, 10k, and half marathon.  For the second year in a row we had 12 runners and have raised a total of $5,200.00 at the great event put together by Jason Paganelli.
            The following event came in mid-October as Team Intestinal Fortitude had a team for the third annual CCFA Flag Football Tournament at Gillette.  While our success on the field was nothing to brag about, we all came out healthy and did a great job of raising Crohn’s and Colitis awareness and even had a guest appearance from New England Patriot Tight End, Michael Hoomanawui.
            The following month we were involved with two big events.  First, the inaugural Comedy 4 Charities event at Patriots Place went off without a hitch as Team Intestinal Fortitude teamed up with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, Ellie Fund, and South Shore Mental Health, where all contributions from the night were split between the four charities.  Finally, CCFA held the Fete of Food and Wine at the Four Seasons Boston.  CCFA New England President and committee member, Stephen Marcus, did a great job with helping orchestrate a wonderful night.  Moreover, committee member, David Howe, was presented as CCFA Man of the Year.
            Through these events and other fundraising outlets, we have surpassed the $650,000 raised barrier as we approached high-$600,000’s towards year end and to kick off this year we have just recently passed $700,000 at a whopping total raised of $711,470 since inception in 2010.
            While this past year was a highly event-intensive year, this was also my most active year in running marathons.  The first marathon I ran this year was the Boston Marathon in April.  This was the greatest race I’ve run to date and will likely be the best one I ever run.  After the events at the 2013 Boston Marathon, the city rejoiced in a big way by coming out to support the historic event.  Every step of the way from start to finish the crowds were at least 10 rows deep with fans on both sides, culminating with full sidewalks full of people over the last few miles.  While I saw a lot of my friends, family, and former coaches on the route, every single fan led to the most energy I’ve ever felt during a race and it gave me chills hearing the “Boston Strong” and “U-S-A” chants.  Because I was in my first year of law school, I hadn’t been up to my ideal training regimen due to time constraints.  However, I managed to set a Personal Record for the time at 2:44:45.  After the events of 2013, I knew regardless of where I was I would be participating in the Boston Marathon in 2014 and was glad to be a part of such a great event.
            My next event was the inaugural Revel Rockies Marathon in Denver, Colorado in mid-August.  Revel Rockies holds three races throughout the country and advertises itself as a race to get a great time and see some beautiful scenery.  This race definitely had both of these elements.  The race started out up in the mountains and was basically all downhill back to Denver area at the base of the mountains.  The view from the top was incredible and continued the whole way through the windy path.  At first, I was a little nervous about the altitude from being at two miles above sea level and noticed some of the effects such as swollen hands and slight shortness of breath.  However, I had a good summer of training so figured I was in good shape to get a decent time and that the downhill aspect could help a lot.  The downhill aspect helped more than a lot as I PR’ed by 9 minutes in a time of 2:35:45.  I knew starting out the race with a 5:18 mile that I would either crash and burn or get my best time by a lot.
            The next race was back to sea level for the Philadelphia Marathon in late-November.  I’d never been to Philly, which was a great city, and I had the opportunity to peruse the city with a few friends in the days leading up to the race.  This race turned out to have a good outcome as well as it was my first time negative splitting a marathon (second half faster than first half 1:22-1:19) as the first half was more hilly than the second, with a final time of 2:41:02.   I could have possibly pulled a sub-2:40 if it weren’t for an early bathroom break but I felt really good in the brisk conditions and was able to pull out an average of sub-6 minute pace over the last 10k so I was happy with it.
            The next marathon was a somewhat spontaneous decision as I signed up for the Miami Marathon for January 25th by signing up on the day before.  Since it starts and finishes right outside my apartment I figured I might as well do it, and it turned out to be perfect conditions at 55 degrees with a slight wind and flat course.  I’ve had inconsistent training to this point with my longest run being 12 miles to this point so I took it at a fairly easy pace but picked it up over the second half and was definitely feeling it (1:36-1:25).  I finished with a final time of 3:01:16 and probably had a chance at sub-3 if it weren’t for two bathroom breaks over the first half marathon but all things considered it was nice to be around 3-hours.
            Another large reason why I decided to do the Miami Marathon so last minute and why these marathons are all over the place is because one of my bucket list goals to run a marathon in every state.  Miami makes the ninth marathon and eighth state where I have run a marathon (Maryland, Connecticut, Nevada, Massachusetts [2], New Hampshire, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Florida).  My plan going forward is at a crossroads between either trying to attain a better goal time or just go for quantity and states at this point.  On this year’s horizon, I’m looking into potentially doing the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March, the Boston Marathon in April, and either New York City or Chicago in autumn.
            While I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, I’d like to give a shout out to one of our fearless leaders and my father – Stephen Marcus – who has been nominated as a national finalist for the Modell Award for Business Leadership for his work with Team Intestinal Fortitude and as President of the CCFA New England Chapter.  The Modells, the sports store people, founded CCFA in 1967 and continue to be involved with the New York chapter.  Marcus has some tough competition with one finalist being the sort of famous doctor/researcher, Jon Braun, at UCLA who keep up with his work by staying up 24 hours a day once a week.  The award is presented to the volunteer leader who has exhibited indisputable leadership in providing support for CCFA’s mission related to activity through awareness building, revenue generation, and/or business leadership of the foundation.  Marcus deserves this recognition and hopefully he can pull of the win.
            I also feel like it’s worth noting that there are some huge strides being made for Crohn’s and Colitis research.  Researchers have found that there are two genetic pathways that are targetable by existing chemicals and drugs – one of which has already been proven to be safe in humans.  With continued investment into this research and advancement to clinical trials, the CCFA Genetics Initiative is on the cutting edge of changing lives of IBD patients everywhere.  To thoroughly identify genetic pathways individually that are targetable by therapeutic drugs is a long process so finding two through the current research is a good sign of things to come.  So the funds and awareness being raised are definitely making a difference, as we get closer to new patient treatments and ultimately, the cures for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
            Now looking forward I’d like to discuss the plans for this year.  We have already had our first committee meetings for our 2015 fundraising campaign where we are focusing our efforts for our Fifth Annual Dinner and Auction event at Thorny Lea and have sent out our first wave of letters seeking donations.
            The Fifth Annual event, which will go viral on social media through the #TIFFIFTH hashtag, is planned for March 12th, 2015 at Thorny Lea in Brockton.  The event includes an open bar and hors d’oeuvres.  Auction and raffle items include a Tom Brady autographed helmet, Taylor Swift concert tickets at Gillette Stadium, Kenny Chesney pit tickets, and more event tickets and memorabilia.  This has been a huge fundraiser for us and continues to be an awesome event.  Get your tickets now for this can’t-miss event by clicking “Purchase Tickets” on the left panel of this site.
            As mentioned previously for races, I have already completed the Miami Marathon, and am looking into potentially doing the Yuengling Virginia Beach Marathon, Boston Marathon, and either the New York Marathon or the Chicago Marathon.
            At our first meeting we also added three members to the committee: Brooke Berman, Ali Lyman, and Kristen Brabants.  Brooke has been a huge help the past few years, especially at our annual events and with reaching out to potential donors.  Ali, a pharmacy student at Northeastern, has joined the board with a strong background in healthcare and also as a great runner.  She will be running the Boston Marathon this year after qualifying with a time of 3:18 for the MGH Emergency Response Team.  We have had other runners in the past, such as Brian Teague and Alix Marcus who both ran (with a pit stop at 7-11 convenience store to get some Slim Jims) the Las Vegas half marathon, but Ali will be a nice addition to run some races with the Team Challenge singlet.  Kristen has been involved with Team Intestinal Fortitude for a few years now and has been able to help on multiple fronts.  She has been the go-to person for all things social media and puts together the slideshow video that plays during our fundraising event.
            As you may see, we have a lot going on for Team Intestinal Fortitude recently.  We’re looking forward to a successful 2015 campaign and hope to see you all at our annual event.  Thank you all.


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