Running to Give Back

mindy_nienhouseHello Laker family! I’m Mindy Nienhouse, a health and wellness blogger at just a one girl revolution and proud two-time Laker alumna (2007, 2009). My journey towards health and happiness truly began while I was at Grand Valley, and for that I am forever grateful.

Coming from someone who used to have the “I’ll run if I’m being chased” mentality, it sometimes seems a bit surreal that running has become such a part of my identity since I first got the idea to run a 5k in 2007. What started out as a seemingly impossible goal to run 3.1 miles launched a new passion in my life. When I crossed my first finish line at the 2007 GVSU Homecoming 5k, it lit a spark in me. People often call running their therapy, and while I don’t want to discredit the amazing work of actual mental health professionals, I completely agree that it has its therapeutic aspects. The time I spend pounding the pavement gives me a chance to focus on something beyond the worries and stress of the day. Since that first 5k, I’ve run over 30 races of various distances and I’m training for my first TWO marathons and a half IRONMAN triathlon in 2015! Not too bad for someone who couldn’t run a block when I started.

Since it was formed in 2012, I have run the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25k with Grand Valley’s Laker for a Lifetime team. My time at GVSU was transformative in so many ways, as college is for many people, but it’s where my passion for running, and health in general, first began. It seemed like a natural fit to combine my love of running with my Laker pride to support current and future students through this fundraising opportunity. On May 9, 2015, I’m running the 25k one more time and honored for the opportunity raise money not only for Grand Valley, but I am also fundraising for Kent County Girls on the Run. These two organizations are near and dear to my heart. Running for charity makes the miles I log in training and on race day about so much more than just me. I’m running for current and future Lakers, knowing that by running, it will give these students a chance to complete their education and further their dreams.

If you’re participating in the River Bank Run this year (and you don’t have to be a runner to do so!), consider joining our team as a FUNDracer! If you think that you can’t run, I am here to encourage you that you are capable of more than you know and the River Bank Run/Laker for a Lifetime team is one of the most supportive, fun events to start with. But, if I can’t convince you to join us on the streets of Grand Rapids to run, cheer me and the rest of the team on at the spirit station/post-race party, or there are also opportunities to volunteer and donate to this great cause. You can learn more information on the GVSU Alumni page! I hope you’ll support our team in whatever way is best for you!

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