Where did the idea for a virtual run start?

My name is Natalie Collias and I am currently studying medicine at the University of Crete (in Greece) — I am a natural-born Greek citizen but was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio (dual citizenship) and consider the States my real home. I do a lot of running and recently headed up a team for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for childhood cancer research. I was able to do this virtually. Overall, I want to be as involved as I can in two fields: childhood cancer research funding and Septo Optic Dysplasia research funding.

One of my very best friends, Sarah Turner, has a daughter named Liberty who has (I refuse to say ‘suffers from’ because not only is she the happiest, brightest almost-2-year-old I’ve known, but because she has put the doctor’s predictions to shame with her accomplishments) Septo Optic Dysplasia (SOD).

This is the Turner Family, the inspiration behind The MAGIC Foundation Virtual Run/Walk

The Liberty Story

My best friend, Sarah Turner, and I have been friends for around 5 years now. In October of 2011 she gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Liberty. Six weeks after Liberty’s birth, however, Sarah started noticing muscle tremors and abnormal eye movements and decided to get medical attention. After hours and hours of testing in the hospital, Liberty was diagnosed with Septo Optic Dysplasia (SOD). Now, I guess I should preface this with the fact that I am currently a medical student abroad and Sarah is back home in the States – so our communication during this time (and always) was quite limited. But, I knew that there was a diagnosis and one that was rare and sometimes dangerous.

I cannot imagine at the time what Sarah, her husband Chase, and their families went through during those waiting hours at the hospital. The worst part was: there was nothing, and is nothing, I could do… especially all the way from here (Greece)! Sarah and Chase both faced the problem and began check-ups and meetings with occupational therapists, neurological and hormonal evaluations, and so on… Aside from the many health aspects of this disease, there are also the “social” and psychological factors of the diagnosis: schooling, physical signs, labels (‘special needs’). However, Sarah and Chase’s strength and ability to keep their heads up and work with the problem at hand made all of the difference in Liberty’s first year of life, I am sure of it.

She is so lucky to be raised by loving parents who see every obstacle and even medical expectation/limitation for Liberty as a challenge.

Because of how close I am with the Turners, and my association with medicine through my studies, I wanted to help as much as I could. I have seen and been a part of several “virtual runs” and began researching when the next virtual run would be for children with rare growth diseases such as Liberty’s. Sarah referred me to The MAGIC Foundation and that is how this all began. I think that the best way for future treatment, symptom control and care of children with a rare disorder whose prognosis is day by day, month by month, year by year is through fundraising…by families and friends of families affected by these rare diseases. The best part is that teams can run anywhere, wherever they want during the 2-week period as long as their time is recorded through the Sociercise iPhone app.

Pre-Register your team today to get started with an event in your child’s name. Then start recruiting runners/walkers for the event. These participants can then begin collecting pledges for each mile that they run/walk during the event period May 13 through May 26th. When the event is over Sociercise calculates the distance completed and the pledges and sends the donations to The MAGIC Foundation.


We are so excited to have joined RevTech Labs business incubator in Charlotte, NC for the next 12 weeks. By the end of the 12 week program we hope to be launching new social tools for fitness as well as a suite of rewards and certifications to reward you and your favorite charities for your fitness activities. Thanks to all who have been patient with us as we grow. Keep running…Keep living…Keep giving…


We are happy to announce the following prizes for the top performers in the Warrior Appreciation Virtual Race.  It’s not too late to get registered for this event and start raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  We will be giving away a total of four pairs of Skora’s brand new, just released FORM Camo Running Shoes.  SKORA is designed for the real runner, in the real world. SKORA products are designed from a feature/benefit analysis based on common sense. Many athletic brands focus on “technology” to help a runner go faster, longer, stronger. We believe that the best technology available is the human body, and design our products to respect this. SKORA products allow the human body to function as naturally and efficiently as possible.

We will also be awarding winners with various prizes from IonDesigns, Guerilla Tags, and EnergyBITS.  Plus we have a bunch of Wounded Warrior Project bracelets and stickers to give away as well.


The most critical thing about exercise is that you do it consistently. Anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up will often be good enough for exercise. It’s easy to obsess about whether you’re doing exercise in the right way, but the consistency is way more important.  As a result many experts have suggested that you try to find a way to make the exercising fun. For many, this will work best in group activities.

Stay Connected

The benefits of exercising in groups are especially keen for the elderly or the disabled. This is because it’s really easy to become depressed and isolated when you have disabilities due to age or other reasons. Even beyond the obvious need for exercising, doing it in groups will also allow you to socialize which has been linked to all sorts of positive physical effects.  Social support also makes the whole business a lot more fun sine exercising can be pretty tedious otherwise. You never know when you might make new friends when you join an exercise group as well. And staying connected to the world socially can be just as important as exercise in terms of your mental health and staying positive.

Increase Stress Relief

Many recent studies show that exercising with other people can increase the stress relieving effects of exercise by a fairly strong degree. So if you have a mental disability such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or anything of that variety, exercising in a group can help you get rid of even more stress than it could all by itself. And of course, exercising in groups tends to lead to having friends, and having friends also tends to lead toward greater stress relief as well.

Stay Motivated

Exercising in groups is also a great way to keep each other motivated, especially if motivation is going to be an issue. For example, if you have a disability of any kind that makes it very difficult for you to exercise constantly, having other people to give you motivation and tell you that you can do it can be enormously useful. There tend to be a few periods throughout the course of you starting to exercise that are extremely difficult. But if you can get past these crunch periods everything will seem easy and second nature once you really get rolling.

Keep Going Longer

The motivation can also extend to each individual exercising session. Friends can help give each other energy to keep going a little longer in friendly competition. Obviously it’s important not to strain yourself, but it can definitely help quite a bit to get yourself going, to make it fun and to establish some teamwork and camaraderie feelings with your friends.

Getting Extra Help

If you need help just getting started to take the pressure off, it can help to get an SS disability application. Anything that can help you feel less stress and have fewer barriers to getting some exercise is a good thing.


Running is an excellent way to burn excess calories, boost your mood with the endorphins and even ease your anxiety or depression disorders. There are many reasons to start running, but when you’re a beginner, you shouldn’t just lace up your shoes and go. Running safely takes understanding some basic fundamentals of running and how best to protect your body to avoid injury or illness.

Get the Right Equipment

It’s essential to have the right running equipment. A common mistake among new runners is that they don’t dress properly. Just putting on your regular exercise gear and athletic shoes isn’t enough, unless you’re only running a very short distance.

You need a supportive bra if you’re a woman, first of all. Get one that fits you perfectly and prevents bounce. Your clothing should be breathable and comfortable, so you aren’t trying to adjust it while running. Your shoes need to be specifically for running, and for your type of feet. If you get a generic pair of shoes and have flat feet, you’re going to be in excruciating pain after a single run.

Focus on Distance

When you first start, don’t focus so much on the speed you’re going. Slow down your running to closer to a jog, and focus on distance instead. Try to increase how far you can get during each run, such as making a goal to run to the York PA web design store a few miles away. Gradually increase your distance, and soon you’ll notice you’re able to run faster as well. Starting to run isn’t about winning the marathon, it’s about finishing it.

Join Other Runners

It’s also helpful to beginner runners if they can join other runners who have some experience. You don’t want a running group that’s made up of experienced runners who are training for marathons, but a group that includes both beginners and intermediate runners. Find a buddy at your same level so you can start training together. It motivates you to run more and you can support each other in this fitness journey.  Plus there are some great new apps like Sociercise that allow you to ‘virtually’ run with people.

Run Often

You also need to start running on a regular basis. Don’t run once a week, or it will be hard every time you go out. Try to run at least 3 days a week, and balance it out with some cross-training 1-2 days per week. One day a week off at least is good, though. If you’re out of shape, start by running every third day, then gradually increasing it to every two days, and so on. And if you are an absolute beginner, look into a “couch to 5K” program or start a race on Sociercise to get you up to speed. You should see an increase in endurance in no time!

When you start running, make sure you keep these tips in mind for healthier, more sustainable exercise.

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who was a new runner not too long ago. Now she always takes a daily jog and loves it!


Whether you work in a busy office, from home, or from your vehicle in a high-travel occupation, if you’re like many of us, your average day is stressful. Pundits who cover the overall experience of modern life often talk about how the rat race seems to have gotten even more extreme over the last few decades, and how it’s a challenge for many career professionals to keep time for all of their different priorities.

With that in mind, it can be helpful to look at how changes to a daily schedule might affect your outlook and mindset. One example is outdoor running. Taking a quick run can be a relaxing and exhilarating experience. It can also give you important time to think and reflect on the day.

Exercise and Stress

Most of us already know that exercise can have a positive impact on stress. We’ve heard about people doing meditation, or taking yoga or Pilates classes to vary their routine and get more of a naturally paced lifestyle. However, a lot of busy professionals don’t feel like they have time for these kinds of carefully designed activities.

Running can be a good alternative, because it appeals to both the body and the mind. Combining meditative time with gym time or time spent on exercise is a good way to kill two birds with one stone (to use a somewhat outdated cliché) and manage time wisely.

During a quick daily run, the busy professional has time to order his or her thoughts. For creative workers, this time can be used to come up with useful ideas to apply to the day’s work. For managers, thoughts on a run might tend toward resolving a difficult problem or ramping up a new project.

The fact is that most of us in some way or another work creatively, and getting our endorphins up while taking time for reflective thought can allow us to come up with some of our most powerful ideas and input for our jobs, whether we work with Morningtrans HR, in a “brick and mortar” office, from home, or on a job site. Wellness pros have long looked at how endorphins and creativity go together and how helping out the body can be good for the mind.

At the same time, a daily run helps people follow the advice of their doctors, who often suggest daily exercise to a greater percentage of their patients. That’s because a daily run or other fitness routine can lower high blood pressure or help preserve good cholesterol levels. Running and other exercise can ward off chronic health conditions. All of these are reasons why a lot of us run to keep our minds and our bodies in good shape.

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who loves the health benefits of her daily run.


What a tale!!! From the antics of runners and brew enthusiasts Scritch and Dolf to the magic tree of pooportunity Mark Henderson knows how to spin a story. Running and Other Bad Habits gives readers an insight into the character and  adventures of ultra runners.  With spider encounters and racing speeding trains turning the page was never a problem for me with this quick and fun read.  It almost makes me want to try an ultra run….almost…I think I’ll just stay at the campground and listen to more of these stories.     You can read more of Mark’s stories on his blog http://runningbadhabits.com/blog/ And he’d love it if you’d buy a copy for yourself!


It’s officially summertime; therefore, it’s time to play. When the sun comes out and the water is cool and refreshing, you may find yourself wanting to have a little bit of fun in an adventurous way. Though riding or driving a jet ski can be a real thrill, it’s also important to have a sense of safety and responsibility when being out on the water.

There are several different ways and methods to stay safe when riding a jet ski; however, you may find the following five tips to be the most helpful.

Image Source:BrightonPiers

One: Always Wear a Life Jacket

Though life jackets may be uncomfortable and unflattering to sport, the clothing piece could potentially save your life. It’s also illegal to not wear the protective vest when riding a jet ski. Whether you’re a great swimmer or are driving in shallow water is irrelevant, so always wear a life jacket.

Two: Know the Safety Precautions

Before you even put the key in the ignition, you should read over the jet ski’s manual. In order to stay completely safe, you need to understand and be completely familiar with the set up i.e. how to brake, the placement of horns and lights, how to power off the machine, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns, you need to have them addressed, as well. Before you are even out on the water, you need to feel comfortable and prepared.

Three: Is the Jet Ski Insured?

For you safety and for the safety of others, you need to know if the jet ski your riding is insured. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and sometimes can’t be prevented. Therefore, you want to make sure the jet ski is completely and legally covered and that you’re covered to actually ride or drive said jet ski. Being aware of the insurance will only protect all involved parties if an accident were to occur.

Four: Stay Alert

When you’re out on the water, it’s vital to be aware of your surroundings and the other people around you. You may be doing everything correctly i.e. wearing your life jackets, driving carefully, not speeding, etc., but you still need to be conscious of what everyone else is doing on the water. For example, if you see another boat or jet ski speeding, drinking, or driving recklessly, then you’ll want to find another area to stay in.

Five: Don’t Drink and Drive

Just as if you were driving a car, it’s illegal to consume alcohol and drive a jet ski. Besides, it’s import to be fully attentive. Drinking will only impair your judgment, and could potentially create an accident. Stay safe and stay sober, whether you’re driving or riding.

You can still be adventurous and have fun when driving a jet ski, but you also want to make sure you’re staying safe. There are many ways to do so, including the top five tips mentioned above. Always go with your best instincts, and be smart when you’re out on the water.


Runners spend hours every week grinding out miles…. yet very few include mental techniques in their training regimes.

Auto industry innovations are tested first in the areas of F1 and Nascar before finding their way into mass market vehicles. Similarly, elite runners will test the latest gear, equipment and nutrition products before they appear in running stores for mere mortals. Ironically, one aspect of the elite world that we appear reluctant to embrace is: sports psychology.

We know that every pro sportsperson or team works on their mental game and there is resounding evidence that it works.

The breaking of the 4 minute mile is the most famous example. Athletes for generations strived and failed to achieve the ultimate goal – indeed it was widely considered to be physically impossible. However, as soon as Roger Bannister proved it could be done on May 6th 1954 a flood of runners who now knew it was possible emulated his feat. Steve Scott achieved the impossible over 100 times during his career. Thereby proving that this was a mental not a physical barrier. The classic demonstration of “Mind Over Matter”.

Just as there is a wide variety of opinions on physical training there are many expert sports psychologists and mental toughness coaches with a language (some impolitely call it psycho-babble) that can intimidate the runner who just wants to know: “How to run faster?” Our heads are full of debates about: long runs, intervals, tempo, hill repeats, strides, hydration, nutrition, pace strategy, heart rate monitors, recovery regimes, cross-training, minimalist shoes and so on…….Can we now cope with: positive self-talk, visualization, resilience, relaxation, goal setting, performance rituals, affirmation…….?

Many runners also overestimate the time it takes. In reality if they devoted as little as 20 minutes each week to mental training drills and 10 minutes to pre-race preparation their running performance would probably improve.

Every runner is an individual, and there is no ‘cookie cutter’ formula for mental or physical training. However, most runners that I meet thrive on the social aspects of the sport and love competition…it is therefore unsurprising that tools like Sociercise are gaining popularity…..providing the stimulus of peer to peer competition without the effort and expense of entering a race every week.

If you are interested in learning more, I have created a blog www.rundamentalists.com and www.twitter.com/rundamentalists to help translate the topic into the language of runners. I will be acting as a ‘Lab Rat’ for a variety of mental techniques and also interview fellow runners and experts on their experiences.


This is a great TED Talk about how we perceive charity fundraising and the main question that charities get asked…Why is so much money going to overhead?  He answers that question in this talk and explains that overhead doesn’t necessarily take a chunk out of the pie but makes a bigger pie.  Watch and enjoy…Then come back to set up a virtual charity race that will make your pie a little bigger.


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