MuckFest MS: What are you most excited for at your first MuckFest MS event?
Michael: I just want to know if I can make it through all of the obstacles! I’ve never done an event like this, and I’m excited to see if it lives up to all of the fun I see people having in the pictures. I’m also really excited to see just how many people attend this event.
Who is your inspiration for participating in MuckFest MS?
Michael: My Mom is my inspiration. She was diagnosed with late-onset MS a few years ago, and this event perfectly brings together my love of running and desire to do something to honor her. Since I was little, she has always taught me the power of independent thought and action. She put herself through college by working days and going to class at night, and she was the first in her family to get a college degree. From there, she went off to Germany to teach. All of this happened at a time when it was very unusual for women to do these types of things. It’s made her struggle with MS that much harder to witness, because of the impact it has had on her independence, in thought and in action.
What is your number one fundraising tip?
Michael: The one thing I have learned leading up to this event is the power of connection – amazing things happen when you just ask. No matter how long ago or how recently I’d spoken to someone or how deep or new the friendship might be, so many people responded to my requests for support – I was astounded. I set what I thought were lofty goals – a team of 10 people raising $2,000 – and was blown away by a team of 38 people raising over $7,100.
MuckFest MS: What was the most memorable moment at your first MuckFest MS event?
Michael: It actually happened the night before the event, while many of the team members gathered to “carb load” (really just an excuse to eat pasta and drink great wine). Two of our team members couldn’t attend the dinner, but I received a text that simply said, “We are ready,” with a picture of the shirts they made for MuckFest MS. They had spontaneously decided to write “Muckin’ for Mike’s Mom” on their shirts – and the entire team embraced it. I was quietly participating in this event to honor my Mom as my own personal thing. To have the entire team embrace her in such a public way completely blew me away. The best part was my Mom was able to attend the event and got to personally see that we were all running for her.
MuckFest MS: What was your favorite obstacle?
Michael: That’s a tough one, because they were all fun in their own way. I’ll have to say the Swing Set, because it was so much fun to launch yourself off of it and into the water – it was like being a kid again. Also, after a long uphill portion of the course, the Swing Set was the beginning of going downhill to the finish line.
MuckFest MS: If you could give one piece of advice to a first-time mucker, what would it be?
Michael: Kneepads. Or long pants. My knees took a beating. Really, what I would tell them is that it’s an incredible amount of fun. You think it’s going to be fun, and all of the pictures look like a blast, but you really won’t understand how much fun it really is until you get out there with a bunch of your friends. Can’t wait for next year!