Mucker Q&A 2 – Todd Garten, Team Doin’ it for Deb Garten, MuckFest MS St. Louis

We’re excited to check back in with Todd Garten, team captain of Team Doin’ it for Deb Garten. As a MuckFest® MS St. Louis mucker, Todd raises awareness and funds for the National MS Society to honor his mother. Todd does MuckFest MS because his mom was a fighter, and he wants to do all he can to raise money and awareness for MS in her memory.

MuckFest MS St. Louis 2014 Participant's writing on their arm

MuckFest MS: Do you do any special training before the event?

Todd: Personally, I try to run a couple of miles every day. I’m doing my first half marathon this fall, so I need all the training I can get for that. But the great thing about MuckFest MS is that you don’t have to be a runner to participate. I see people buzz past me on the course, and I see folks walking. The course and obstacles are really doable no matter your ability. If you encounter something that looks too difficult to do, you can go around it. But, as I challenged my little brother last year – you’re here, so you might as well push yourself to do as much as you can. He surprised himself with what he was able to do!

MuckFest MS: What is your best tip for recruiting people to join your team?

Todd: Ask, ask, ask, and ask again! Don’t stop asking, even if they tell you no. I put a bug in people’s ear early on and then I kept reminding them about it, tagging them in pictures that MuckFest MS would post on Facebook, emailing reminders, and texting little hints. Eventually people either say they can’t do it, or they sign up. I ask everyone – friends, colleagues, running friends, people at church, local friends, and those long distance “Why not make a weekend out of this and come visit during MuckFest MS?” friends. It worked on my best friend, who is driving to St. Louis from Chattanooga this summer.

Team Doin' it for Deb Garten before and after MuckFest MS St. Louis picture!

MuckFest MS: What is your best fundraising tip?

Todd: I have had great success with fundraising letters and emails. I’ll send something two or three months before the event, and then I’ll follow up with two or three reminders as the event gets closer. I think it’s important to be genuine in what you write and share why giving to the National MS Society is important to you. For me, it’s the benefits that my mom received from the National MS Society. They were such a blessing for her, providing her with answers to her questions and resources for her needs. My mom lost her fight with MS in 2002, but the work I do in fundraising now helps so many others who may be in similar situations like my mom.

One of the things I wrote in my thank you cards for those who chose to support me last year was that I would remember them while out on the course on race day. I literally didn’t want to forget one name, so the morning of MuckFest MS St. Louis, I had my team help write donors names on my arms and legs in semi-permanent marker. As I looked down during the run, I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the love and support shown by my friends and family.

Todd will be back with one more post before Team Doin’ it for Deb Garten gets mucky at MuckFest MS St. Louis!

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