Team-Building at Its Finest: Meet Philly’s Elizabeth G. and Team Libbie’s Legion
Those who run MuckFest year after year know that each experience is unique and special. You make new memories, have all kinds of new fun, and meet new people. A lot of this is influenced by your team! Whether you run with one person or fifty, it’s the people around you who make the mud special.
No one knows this better than Elizabeth G. from Philadelphia. Her Libbie’s Legion team has varied in size, and over the years, she has found lots of positives in having a team size that ebbs and flows. It has allowed her to embrace her team in a new way each year since her first MuckFest in 2014. Stemming from her own diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 2013, Libbie’s MS journey is ongoing. Her MuckFest journey is ongoing as well. She gave us a taste of that journey by talking about her amazing teammates over the years, reminding us all that it’s not the size of the team that matters…it’s the heart behind the team that makes the difference.
I was diagnosed in August of 2013, and June of 2014 was my first MuckFest. My team was made up of my diehard supporters at the time: my husband, of course, and a few close friends. Family members. My sister. My brother-in-law drove down from New England. It was a tight-knit crew who all knew each other.
Then you have that second-year crew. A few from Year One, but also a few skeptics who saw the Year One people and thought it looked cool and signed up. My pastor and his wife joined our team, and of course, my husband was there again. We had a close friend of the family who had recently lost her husband to a heart attack, so she was running in his memory. It was a special year.
But then, as my MS got better, at least to the outside world, my team got smaller. That initial “go, fight, win” urgency died down, and my team size died down with it. People couldn’t get off work, MuckFest was overlapping with vacations, and a few of my friends had babies. Things come up!
But I learned that the smaller the team, the more people worked together. We all mucked together and crossed the finish line together. We were tight-knit, and I could keep tabs on everyone — more like the Team Mom instead of the Team Captain. My dad also joined our team, which impacted me in a way my words will fail to express. I cannot in all my heart and mind tell you what that meant to me. I got to cross the finish line with my husband and my dad, and my heart was on FIRE with love and pride.
In 2017 we didn’t have a team present at MuckFest because I had JUST delivered our second son and wasn’t really “in the mood” to captain a team. And that’s why 2018 was such a surprise to me!
In 2018, we had our biggest team ever! We had more new team members and less veterans than any other year. I feel like MuckFest really recruits its own members because even though they were all wearing my name across their chests, I knew they weren’t really running for ME. A friend of mine was running for her newly diagnosed husband, so it was an honor for me to escort her through her first MuckFest, knowing that she was fighting for someone who couldn’t. THOSE are the people that are most impacted by this event. Did I mention we had a set of twins on the team who, when covered in mud, were EVEN HARDER to tell apart? It was a ball!
THE YEAR TO COME…
In 2019, my team is HUGE, and I know probably only 10 people. I also have two others on my team with MS, and as an added surprise, they each have a parent running with us! Will I miss that tight-knit first-year crew? Yes. But even though my name is on the shirts, I know MS is much bigger than me. We won’t all cross the finish line together — we didn’t last year either. And that’s okay. I’ve honestly even toyed with taking my name off the team shirts, because now the team is less about me than ever…as it should be. Libbie’s Legion has become more of a foster family for people who are impacted by the disease and just don’t want to run alone. And I love that. I wouldn’t have it any other way.