An Unlikely Runner – Rich Bracken

I am beyond proud to share that I am in the middle of training for the New York City Marathon.

Now, running a marathon was never the dream of a childhood fat kid or a 260 lb college linebacker, but I was both. Running was a punishment, running was negative, running….was not fun.


Fast forward 20 years and with a dozen races in the books, including two half marathons, I stand facing November 5th in the face as one of my biggest physical and mental challenges of my life. The ongoing challenge: losing 100lbs and keeping it off for 20 years.


My main struggles came from being a depressed child who battled weight issues. I was a football player who used size to my advantage, but mentally I was a wreck. After my playing days were over in college, I decided the weight needed to come off. I started by walking and eventually got into running short distances. As the weight fell off and I started feeling myself emerge from depression. It became my escape, my personal time, and my bliss to throw on some music and just go.

What I find ironic is that I couldn’t stand running for so long and then it became my saving grace. Even after having a back surgery from a weightlifting accident and a torn ACL from a soccer injury, I always worked hard at my rehab so I could get back to running again.

Now, as an emerging business leader, running is critical to my health and my peace of mind. I run early in the mornings and sometimes double up at night depending on the day. It gives me the time to balance out my thoughts and winds up becoming a major funnel for new ideas. Disconnecting from everything but the music, I’m not forced to pay attention to anything but my stride and my breathing. The races are a fun way to mix things up as I have always been, and will always be, competitive in nature. I love the support that the running community has which allows us to still be competitive in a truly supportive fashion.

Through a serendipitous Twitter exchange with James Blake (former world top 5 tennis player), I am running the NYC Marathon with his team to raise money and awareness for the James Blake Foundation. His foundation is directly tied to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a cutting edge facility in New York.

I am proud to be a runner now, more so than ever. For my health, to set a good example for my sons and now I’m blessed with the opportunity to help others just by running. It truly was a lesson in taking something that I viewed as a negative and bringing it full spectrum to one of the most beneficial things in my life.


Written by Rich Bracken

You can learn more about Rich’s tie to cancer research and see some of his television appearances on

Featured Article: Learning to Run

After starting our Runners Gone Wild movement, we are truly inspired by some of our fellow runners. Hunter Woodhall is a United States Track & Field Paralympian running without both his legs. After the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Woodhall’s school and city in Syracuse, Utah, declared September 15th as “Hunter Woodhall Day.”

hunter-woodhall-3My name is Hunter Woodhall and I am a double amputee. I am missing both my legs but still love to run. I was the first double amputee to be a state champion my junior year in Utah.

I was born with a bone deficiency that caused doctors to believe I would never walk. My feet were deformed and were amputated when I was 11 months old. I never let the struggles stop me in my pursuit to become a runner. I am now 17 years old and I am the fastest high schooler to ever come out of Utah in the 400m or 200m (Able body)! Along with being a top 5 nationally ranked high school runner as a junior. I’m a senior now and I’m excited to continue my career in track and field and hope to have lots of amazing experiences!

hunter-woodhall-2 hunter-woodhall-4

“They told me I would never walk, so I learned to run instead.”


Written by Hunter Woodhall  imgres

Featured Article: Run for MS

After starting our Runners Gone Wild movement, we are truly inspired by some of our fellow runners. Please support Gertjan Verdickt in his journey to support finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

img_20161005_090426My name is Gertjan Verdickt. I am a Belgian runner and this September I launched the charity fundraiser, “Run for MS.” This project entails a year-long  journey in favor of Multiple Sclerosis. This year, I will participate in 12 competitions and train approximately 150 times. The final destination of this journey: the Antarctica Ice Marathon on November 24 2017.

Why MS? The reason behind this fundraiser is two-fold. First, the primary goal of the MS fundraiser is, of course, to raise as much money as possible for MS. Money donations will help fund scientific research for a cure as well as psychological and social aid for MS patients.

In the USA there are 400000 people who have been diagnosed with MS. In Belgium alone, there are 11,000 people who suffer from MS. MS affects every patient differently; some people lose their mental capabilities, while others lose physical functioning. Right now, there is no cure for MS, let’s help find one.

Money donations will also help fund psychological and social support for MS patients. The stories I have witnessed showcase the immense challenge people who have MS face. Many patients develop great strength from battling with the unpredictable and chronic illness. My goal is to rally those of us blessed with sustained physical and mental health, and devote some of our good health toward fundraising for those who can’t.

The second goal is to raise awareness about the disease. Patients with MS face a daily, and lifelong challenge that resembles what I will encounter leading up to and during the marathon. The main difference is that my challenge has a cure, I run the race and it’s over. For people who have MS, their challenge is life-long. It is a struggle that I have witnessed and a struggle I hope to help make easier through these efforts. During this journey, I will train with patients in order to keep them as fit as possible for as long as they are able. The goal is to run for those who can’t, and with those who can.


Click here to donate!

Where do donations go? All donations go directly to the national charity organization, MS-Liga Vlaanderen. Donations will be made in two rounds. The first donation will take place in December 2016. The second and final donation will take place in December 2017.

Other ways to donate? Equipment, travel, and training costs for the Run for MS Fundraiser will be sponsored by the generosity of various sporting shops and businesses. Companies can also support this cause through their social network (Facebook, Twitter, newsletters), through equipment donations, or through financial support. This project is not just about money, it is about giving what you can back to a cause that needs support.

MS patients and I thank you for your time. We thank you for every dollar that is donated and every person you share this with. You have helped get closer to achieving three important goals concerning MS: finding a cure, social and psychological support, and raising awareness about the disease.

Written by Gertjan Verdickt

Top 5 Mens Running Shoes in 2016

1| ASICS Gel-Venture 4: ASICS does it again with a trail running shoe that provides both support and stability for your trail running needs.
Fit: true to size, can run a bit narrow.
Cost: Approx $80

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2| New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V2: New Balance provides this stylish lightweight running shoe that supports various types of runners. The heel is built to last and allows your feet to breathe nicely.
Fit: true to size, can run a bit narrow.
Cost: Approx $100

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Photo courtesy of

3| Puma Speed 300 Ignite: A lightweight shoe that has proven to be extremely comfortable due to Puma’s lightweight foam mid-sole and molded sockliner.
Fit: runs 1/2 size larger
Cost: Approx $95.

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Photo courtesy of

4| Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32: An extremely comfortable run with superior Nike quality. The breathable fabric lining allows your feet to glide swiftly as you run.
Fit: runs 1/2 size smaller
Cost: Approx. $90

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

5| ASICS Gel Nimbus 17: Another ASICS? That’s how much we love ’em! Ankle and knee support is key to a good running shoe and this one provides both. It feels like you are running on cushions and who doesn’t want to run on a good cushion?
Fit: true to size
Cost: Approx $120

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Feature Your Instagram Account

Send us the best pictures of you running wild, showing off your racing medals, having fun with your running partners, or just of yourself enjoying a nice run!

Please submit below using your name, email, & a comment with your Instagram account name. We will contact you via email to submit your running photos.
(Example: Runner Name,, @runnername)

Now let’s Run Wild!



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