Today we are profiling Jeremy Skillings, who is a terrific member of the Charity Miles community.  Check out his story below!
*****
I was never much of a runner.  If I’m being completely honest, I was usually the guy in the back of the pack, even while simply doing a lap around the field during football practice.  Once I met my wife, who is a runner, I began running as well.  I wasn’t doing anything major, rather I was just trying to work my way up to a 5K. 
Having grown up in a small town close to the world famous “Camptown Races” in Camptown, PA, I was familiar with the positivity and community that comes with running.  My grandfather actually ran and organized these races for a number of years, but for me personally, I never fully embraced it until my later years, when team sports became harder to come by.  
My wonderful wife inspired me to start running 5K’s here and there and even worked my way up to a half marathon.  I had a rough couple of years where I was diagnosed with parathyroid cancer. Fortunately I had successful surgery and came out on top, but during those years I had a lot of time for personal reflection. During that time I started setting my sights on marathon running. 
Despite never having lots of money, I have always been a fan of charity events.  My wife and I both have certain charities that are particularly close to our hearts. I was affiliated with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a period of time.  I also support Liberty in North Korea, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation, because I think both of these organizations are doing some really great things. My wife is a supporter and volunteer with the ASPCA, and we even raised money for them when we ran the NYC marathon this past year. 
I was first introduced to Charity Miles by my mother, and took to it right away. As a small business owner, I don’t have a lot of time for side projects, but one thing I have always wanted to do was use technology to better support good charities. So naturally, I thought the app was brilliant from the first time I used it.  I love how all you have to do is push a button and it allows you to add real meaning to not only runs and races that you were already doing, but it also helps promote a healthier lifestyle overall.  
I think it is great what Charity Miles offers. I tend to mix which charity I run for based on who I may be running with or what the event is.  As I mentioned earlier, my wife volunteers for the ASPCA, so I will often pick that when I run with her.  My best friend from high school joined the Army right after 9/11, and has been deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For that reason, I have been able to see everything our brave soldiers go though, and will often run for Wounded Warrior Project because of that connection. When I am struggling with one of those tough runs, regardless of how long or short it might be, it actually adds to my motivation to make sure I finish and get that extra little bit of money for whichever charity I’m running for that day.
Running has been one of the greatest things that has happened to me.  The running group that helps me through my long runs on the weekends is a great example of how powerful the running community can really be  Everyone truly supports each other with their individual races and goals.  I would never have finished my first marathon without the great group of ladies (my wife’s friends) that let me join them each week on these long runs. I am forever grateful to my wonderful wife to bringing running into my life.  It keeps me healthy and motivated, and I thank Charity Miles for allowing me to take that passion and help change the world for the better. 
- Jeremy Skillings

Today we are profiling Jeremy Skillings, who is a terrific member of the Charity Miles community.  Check out his story below!

*****

I was never much of a runner.  If I’m being completely honest, I was usually the guy in the back of the pack, even while simply doing a lap around the field during football practice.  Once I met my wife, who is a runner, I began running as well.  I wasn’t doing anything major, rather I was just trying to work my way up to a 5K. 

Having grown up in a small town close to the world famous “Camptown Races” in Camptown, PA, I was familiar with the positivity and community that comes with running.  My grandfather actually ran and organized these races for a number of years, but for me personally, I never fully embraced it until my later years, when team sports became harder to come by.  

My wonderful wife inspired me to start running 5K’s here and there and even worked my way up to a half marathon.  I had a rough couple of years where I was diagnosed with parathyroid cancer. Fortunately I had successful surgery and came out on top, but during those years I had a lot of time for personal reflection. During that time I started setting my sights on marathon running. 

Despite never having lots of money, I have always been a fan of charity events.  My wife and I both have certain charities that are particularly close to our hearts. I was affiliated with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for a period of time.  I also support Liberty in North Korea, and the Mario Lemieux Foundation, because I think both of these organizations are doing some really great things. My wife is a supporter and volunteer with the ASPCA, and we even raised money for them when we ran the NYC marathon this past year. 

I was first introduced to Charity Miles by my mother, and took to it right away. As a small business owner, I don’t have a lot of time for side projects, but one thing I have always wanted to do was use technology to better support good charities. So naturally, I thought the app was brilliant from the first time I used it.  I love how all you have to do is push a button and it allows you to add real meaning to not only runs and races that you were already doing, but it also helps promote a healthier lifestyle overall.  

I think it is great what Charity Miles offers. I tend to mix which charity I run for based on who I may be running with or what the event is.  As I mentioned earlier, my wife volunteers for the ASPCA, so I will often pick that when I run with her.  My best friend from high school joined the Army right after 9/11, and has been deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For that reason, I have been able to see everything our brave soldiers go though, and will often run for Wounded Warrior Project because of that connection. When I am struggling with one of those tough runs, regardless of how long or short it might be, it actually adds to my motivation to make sure I finish and get that extra little bit of money for whichever charity I’m running for that day.

Running has been one of the greatest things that has happened to me.  The running group that helps me through my long runs on the weekends is a great example of how powerful the running community can really be  Everyone truly supports each other with their individual races and goals.  I would never have finished my first marathon without the great group of ladies (my wife’s friends) that let me join them each week on these long runs. I am forever grateful to my wonderful wife to bringing running into my life.  It keeps me healthy and motivated, and I thank Charity Miles for allowing me to take that passion and help change the world for the better. 

- Jeremy Skillings

A great piece from Charity Miles All Star, Matt Mitchell, about building community.  Team, this is what Charity Miles is all about! Thanks, Matt…
*****
My name is Matt. I’m from Vancouver, Canada. My father had Parkinson’s disease. Since his passing in 2010, I have run 5 marathons for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and been a champion for their pioneering efforts to end this disease.
In August of 2012, I moved to Helsinki, Finland to conduct research on the power that individuals have to drive social change through new media. I’m particularly interested in how people build online communities, create lasting and deep connections through technology and use these communities to effect social change. And while I am studying these topics academically, I am also experiencing them personally.  My research project reflects my own deepest passions.
Running is often a solitary sport, particularly endurance running when I’m spending hours along remote paths with only my thoughts to keep me company and particularly in Finland where those beautiful paths are thousands of miles from my home and friends.
But now more than ever, wherever I am, I can connect with kindred spirits. Through social media, and apps like Charity Miles, I have become part of an amazing, borderless community of people like me who use their running to effect and inspire social change.  By simply sharing my passion, I find it from others, runners and champions, from all corners of the world, from Mt Hood, Oregon to Louisville, KY, to London, UK, there is no end to the daily inspiration my connections provide me with.  Their stories give me strength, help build my resolve.  We motivate one another to take on new challenges, to reach for new goals, and to continue to champion our cause.  This community, initially built exclusively through the online world has become my family.
Social media has also deepened some of the strongest relationships in my life.  This past November a group of friends and I ran in the NYC marathon for Team Fox, some running in their first ever marathon, some running despite having Parkinson’s themselves. In the months leading up to the race, we were able to support and encourage one another through the most difficult parts of training and celebrate in the small wins along the way.  When we couldn’t run together, we stayed in tune through updates via Charity Miles and social media.  Training for a marathon is no small feat whether it is your first or your fifth, there simply is no substitute for the work.  Long miles, early mornings, cold, solitary, painful.  Mix these things in with the fear of attempting to run faster or farther than you have before is daunting, even overwhelming.    On November 3rd we each had the run of our lives, in part because the journey to get there was so fulfilling.
Seeing the efforts of others, pulling in the same direction reminds you of what you are a part of, what your miles mean.  They have never meant more, each time they are shared a contribution is made literally and symbolically. Each run comes with a new potential for connection.  Having a community with me along the way has made possible all that I’ve accomplished and has made me believe so much more can and will be done together in the future.
 - Matthew Mitchell // @hamiltonguevara
  High-res

A great piece from Charity Miles All Star, Matt Mitchell, about building community.  Team, this is what Charity Miles is all about! Thanks, Matt…

*****

My name is Matt. I’m from Vancouver, Canada. My father had Parkinson’s disease. Since his passing in 2010, I have run 5 marathons for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and been a champion for their pioneering efforts to end this disease.

In August of 2012, I moved to Helsinki, Finland to conduct research on the power that individuals have to drive social change through new media. I’m particularly interested in how people build online communities, create lasting and deep connections through technology and use these communities to effect social change. And while I am studying these topics academically, I am also experiencing them personally.  My research project reflects my own deepest passions.

Running is often a solitary sport, particularly endurance running when I’m spending hours along remote paths with only my thoughts to keep me company and particularly in Finland where those beautiful paths are thousands of miles from my home and friends.

But now more than ever, wherever I am, I can connect with kindred spirits. Through social media, and apps like Charity Miles, I have become part of an amazing, borderless community of people like me who use their running to effect and inspire social change.  By simply sharing my passion, I find it from others, runners and champions, from all corners of the world, from Mt Hood, Oregon to Louisville, KY, to London, UK, there is no end to the daily inspiration my connections provide me with.  Their stories give me strength, help build my resolve.  We motivate one another to take on new challenges, to reach for new goals, and to continue to champion our cause.  This community, initially built exclusively through the online world has become my family.

Social media has also deepened some of the strongest relationships in my life.  This past November a group of friends and I ran in the NYC marathon for Team Fox, some running in their first ever marathon, some running despite having Parkinson’s themselves. In the months leading up to the race, we were able to support and encourage one another through the most difficult parts of training and celebrate in the small wins along the way.  When we couldn’t run together, we stayed in tune through updates via Charity Miles and social media.  Training for a marathon is no small feat whether it is your first or your fifth, there simply is no substitute for the work.  Long miles, early mornings, cold, solitary, painful.  Mix these things in with the fear of attempting to run faster or farther than you have before is daunting, even overwhelming.    On November 3rd we each had the run of our lives, in part because the journey to get there was so fulfilling.

Seeing the efforts of others, pulling in the same direction reminds you of what you are a part of, what your miles mean.  They have never meant more, each time they are shared a contribution is made literally and symbolically. Each run comes with a new potential for connection.  Having a community with me along the way has made possible all that I’ve accomplished and has made me believe so much more can and will be done together in the future.

 - Matthew Mitchell // @hamiltonguevara

 

Charity Miles All Star, Ryan Light suffered most of his life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic and anxiety. Then he found running.
One weekend, a friend asked Ryan to pace him through an 18-mile run, by riding along on his bike. “After seeing him accomplish this feat, and how he looked and felt, I made up my mind that I was going to try this running thing. And I’m glad I did. Running saved my life— literally.”
It’s now been three years since he took his first run. And he hasn’t looked back.  He has now run over 20 half marathons, one full marathon and countless other races.  
And, of course, we’re proud to have him on Team Charity Miles. Keep up the great work, Ryan! #EveryMileMatters! High-res

Charity Miles All Star, Ryan Light suffered most of his life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic and anxiety. Then he found running.

One weekend, a friend asked Ryan to pace him through an 18-mile run, by riding along on his bike. “After seeing him accomplish this feat, and how he looked and felt, I made up my mind that I was going to try this running thing. And I’m glad I did. Running saved my life— literally.”

It’s now been three years since he took his first run. And he hasn’t looked back.  He has now run over 20 half marathons, one full marathon and countless other races.  

And, of course, we’re proud to have him on Team Charity Miles. Keep up the great work, Ryan! #EveryMileMatters!

Just got an awesome email from Cera Boatwright.  Made my day: 

My name is Cera and I’m a nursing major. I recently moved close enough to my college campus to ride my bike to school. I heard about this app on iPhone and figured I would give it a try. I used to be the philanthropy chairwoman for DeltaZeta on campus, so I love giving back and helping people. I saw all of the awesome charities available, and choose a new one each time I ride. I’ve also spread the word to my sorority sisters and friends (since it’s workout season with spring break coming up), so hopefully it’ll spread all around campus!

Thanks, Cera! Keep up the great work. You’ve got a Charity Miles T-Shirt coming your way. #EveryMileMatters! High-res

Just got an awesome email from Cera Boatwright.  Made my day: 

My name is Cera and I’m a nursing major. I recently moved close enough to my college campus to ride my bike to school. I heard about this app on iPhone and figured I would give it a try. I used to be the philanthropy chairwoman for DeltaZeta on campus, so I love giving back and helping people. I saw all of the awesome charities available, and choose a new one each time I ride. I’ve also spread the word to my sorority sisters and friends (since it’s workout season with spring break coming up), so hopefully it’ll spread all around campus!

Thanks, Cera! Keep up the great work. You’ve got a Charity Miles T-Shirt coming your way. #EveryMileMatters!

Neo is The One!
Neo was featured in a blog post a few month ago.  He is now only weeks away from the 999K run, where he be running from North Thailand down to his home on the east coast of Thailand.
Who is the run preparation going?
After running marathon,  I had a number of running-related injuries.  After having so many, I think I think I am in a better position to avoid more in the future. I have been on a learning curve. My advice to everyone is to stretch, stretch and stretch some more.
Did you aim too high?
I just started running a year and a half ago. If you look at my Charity Miles app, I have probably done more miles than many people will do in their lives. My body seems to have gotten adjusted in a short time.  Sometimes, my body might think I have aimed too high, but not my running heart.
Have you improved your running? 
The love for running is in my heart and not in my legs. I know when to slow down now, and I know how to not get injured.  For me, running 10K in a day is about normal or sometimes too short.   Only when I come up to 20K do I feel that I have actually been out running. When my 999K run starts, I might even run longer if the feeling is right and feels like I am not risking getting injured. I will take it slow in the first few days to feel the new road and new conditions After that, I will try running more than the 33.3K per day if possible. So I would say, yes my style of running is better and my mind is calmer. I know I have to refuel and slow down when the pain comes. 
How do you stay motivated?
When you run the same track over and over, mental boredom is more of a problem than any hurt your in my legs. So normally when I run, I play with the stray dogs in the park. I will stop a moment say hello to them, and sometimes they run along with me for a few hundred meters. This creates a break.  Then, I am off to a new lap until I meet a few other dogs. When I am out on the 999K run, I don’t think staying motivated will not be a problem. There will be new landscapes all the time, and I will get a lot of energy from the changing landscape.  I found the same energy when I ran a marathon with my best time ever.
Tell us something fun about your running?
I  have this weird obsession of running in the dark. I do not know why I like it but I do. The moon and the stars act as guiding lights, letting you see enough to keep you on track. Many times I keep running until 11PM, and it is only when my water runs that I go home. When you look up on the sky there all these lights looking back on me and I just feel amazing running under them. It gives me a different level of energy than running under the sun. For the record, my night vision is pretty amazing and my friends think I was an elf in my past life due to my eyes and my pointy ears.
Where can we follow your run?
Charity Miles have kindly allowed me to post this pre-run blog post . Also, I will write during my run, and show some amazing running pictures from unseen Thailand. So subscribe to the Charity Miles if you have not done so already. 
You can follow my run on Facebook and the actual blog for the run, and Twitter (hashtag #999km). High-res

Neo is The One!

Neo was featured in a blog post a few month ago.  He is now only weeks away from the 999K run, where he be running from North Thailand down to his home on the east coast of Thailand.

Who is the run preparation going?

After running marathon,  I had a number of running-related injuries.  After having so many, I think I think I am in a better position to avoid more in the future. I have been on a learning curve. My advice to everyone is to stretch, stretch and stretch some more.

Did you aim too high?

I just started running a year and a half ago. If you look at my Charity Miles app, I have probably done more miles than many people will do in their lives. My body seems to have gotten adjusted in a short time.  Sometimes, my body might think I have aimed too high, but not my running heart.

Have you improved your running? 

The love for running is in my heart and not in my legs. I know when to slow down now, and I know how to not get injured.  For me, running 10K in a day is about normal or sometimes too short.   Only when I come up to 20K do I feel that I have actually been out running. When my 999K run starts, I might even run longer if the feeling is right and feels like I am not risking getting injured. I will take it slow in the first few days to feel the new road and new conditions After that, I will try running more than the 33.3K per day if possible. So I would say, yes my style of running is better and my mind is calmer. I know I have to refuel and slow down when the pain comes. 

How do you stay motivated?

When you run the same track over and over, mental boredom is more of a problem than any hurt your in my legs. So normally when I run, I play with the stray dogs in the park. I will stop a moment say hello to them, and sometimes they run along with me for a few hundred meters. This creates a break.  Then, I am off to a new lap until I meet a few other dogs. When I am out on the 999K run, I don’t think staying motivated will not be a problem. There will be new landscapes all the time, and I will get a lot of energy from the changing landscape.  I found the same energy when I ran a marathon with my best time ever.

Tell us something fun about your running?

I  have this weird obsession of running in the dark. I do not know why I like it but I do. The moon and the stars act as guiding lights, letting you see enough to keep you on track. Many times I keep running until 11PM, and it is only when my water runs that I go home. When you look up on the sky there all these lights looking back on me and I just feel amazing running under them. It gives me a different level of energy than running under the sun. For the record, my night vision is pretty amazing and my friends think I was an elf in my past life due to my eyes and my pointy ears.

Where can we follow your run?

Charity Miles have kindly allowed me to post this pre-run blog post . Also, I will write during my run, and show some amazing running pictures from unseen Thailand. So subscribe to the Charity Miles if you have not done so already. 

You can follow my run on Facebook and the actual blog for the run, and Twitter (hashtag #999km).