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    Building Better Humans

    At LALO, we are proud and honored to have partners all over the world. Australia's own Scott Evennett is one of the those. We are pleased to introduce you to Scott; fitness and lifestyle expert, founder of Team Evennett, an online training platform, and owner of Commando Tough Training Centre, a military inspired gym and training facility located in Caringbah, Sutherland Shire, Australia. Scott is an exemplary human being who epitomizes the definition of a tactical athlete and truly bridges the gap between operator and athlete. We are honored to have him as a member of the LALO Team!
    "As a former Operator, I am well aware of the importance of teamwork. So when an opportunity to partner with a growing brand like LALO Tactical comes along, it’s a game changer. Collectively, we live and breathe by the same set of rules and a rock solid ethos. We honour those who choose a path of purpose, a path of hard work, grit and determination. This is absolutely, a win, win," said Evennett.

    Evennett has always been active; at age 6 he trained and participated in competitive gymnastics which helped him develop a strong, balanced, and flexible foundation. At age 16, he moved from Sydney to the United Kingdom to pursue a professional soccer career. Scott played for Port Talbot (Welsh Premier League) and Swansea City Juniors (English Second Division). This allowed him to develop power, speed, agility and the fundamental skills needed for the fast-paced game.

    After his return to Australia, Scott joined the Australian military forces. There, he spent five of his eight years of service within the Special Operations Command. After three tours to Afghanistan and one tour to East Timor, he gained extensive knowledge of special operations in counter terrorism and counter insurgency. He then turned the mastery he acquired during his military career toward training programs within the health and fitness environment.

    As owner of Commando Tough Training Centre and in his role as a life success coach, Scott works zealously to shape the bodies and minds of his clientele. Attention to dietary programs and intensive training regimes guarantee physical prowess. Equally crucial is the mental empowerment he offers. It is pivotal to Scott that his clients gain clarity of mind, a razor sharp mental focus and, most importantly a true coherence of their inner and outer achievements. Across an expansive career - as commando, bodybuilder, entrepreneur and motivational specialist - Scott's strategy combines training, nutrition, diligence and perseverance. Ultimately, the message Evennett wishes to impart is: our personal best is the very least we should expect.

    Below we have provided some interesting insights into Scott’s life. Along with questions about Scott’s workout and training philosophies, we decided to pose a few informal inquiries to help our audience get to know him a little better. Enjoy!

    LALO:  Did you grow up in the City or on a Farm?
    SE:  Neither really, my parents chose to live on the central coast. A place called Wamberal. On the beach about 1.5 hours north of Sydney. It was a sports heavy community. Very healthy.

    LALO: Siblings? And are you the oldest or youngest?
    SE: I'm the youngest out of the two of us. My sister Kate has four years on me. But I play the “older brother” role.

    LALO: Tam – where did you first meet your wife?
    SE: Tam and I aren't married yet, however, we met at the first gym I owned. Tam had booked in for one of our 6-hour Commando Tough challenges. And she crushed it. So naturally, I just had to have her.

    LALO: When did you first know you wanted to be an Operator?
    SE: Well, I have always had an interest in shooting and being outdoors. Dad would take me on shooting trips, camping and endurance motocross rides on the farm as a youngster. Mixed with my sporting background that began at the ripe age of 4. All the right ingredients were in the pot. The catalyst for making the commitment to Special Forces came at the end of my professional soccer career. An itch I had to scratch you would say. “Human Performance” how far can we go? I absolutely loved training the house down and pushing the limits. I could see the military life would provide that for me. Add a pinch of the cool factor and you have some serious motivation to go Operator.

    LALO: Military service a family profession or a calling?
    SE: A calling to accept the challenge.

    LALO:  Which was worse - first deployment or the last one?
    SE: I don’t view any of my Special Ops deployments as a negative. Call it an action to preserve good mental health, or just my view on the world. I have already made all the bad shit that happened well in my mind. Lessons learned on the battlefield change you forever. If I was to answer your question directly, however, I would have to say the first deployment over the last. There were a lot of “firsts” on trip number one. So, I'd say you come back with big personal changes and world views that can have a permanent negative effect.
    LALO:  Nickname?
    SE: Scotty is the most commonly used name these days. But in the unit, I was called “Evo”. You know us Aussies love to shorten names.

    LALO: Your specialty as an Operator?
    SE: Due to the size of the Australian Special Forces units, the operators within them have a very broad range of skill sets and qualifications. Each Australian Commando must be proficient and qualified in all methods of insertion. Air, land, and sea. Domestic counterterrorism and operational deployments abroad. If we are breaking down each position of our six man teams. I have played the role of the gunner (heavy weapons), medic and 2IC. On the Tactical Assault Group East (TAG) rotation I was the fast driver.

    LALO:  Anything that you remember as being a positive experience in the sandbox?
    SE: The better part of the Afghan culture is very peaceful. I loved the farming community and the land. Afghanistan is a very beautiful place. If the bullets weren’t singing overhead it was very easy to just close your eyes and breath in the fresh air from the top of the mountain ranges. I managed to see a lot of the countryside from the back or sides of the Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters.

    LALO: Exiting the military, what was the thought process on what to do next?
    SE: I was charged and super excited to start the next chapter. My thought process was a vision to pursue human development. Using my Special Operations heritage and proven systems to create a lifestyle brand that in short. "Builds better humans”. My two business’s Commando Tough and Evennett defiantly do that.

    LALO:  Did you go through a transition program?
    SE: I followed the Evennett transition program. Sink or swim. Into the deep end and give yourself no option but to succeed. The Australian Army doesn't provide much of a program for exiting members.

    LALO: Which was harder – Basic training, SOF selection, or starting your own brand and running your own business?
    SE:  SOF selection was definitely harder. Not just physically but mentally. And I’m thankful for it. The lessons on emotional response, resiliency, toughness, leadership, mission planning, teamwork and much more have helped me build multiple successful businesses. The average hours are longer within your own business when you're as hungry as I am. But it's all within this beautiful country we call Australia.

    LALO: How is the work-life balance now?
    SE: Work is life and life are work. They are one and the same. A beautiful combination that goes with the grain. You know you're doing what you love when you have “a break” and end up doing the same things on your holidays.

    LALO: Biggest challenge starting your business?
    SE: Employing like-minded individuals that create that killer environment and healthy work space. Finding those individuals who are ready to ride it out with you.

    LALO:  What’s the most satisfying part of your day at work?
    SE: We have an awesome Team here at Evennett so working and training with the crew is always a highlight of the day. For me, my workplace is also my training grounds. I have a training facility called Commando Tough. A converted shed split into two levels. Full combat and cardio upstairs and all things functional downstairs. The ultimate oversized man cave. Complete with office space.

    LALO: You have a successful training business, but the checks we write in our twenties and thirties we cash in our forties and fifties. What’s next for the Evennett Brand?
    SE: The same thing we do every day... Try and take over the world.

    LALO: Is it about the process or the results for you?
    SE: That's a really cool question. Because for the Evennett team it’s the same thing. As professional mentors, we constantly deliver the best strategies, knowledge, and information that will enhance and change people's lives for the better. In the process of doing this, we have surrounded ourselves with constant reminders and reinforced messages. We live and breathe the positive environment of good mental and physical health.

    LALO: What do you do that drives your team crazy?
    SE: Well, I've just asked the office what they think. And the best thing that they could come up with was about some filing and admin. Haha, so I guess I’m like a lot of high-speed operators. Typical male. (From Tam)

    LALO: Sleep – do you get any?
    SE: My sleep pattern is defiantly broken. Up at midnight each night and again at 3 or 4 am, but always have the company of my two sausage dogs (I think you call them Weiner dogs over there) for a snack out of the fridge. Training hard in the evening helps me to find that deep REM sleep.

    LALO: Favorite Ride?
    SE:  My Custom Harley-Davidson Breakout

    LALO: Dream Car / Bike?
    SE:  Liberty Walk Lamborghini Huracan

    LALO: Next Vacation?
    SE: U.S.A to visit the LALO crew.

    We are thrilled for the opportunities to come from this partnership! Stay tuned for training programs, workout motivation and more from Scott and LALO.

    To learn more information about Team Evennett and Scott Evennet himself, go to www.evennett.com.au, or follow him on Instagram at @scottevennett.



    No BS, No Excuses, Just Hard Work

    “NO BULL SHIT, NO EXCUSES, JUST HARD WORK.” Great motto, right? Yeah, we agree. That is just one of the many reasons we want to introduce you to our gym affiliate, The Garage Gym.

    The Garage Gym is based out of Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, and was built by a community of like-minded individuals from the ground up.

    Tony and Dani Smith, founders of The Garage Gym as well as husband and wife, share many years of experience training individuals in and out of the gym. Tony, a self proclaimed gym rat was hooked from the moment a friend’s father taught him basic weightlifting movements and allowed him to use his basement gym. “You could find me in the Villanova weight room, various “Globo style” gyms throughout the city, or in the dingy weight room of the old Ako Fratmen clubhouse, where I played football for the ’99 National Champs.  I quickly realized that the stronger and faster I got the better I was performing, and that training with a small group of goal orientated people pushed me so much farther than I could ever go on my own.”

    Tony has also spent the last 10 years of his life as a SWAT team member. “In that line of work, fitness has to be part of your life, failure simply can never happen,” said Tony.  In 2008, Tony was honored by his peers to be selected as their Team Leader.  It was his responsibility to ensure that these men were always in peak condition in order to execute their duties and get home safely to their families.  “The only way to lead  is by constantly being the example.  I made sure that I always put forth maximum effort in the gym, and was constantly coming up with new ways to keep them motivated, fit and unified.”

    Dani’s fitness and nutrition knowledge comes from real life experience and trial and error.  She is certified in group fitness training, is a certified GYM JONES instructor and is set to complete her certification as a weight loss and nutrition specialist. Dani and Tony are also the parents of two young sons - a heck of a job in itself. Tony and Dani’s passion is contagious.  They are always searching to become more knowledgeable, are highly motivated and most of all, have real life experience.

    Tony, Dani and the crew at The Garage Gym were trained and taught by one of the most hardcore gyms in the world, managed by our very own Bobby Maximus; Gym Jones, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They train functional fitness for real life strength, with programs custom suited to fitness levels and goals. Their focus is entirely on the clients, no one gets lost in group classes.

    An important aspect that makes The Garage Gym different, is their belief that the mind can push the body well past perceived limits, just as our Special Operation and NSW operators believe. Individuals with this mindset don’t understand the word, “quit”. We at LALO couldn’t be happier to have an affiliate with this likeminded mantra. Take a deeper look into the Garage Gym’s operation below. 

    LALO: What is the most inspirational thing you have seen in your gym?
    Garage Gym: We have a member that trains privately with us three times a week, her name is Trish. She is a perfectionist and is extremely self-motivated. She came to us after suffering two very difficult loses in her life that caused her to put herself aside to care for others. In only 6 months, she has managed to dramatically increase her stamina and endurance as well as lose nearly 50 pounds. Through changing her eating habits and throwing herself into a fit way of life, she has made leaps and bounds already. Best of all, she has a huge heart and cares greatly for others. In November, we challenged the members of The Garage Gym to accumulate as many row meters as possible for the month, whether they rowed in warm up, during their workout or on their own time. Members were divided into teams and the winning team was promised a prize. Trish was placed onto a team and completed her row meters at the gym and at home on a Concept Two rowing machine that she received from her neighbor who never used it. At the end of the month, Trish’s total was 450,000m! That works out to be 15,000m per day! She made a promise to herself and never made excuses, sometimes rowing at 10pm in the evening after a long day working. Trish continues to impress us with her dedication, improvement and most of all her friendly and kind nature, we are very fortunate to have Trish in our lives.

    LALO: Do you have someone who meets or exceeds your standard on a consistent basis?
    Garage Gym: Our only standard is consistent effort coupled with a good positive attitude. Almost all our clients bring it daily, and support the people next to them. We do have a few stand out members that are always competing with themselves and expect the most out of their efforts day in and day out but we are very proud of our members and their constant kindness and dedication.

    LALO: What is your favorite thing about being a trainer or gym owner?
    Garage Gym: We are so proud watching how a person transforms themselves into someone who walks with confidence, changes their mindset to demonstrate the no quit mentality and their new-found ability to attack obstacles rather than fear them. It is so amazing to see a group of individuals that come from all walks of life interact with each other with kindness and support.

    LALO: Is there anything that you do for your town or community that you are exceptionally proud of?
    Garage Gym: We are very proud to be very involved with first responders, providing them with not only the physical tools to tackle their demanding jobs, but the mental toughness necessary to care for themselves and the people they serve. We also love to host leadership camps to mentor kids in the community to be better people in all aspects of their lives and to really consider being healthy as being a very important component of being successful as they mature.

    LALO: What can we do collectively to motivate youth?
    Garage Gym: We find the best way to motivate youth is to put them in groups/teams and to give them individual responsibility, pointing out what each must offer. Every player on the team has an important role and teaching the young members of society how to best participate collectively seems to make their confidence and personal abilities shine through, in turn motivating them to give their best effort.

    LALO: If you could give one piece of advice to other gym owners or someone looking to open their own gym, what would it be?
    Garage Gym: Give everything. Put yourself out there every day, struggle beside them, lead from within.

    LALO: Showing up to a gym is intimidating for a lot of people. How do you like to break down that barrier?
    Garage Gym: We like to immediately pair them with another member that was the same way when they first started. Seeing someone who reminds them of themselves and how they would like to see themselves is very motivating. Hearing another member say, “Don’t worry, I couldn’t do that either” or “I felt like that too” makes the barrier seem not quite as tall.

    LALO: Do you have anything else you would like to share with us?
    Garage Gym: We feel so fortunate to be able to share our passion with so many great people in our community and we love helping others to obtain goals that they never thought possible. There is only positivity within our walls and we expect nothing less.

    Learn more about The Garage Gym >>>

    Instagram: Follow @thegaragegym_



    31 Marathons in 31 Days

    We are extremely excited to introduce you to a one-of-a-kind human; his name is Rob Jones, Marine Veteran, double amputee, philanthropist, and all around badass. His story starts on his second deployment in Afghanistan in 2010; he was tasked with clearing an area with a high likelihood of containing an IED. It was during this, that he was wounded in action by a land mine; resulting in a left knee disarticulation and a right above knee amputation of both legs.

    With time and struggle, Rob re-learned to how to walk, cycle, run and row with prosthetics legs. Always eager to challenge himself, he decided to train for the 2012 Paralympics for a rowing spot. After winning multiple prestigious regattas, he and his partner earned a spot in the Paralympics taking home the bronze medal.

    In 2013, Rob decided to ride his bicycle solo across America, starting in Bar Harbor, Maine, and ending in Camp Pendleton, California. He completed the 5,180 miles 181 days after he began, while raising $126,000 for the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, the injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, and Ride 2 recovery, three charities which aid wounded veterans.

    This Fall, Rob Jones will set out to complete a Month of Marathons across the United States, with one stop in London. That’s 26.2 miles every day for 31 consecutive days, not to mention traveling to a different city every day. Impressive right? Well, he also wants to raise 1,000,000 dollars for Veteran organizations along the way. We told you he was a badass.

    LALO is excited to help Rob push himself further than he has ever before, and achieve his goals. We will be keeping you updated on his Journey from start to finish. If you are interested in learning more about the cause, visit robjonesjourney.com

    Below we have shared some Q&A with Rob for your enjoyment. Take a look into Rob’s amazing life.

    LALO: Why do you believe mental and physical improvement can be obtained through struggle?
    RJ: Improvement is a response to a stressor.  From a physical perspective, it is the SAID principle.  Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  The principle applies to the mental aspects of improvement as well.  If a person’s body or mind is never challenged, then it has no reason to change itself in any way, and will not use its resources to do so.  If a person does challenge their body or mind, however, after rising to the challenge, the body or mind will improve itself to the point that it will be able to handle that specific challenge in the future more easily.  Thus, the only way to improve yourself is to challenge yourself.  And the ways in which we can challenge ourselves is limited only by our imagination.  It does not only have to be via physical exercise, but by mental exercise, or both at the same time.  Or by trying new things, or by purposefully placing ourselves in situations that scare us, or by cutting our safety nets and forcing ourselves to accomplish something due to necessity.

    LALO: What is an average day for Rob Jones?
    RJ: An average day for me consists of training for my upcoming marathon challenge, and doing what I need to recover from the training.  It also involves both reading and writing about subjects concerning veterans, and self-improvement, so that I can better be a representative of what veterans, and people in general can be.  Today I woke at 6:30, ran for 2 hours, ate breakfast, read a chapter in Warriors and Citizens by James Mattis, and wrote a few thoughts on my recovery, and some of the aspects that were beneficial and negative.  I will eat dinner around 5:30, and will be in bed by 7:30.  There I will read until 9:30, and will go to sleep.

    LALO: What is your favorite workout or way to train?
    RJ: Even though I am training to run 812 miles in a month, my favorite way to train is to lift weights.  I enjoy how easy it is to see improvements, and the variety of ways that I can challenge myself.  I enjoy running as well, but it can tend to get monotonous at times.

    LALO: How do you stay motivated throughout your training?
    RJ: Motivation for me stems from desire, and long term vision.  I have certain objectives that I truly want to accomplish, and they are many months away.  What keeps me doing my training even when I don’t really feel like it is the fact that I WANT to accomplish my goals.  Without the desire to complete what I’ve set out to do, it is very easy to find an excuse.  While I do not always want to run today, I know that running today will put me closer to accomplishing my goal, and so the path is clear.

    LALO: What is something an average person doesn’t think about when it comes to being a double amputee?
    RJ: I can only speculate on what the average person does and does not think about, however, one of the less obvious visual aspects of being myself is the amount of setup required to do what I do.  People in my daily life will see me in the grocery store or out running and may believe that I simply got up and did them.  However, in order to walk or run, I must prepare my stumps with liners, lubrication, ply socks to make my sockets fit better, and the sockets themselves being donned in a comfortable position in order to even leave the house.

    LALO: Why pick 31 marathons in 31 days?
    RJ: I selected the marathon distance because it is a distance that I have ran before, and I know that it is challenging to me.  The rest is mostly from practical considerations.  I couldn’t do much longer than a marathon, because then I wouldn’t have enough time to get to the next location.  I selected 31 days because it made sense to me to do a full month, and any more than that felt like it would be too long, and wouldn’t hold the public’s interest.

    To stay up to date with Rob’s Journey, follow us on Instagram @lalotactical, or like us on Facebook, where we will be continually updating you on Rob’s progress, from his training to each marathon!

    LALO has also designed a limited edition “Rob Jones Journey” Tech Tee for purchase soon at lalotactical.com Proceeds from sales will go towards Rob’s goal of 1 million dollars for veteran organizations.



    Not Your Average Athlete

    We have the pleasure of introducing you to one of our sponsored athletes, Megan Dovell. Megan competes in the sport of Skeleton racing. Obviously, her title of “skeleton athlete” is more bad ass than 99.9% of all other sports titles, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport of Skeleton racing, here is a little explanation: Skeleton racing is a winter sliding sport that involves an individual plummeting down an ice track reaching speeds of up to 80 mph. The athletes go head first on a sled that is no wider than an ironing board, pushing 5 g’s through the turns. What about steering or brakes, you wonder? Nope, none of that. The margin of error in this sport is incredibly small, and it takes an extensive amount of training to prepare. We are glad Megan is on our team! Here is a little insight to one extremely badass athlete:

    LALO: What is your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
    MD: This year I competed on a full racing circuit and was able to earn a world ranking. That might technically be my biggest accomplishment in the sport of skeleton. Although, I would say last year winning Western Regionals and getting an automatic invite to USA Team Trials was my biggest personal victory. I had to overcome an injury, deal with some financial stress, a death of a loved one, and loads of mental hurdles. To finish the season like that was very powerful for me. 

    LALO: What do you do in your training that is your key to success?
    MD: Understanding that it is equally a mental, physical, nutritional and an emotional effort. I can train hours and hours each day but if I am mentally stressed or feeling down it counteracts much of my physical training I put in. Training smart, getting proper nutrition, adequate rest, surrounding myself with positive people, and reading insightful books (several about mental toughness) are all key. Remembering to keep a positive balance is my key to success. 

    LALO: What is the best advice you were ever given?
    MD: I have an Olympic track and field friend that has been such a great mentor over the past three years. He has been there done that, has had the highest highest and lowest lows. Phenomenal human I'm blessed to know. Everything he says to me is gold. Haha. Few bits of advice he as given me were:
    - Acknowledge fear, doubts and situations
    - Control your environment
    - Make everyday your best practice day 

    LALO: What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?
    MD: Biggest challenge? I would say my entire adolescent hockey career. Being small, being a girl, living in the south  and playing boys ice hockey was very hard. Not only did I have to constantly prove myself I was good enough to play with the boys but I had to deal with ridicule from several types of people. Classmates, teammates, sometimes my own coaches, opposing players, opposing players parents... all had something to say about me playing hockey and often it was not supportive. To deal with that and still believe in my dream of playing college hockey was a challenge. I over came it by really believing in myself, having a true passion for the game, and appreciating those who did support me and accept me. 

    LALO: Who is your biggest hero/heros? Why?
    MD: Growing up I never really had any. I just wanted to be the best at whatever I did but never really knew who to mimic. Haha. Now, I would say my parents. They instilled a very strong work ethic since I was at a young age. Their love, support, providing me with so many more opportunities that they never had and the values they had ingrained in me, do make them heros in my book. Since my skeleton journey, I have been blessed to have been surrounded by so many great athletes and study/learn about even more. The ones that have had a struggle/had a "fall" and were able to make their way to the top I highly respect, admire and want to learn from. Then, if they on top of that are filled with humbleness, kindness, generosity, and share their wisdom- that makes them a hero in my book. Lincoln DeWitt, Steve Holcomb, John Daly, Katie Uhlaender, Justin Gatlin, the 1936 U.S. men's Olympic eight-oar rowing team, and of course the 1980 USA men's Olympic ice hockey team, are a few others to honorably mention. 

    LALO: Favorite hobbies outside the gym?
    MD: I enjoy scenic traveling, writing poetry, watching movies, adrenaline rush activities (I love going fast), hanging with animals and I want to start acting again too. 

    LALO: Favorite workout?
    MD: I really enjoy days where I have to pull a sled or push a prowler, then do some sprints after. I love that extra explosive feeling when I go back to a regular sprint. 

    LALO: What makes your different from other athletes?
    MD: There has never been a female skeleton athlete that was a former USA inline hockey, powerlifting and college ice hockey athlete. Also,  I often think in a perspective of how me being a 'great' athlete can benefit others. Athletes do have to be selfish in many ways to be successful. It was a hard thing for me to grasp because I do consider myself more of a giving person. Especially playing youth team sports and often being a captain. Anyway, the better athlete I become, the more I learn. I learn about physically training, mental toughness, adversity, I meet so many more people/make connections and more. I can help clients I personally train, I can help my family/friends, I can help network people for different opportunities and so on . It's actually a great thing. With my background and the way I approach being an athlete separates me from the rest. 

    LALO: How did you learn to train endurance to win?
    MD: It's more or less something I have developed over the years. With trial and error you find what works for you. I have never been a quitter or liked the feeling of failing, so using those as a foundation helped. 

    LALO: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    MD: I have reached my athletic goals. I also will be living in a warm climate, have something to call family, coaching/training athletes in some respect and being very content with my athletic career and helping others reach their goals.

    Follow Megan on Instagram @megadovell



    Coach Greg Clarke Inspires 

    This week, we take a look into an organization that instills motivation and hope to the homeless. The organization, Up and Running Again, was founded by 4 accountants in Orange County that wanted to make a difference in their community. Up and Running Again first began in November of 2009, at the Orange County Rescue Mission, with just 20 clients. Through a 14-week training program, residents began to achieve their 13.1-mile goal step by step. In February of 2010, thirteen residents successfully completed the Surf City Half Marathon, thereby changing their lives forever. Now, Up and Running Again is in 6 different cities, with over 500 runners completing a half marathon.

    We had the pleasure of speaking with Greg Clarke, president of the organization, to gain a deeper understanding of the impact this organization is having on the homeless population. LALO is a current sponsor of this organization, providing motivation by donating shoes to runners who commit to the program fully. We, at LALO, honor those who choose a path of dedication, purpose, and who do something every day to make their lives better. We hope by learning about this organization, it motivates you to also take on a path of determination, find a goal that you think is unachievable; and achieve it.

    The motivation behind this organization…

    It all started when Greg set a goal that he believed would be the most difficult for him to achieve, and then he set out to complete it. Greg, usually in his work office for up to 10 hours a day, described himself as anything but a runner. So his “unachievable” goal was running a marathon. He said, “why not pick something completely unobtainable, and then complete it?”

    He started out, just as anyone in the Up and Running Again program would, running for 5 minutes, walking for 5 minutes. Through months of training filled with determination and drive to achieve his goal, Greg completed the entire 26.2-mile marathon, and a runner was born.

    His colleague read about a woman in Philadelphia running with the homeless. Understanding first-hand benefits of his marathon; he set out to create a running program at the Orange County Rescue Mission.

    They believed that running could give these broken down people something to strive towards, while providing them with the necessary base to lead them to a successful life.

    The Up and Running again program…

    The clients come from all walks of life, and all with different histories; addiction, abuse, and abandonment just to name a few. What is special about this program is the clients all share something in common; they need help.

    The program is developed for “couch to half marathon” runners, allowing anyone to be a part of the program. It starts with a simple 5-minute run, 5-minute walk for 30 minutes just as Greg started out. Eventually, the clients were running so much that they actually avoided taking the bus, and just ran the few miles instead. As the weeks of training passed by, you could see the strength and determination of the clients grow.

    Throughout the program, clients complete a packet asking how they feel about themselves, and what their outlook is on life. Greg informed me that the change in responses throughout the 14 weeks is extraordinary. The clients start believing in themselves, and growing their self-confidence with each mile they complete. They begin to see that if they can start from nowhere and complete a half marathon, then what’s stopping them from being successful in every aspect of their lives. Running is what gave these people hope, and sometimes that’s all anyone needs to turn their life around. 

    What does running do for the clients…
    Without Up and Running Again  With Up and Running Again
    Graduation rate from rescue mission is        35-50 % Graduation rate from rescue mission up to 75%
    Allows clients to be educated but does not incorporate fitness Allows clients to be educated, and create knowledge about fitness and incorporates a healthy lifestyle

    Running does so much more than create a goal to be achieved, it creates camaraderie in a team oriented setting by allowing these clients to rely on and be there for others in the program. It also provides the opportunity to lose weight and create a healthy lifestyle, as well as release endorphins creating happiness.

    Those who abstained from the program, or who decided to quit, witness constant progress of those in the program, which provokes motivation to instill change in their lives. The program’s effects resonate, and affect more people in more ways than just teaching people how to put one foot in front of the other.

    Special Stories from the Up and Running Again program…

    One reoccurring theme we found truly inspirational when talking to Greg was the amount of success stories he told. Greg absolutely lives for this program. He has met tons of clients and heard hundreds of success stories, but here are two that stood out:

    Elizabeth joined the program, and was going to quit the first week, but Greg noticed her stretching during the warm up. He found out she used to be a professional entertainer on a cruise ship, but fell into a wrong path. With encouragement from Greg and her natural athletic ability, she completed the program twice, and qualified for the Los Angeles marathon. She is currently training for the LA marathon and was quoted:” I feel like a buried treasure that pirates are looking for, and I have the gold inside of me, but I also have barnacles covering the treasure chest. I am just trying to scrape off those barnacles.”

    Another story involves a veteran named Jeff, who wanted to run the half marathon in under 2 hours. Jeff was homeless but because of the program at the rescue mission, and Up and Running Again, he is now enrolled in college and continuing on his successful path. The best part of this story was his race; Greg was the one who paced him, and at mile 12 Jeff was hurting pretty bad but desperately wanted to make his time. He sprinted off to the finish line in hopes of achieving his goal. To Jeff’s surprise, the clock he had been basing his pace on actually wasn't correct. Jeff thought his time was past 2 hours until Greg informed him of his actual time, which was 1 hour 59 minutes and 35 seconds. Jeff completed his goal, and here is a picture of Greg and Jeff celebrating at the finish line:
    Goals for the organization…

    Obviously this program is doing amazing things across multiple cities, and when we asked Greg about the future of Up and Running Again, we were met with just as much excitement as if the program just started. His goal is to create an alumni base to expand on the program, and to further connect those who have finished the program with current and future clients

    Greg would like to get a huge conference for all the runners from all the programs to meet up in 2020 when the program is 10 years old. He wants to have motivational speakers, and breakout sessions where people can talk about their paths in life since the program, including the successes and the struggles.

    The biggest challenge he is facing is growing the program due to the necessity of volunteers, so if you are interested in helping this amazing cause then here is…

    How you can get involved…

    The Up and Running Again program needs all types of volunteers, whether you are a runner, never ran in your life, or just want to help out the program in other ways. There is always someway a volunteer can help. Please find further information about how you can help at www.upandrunningagain.org