Toughness and generosity; two qualities you don’t always find together in an individual. On one hand if you’re tough you may not come across as very kind or generous. If you’re generous you can be perceived as a big “softy”. That’s not the case with Rich Gairing; a gentleman who runs for charity and shows his toughness by running several long distance events.
Team Studios Central and Team Allears runner Rich Gairing shows off his bling after a recent Disneyland race weekend
Rich is very involved in the Disney running community. He is a member of Team Allears and Team Studios Central. He also assists Michelle and Mike on the Mickey Miles Podcast. A very popular podcast for those who runDisney and beyond. Both of these Disney running teams raise money for charity; Team Allears for breast cancer and Team Studios Central for Give Kids the World Village. Rich says, “Another thing that drove me was the idea that my running can give back to others. Whether it is running to give kids a once in a lifetime memory, or fighting breast cancer, I run to fight for those who can’t. Each donation I earn with my sweat gives to someone who needs it so much more than me.”
Currently living in Newtown, CT Rich got involved in running at a young age as part of his high school’s track and cross country teams. More than anything else Rich enjoyed becoming part of the teams and the camaraderie with his teammates. After high school Rich began to focus more on life’s other priorities like college, dating, and work. 25 years later a confluence of events started Rich running again. Rich’s best friend introduced him to the Warrior Dash and he watched his niece from afar train for the San Francisco Women’s Marathon. This motivated Rich to start running shorter 5k distances, then eventually half marathons, and finally to where he is today; running full marathons. For Rich, the sky is the limit not only for the distances he runs, but for the good he and his running teammates can do for charitable causes.
Rich and a friend celebrate the completion of the Warrior Dash
Before recently starting his running crusade again Rich and the mirror were not getting along very well. After watching a close friend drop 40 pounds Rich realized it was time to make his personal health a priority. Running was only part of the equation. He set out to lose 50 pounds and make the mirror his close, personal friend again. For someone as tough as Rich failure is not an option. He met his weight loss goal and continues his journey to keep it off through running. During this profile blog interview Rich made a great point by saying “I can’t compare my journey with anyone else’s. We are all unique and amazing just the same. Your shoes, speed, and training goals all have to come from you. Trying to be someone else is a mistake I’ll never make again.”
Rich has several race memories to share, but most of all what he loves during Disney races is looking at the theme parks in a different setting. When he casually walks through the theme parks he enjoys looking at the various landmarks. He loves to reflect on running past particular spots after a race. This makes sense because Rich is a theme park nut. For Rich, combining running and theme parks is euphoric. It’s two of his favorite activities in one place.
Rich celebrates the finish line at his first full marathon
Before we finish Rich wanted to share a list with us about running and friendship that he has learned over the past year:
- Always wave when you come across another runner
- Always celebrate the finish line
- Always encourage and be supportive of fellow runners
- You are never too "anything" to begin improving your life (heavy, old, etc)
- Always hydrate
- Never ever be embarrassed of your accomplishments
- Give back, mentor, volunteer and clap whenever you can
It’s a great list and something we should all live by when we run with friends. It shows what type of person Rich really is; positive, generous, and tough. It’s something we should all try to emulate.
Do you want to be a part of Team Studios Central? You can find out how to join our team here. We’d love to have you run with us and help raise money for Give Kids the World Village. A place where children with life-threatening illnesses can enjoy a care free vacation with their families.