This week's Charity Miles Champion is Stephanie Chivis. Stephanie is a mom, wife of a service member, and an ultra-marathoner on Team RWB.
She recently WON a Strava distance challenge, where there were 99,733 participants worldwide. She ran 59.5 charity miles on the last day of the challenge to win the contest. Each day she averaged over 20 miles. See what keeps her going in our interview.
Q.Why do you run?
A. I run because I can. There are so many veterans I know who are disabled and cannot run. Because I’ve always been about doing something to make the world better, I love running to raise money for veterans’ programs. There’s something so appealing to me about running long and waving hello to folks in the neighborhood, running with groups – it’s all about community, family, and camaraderie. Running long also fulfills a need to have a goal, an obstacle to overcome. It’s all about preparing to know you will succeed.
Q.When did you start using Charity Miles?
A. This past year I’ve used it for every run. I realized it was a way for me to do something for Team RWB. Team RWB’s goal is to raise awareness about what soldiers face when they return home from the battlefield.
Q. What inspired you to run charity miles for Team RWB?
A.I. was inspired by Team RWB’s dedication to taking care of local veterans after their military careers ended. Team RWB creates a community to socialize through newfound friendships; social events like running, yoga, or getting ice cream; and community service.
I’m married to an active duty service member so I know he’ll eventually enter the civilian world. It’s nice to know there’s an organization to support that transition.
Q. How did you get into running?
A. I started around age 30. As the years progressed, I wanted to try longer distances in races. It has been very therapeutic for me to be a part of a team and not just ‘run races’, we are building friendships. Being a part of RWB has inspired me to be my best self. It has also inspired my two sons! They both like to run. I love it!!
Q. How did you discover Team RWB?
A. My 1st ultra trail race was ‘Bear Bait Ultras’ in NW Florida. RWB team members, Debra McKenzie and Adama Anderson were there cheering on runners through the tough course. It was long, muddy, and swampy 50k. By the end I found myself surrounded by—and accepted into—a group of funny, unpretentious, caring, and tough people. I knew I had to sign up to be a part of this group!
Q. Has running taught you any lessons that you can apply to life?
A. It’s made me focus more on health and nutrition. The food (or lack of) we put in our bodies can truly change how we feel both emotionally and physically. I try to preach that daily to clients and coaches on my team. Running has also taught me to look at how far I’ve come, not how far I have to go. There will be setbacks in running as in life, but you must persevere and remain optimistic!