Ready to get fit, and use an event to help you get there? In today’s episode, we feature stories of hard working professionals who came together and completed The Trailblaze Challenge, which is a 30 mile hike over mountainous terrain and raised over $100,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation to grant wishes for critically ill children. In this episode we cover:
- You can do more than you think you can when you have a cause, or a “why”
- How you can use events such as a hike as motivation to get fit and live an overall healthier life
- The steps to take in order to prepare for an event like this
- The importance of group accountability in helping people live fit in all areas of life
- Amazing wishes that were granted by the Make A Wish Foundation
[01:30] Trailblaze Challenge hike and impact made
[02:38] Using the Fit Life Challenge to prepare for the hike and other events
[03:00] Don spotting the awesome opportunity
[03:30] Why should leadership teams complete challenges like this
[04:34] Success despite concerns due to training and grit
[06:21] How the hike mirrors the Wish kid’s experience
[08:04] Christian Pulisic grants Colin’s wish during his fight with cancer
[09:58] Meredith’s success, fueled by perseverance and accountability
[16:12] Jason & Nicole’s grit through the challenge together
[22:44] From unable to walk to hiking 30 miles, Brandy’s lessons on individual and team grit
[31:01] Don’s two most impactful parts: the team’s grit and the Miracle mile
Connect with Make a Wish CWNC
Connect with Live Fit Ignite Change
* This transcript was mostly generated by AI, so please excuse any mistakes, and enjoy!
[00:00:00] Patrick: Hello and welcome to Live Fit, Ignite Change. We’re together as a community. We inspire each other to live a fit life. Ignite the change we wish to see and thrive in all areas of life. Today’s episode features stories of hardworking professionals, many of whom who are not into fitness, who came together and completed a 30-mile hike over mountainous terrain, raising over a hundred thousand dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for critically ill children.
[00:00:36] Patrick: In this episode, we cover how you can do more than you think you can when you have a cause and a why. How you can use events such as a hike as motivation to get fit and live an overall healthier life. The steps to take to prepare for an event like this and we hear about amazing wishes that were granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So get ready to hear about those who ignited change and how you can too.
[00:01:04] Patrick: Changing our world does not happen at once. It does not happen alone. It takes a committed group to be the change we wish to see. So together, we rise above negative influences to lead by example, making a positive impact at home and around the world. You can learn more. Join us and get show notes at livefitignitechange.com or for short livefic.com.
[00:01:29] Patrick: All right, here we go. This episode weaves together multiple conversations that I had with leaders from DLP Capital who took part in the Trailblaze Challenge Hike, benefitting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s a one day hike through the North Carolina Mountains that’s listed as 28.3 miles yet step trackers said it might have been closer to 30 miles and it certainly made quite an impact raising funds for wishes as Emily Gibson, our representative from Make-A-Wish Foundation share.
[00:01:59] Emily: Your crew alone? Yes. Raised over a hundred thousand dollars, which is the biggest gift that we have had in Trailblaze Challenge history. So that is something just to be proud of, I think, on your end. But overall, we raised $460,000, which the average cost of a wish is $7,500. So just do that math. I mean, that is an incredible amount of wishes that we were able to grant.
[00:02:21] Patrick: Yes, it was great to be part of an event to provide funding to grant over 60 wishes. And in the conversations that make up this episode, we discuss lessons and stories from the Trailblaze Challenge, as well as the program that many of the team members followed to prepare for the hike. Our Fit Life Challenge, which is an annual membership program to help people live fit in all areas of life with group accountability to make it work. Willing to that and all the resources that we share during this episode and how you can help and be involved and learn more in the show notes @livefitignitechange.com/hike. So let’s jump in.
[00:03:00] Patrick: The conversations start with CEO and founder of DLP Capital, Don Wenner. When I asked him how he first came up with the idea for our leadership team to take part in this hike.
[00:03:11] Don: I have a home in the Asheville area and saw a billboard, 28.3 Mile Hike for Make-A-Wish and had my attention. I went online, looked it up that day and I think that’s when I emailed you about five minutes later and said, “We need to do this.” So it didn’t take long to come to a conclusion that how awesome of an opportunity it would be.
[00:03:30] Patrick: That is awesome. It was an awesome opportunity. What do you think is so important for leadership teams and groups of people to work together, to do things like this? To do the hike, to do the fit life challenge?
[00:03:39] Don: Yeah. I think it’s an amazing opportunity. You know, this leadership team that did this hike, I mean, a lot of us have been together for years and already and some, I’m certainly new. I just think the level of closeness that happens from going through a battle, going on a journey, a struggle, together with everybody and being a part of the same challenge, I think is just so cool. I think Make-A-Wish just did an amazing job of coordinating the get-togethers before coordinating the breakfast afterwards, getting us all to really be a part of this journey together.
[00:04:12] Patrick: And that they did. So we will revisit more of the conversation with Don later in the episode. Yet now, to set the foundation for what this is all about, we jump into the conversation with Emily at Make-A-Wish. Thank you. I’ve been getting 40 members of our leadership team to come and take part in the challenge and do this crazy 30-mile hike. I mean, it was an amazing job that you and your team really did. So thank you.
[00:04:34] Emily: Well, and you guys were the first group that wasn’t local, so it was really such a good learning experience for us on how we cater this program to people who aren’t in our area. And I know that we mentioned the concerns around the training and everything, and it worked out beautifully. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.
[00:04:55] Patrick: Yeah. Good to hear. Yeah. That was funny, hearing the concerns that it’s like, “Who is this big group coming in? They haven’t been hiking with us,” but it’s like, “But we had our Fit Life challenge. We were training, we were doing our stuff.” So…
[00:05:06] Emily: Yes. Yes. I guess
[00:05:06] Patrick: I guess it worked out pretty well.
[00:05:08] Emily: It did. I feel like if you guys weren’t doing the Fit Life challenge, that your experience would have been vastly different than it did. So, very happy that you guys were all in shape, because 30 miles, whether that’s a walk in the park or a hike, it ain’t no joke. So…
[00:05:25] Patrick: Absolutely. Quite, quite the hike. And yeah, definitely a gritty group of people too, to be able to kind of press forward and never want to give up. But—
[00:05:33] Emily: I have never seen so much enthusiasm because I know that if my boss came up to me and was like, “Hey, as a team building experience, we’re gonna go out into the woods in North Carolina and go hike 28 miles.” I saw so many, I would not have been all smiles, but just every time I saw a DLP member coming into an aid station, y’all just excited and digging deep and smiling and happy. And I was like, “Wow.” They really,… just the enthusiasm was super refreshing.
[00:06:04] Patrick: Yep. Absolutely. And I think that is the enthusiasm from the folks. But even still, when our CEO first mentioned this, I mean, I think some people really thought he was crazy like, “What in the world? We’re gonna go hike this 28, 30 mile hike and what’s gonna happen? What’s gonna go on?” When we heard your story, you mentioned how it mirrored what many of the critically ill children go through and how kind of hiking was like the journey of what they go through. I’d love for you to share a little bit more about that journey and how they relate.
[00:06:37] Emily: Sure. I mean, there’s a reason why we call this the Trailblaze Challenge. It is because it’s a challenge, Patrick, you know, you completed it. It is not a walk in the park. It is in the wilderness. It’s on tougher terrain. So many of our hikers, as they’re crossing that finish line, and they’re out of breath and they’re tired, I go up to them all excited, “How was it?” And they’re like, “Man, that was tough. But it’s nothing as tough as what these Wish Kids go through on a daily basis.” And they are absolutely right.
[00:07:06] Emily: You know, our Wish Kids, they face challenges when it comes to their critical diagnosis. Whether that’s the constant doctor’s visits, the treatments, the surgeries, to go through all of that at such a young age, it really takes a toll on your body, not just physically, but emotionally as well. They really go through some difficult times. And so the wishes that we provide children, they give them the strength, the hope, the perseverance to keep pushing through those really tough times.
[00:07:36] Emily: And so, because they know that on the other side of the difficult times is that trip to Disney, is that room makeover, is that shopping spree is that wish to meet their favorite celebrities? So, it really gives them something to look forward to. When I speak about our mission, I really try to incorporate what we call mission moments and knowing that we are talking about perseverance. We’re talking about grit. We’re talking about finding the why.
[00:08:04] Emily: I think of a wish that we granted four years ago. Here in Charlotte. Wish Kid, Colin, he is a big soccer fan and his wish was to meet his idol, Christian Pulisic, who is a famous American soccer player that plays in the Premier League overseas. And so, when he came to Charlotte, we said, “Oh, hey, this is the perfect opportunity.” So we took Collin out to Bank of America Stadium here in Charlotte. He not only got to get the full VIP experience in terms of seats and things like that, he got to stand on the sidelines and meet all of the players. And of course, he got to meet Christian Pulisic. And so they were able to chat for a while. They really connected, which, what I love about these celebrity wishes, some of them, is that the celebrities oftentimes stay in touch with the Wish Kid just to check in, see how they’re doing.
[00:08:59] Emily: And at the time, Colin was in the very smack middle of chemotherapy treatments. He was diagnosed with cancer. And so this wish really gave him joy, but not just joy, he was able to… four years later, fast forward to 2022, Christian Pulisic is back in Charlotte at a showcase for his new soccer club Chelsea, and he invited Colin back out. He wanted to see Collin, he wanted to reunite with him. And so during that reunion, they exchanged jerseys. A lot of… just catching up. But Colin also wanted to tell Christian, “Meeting you gave me the strength to fight cancer.” And happy to say that Colin is cancer free and he was able to share that with Christian.
[00:09:45] Patrick: Wow. Isn’t that incredible? Congrats, Colin, on being cancer free and way to go, Christian. What a story. So as the conversation’s continued about the hike, we’re now going to jump into a conversation I had with Meredith, one of the leaders at DLP who has an incredible story. And I have loved seeing her amazing effort and successes after back issues and a surgery, she wasn’t able to walk one mile. Yet to prepare for the hike, he really committed to our Fit Life challenge. So in this conversation we talk about both the Trailblaze Challenge Hike and preparing for it through our Fit Life group.
[00:10:24] Patrick: Before we get started, I should acknowledge you too, because I love your participation in the Fit Life Challenge and being there, and every time you share your successes, it’s like, “Oh yes, I’m awesome. I love it.” You’re getting up, you’re doing things, you’re taking action. And one of the previous winners of the challenge too. So congrats there.
[00:10:40] Meredith: Thanks.
[00:10:42] Patrick: So I guess if you could maybe just start with a little bit of background where things were maybe before the challenge, what the situation was and then what she wanted to do as being a part of it.
[00:10:52] Meredith: Sure. So weight is something I’ve struggled with my whole life and it’s been a lifelong journey for me. And I had some very severe back issues that have really impacted my ability to get up and move and exercise for years and years and years. And last July, I had a surgery that really was life changing that really helped my ability to get up and move.
[00:11:16] Meredith: So really, when we started the Fit Life Challenge in March, that was really the first time that I was able to really start to do the exercise part of it and get up and move. And the hike really inspired me to really get out there and see how far I could make it. I mean, I never went into it thinking I was gonna make it through all of the 28.3 miles, but I really wanted to see how far I could go. So I started getting out there and doing small little walks and hikes to start getting ready for it.
[00:11:45] Patrick: That’s awesome ‘cuz I remember in one of the check ends, I think it was like I was concerned, could you get out, could you even… go a little ways. And then it’s like, “What? You hit six miles?” They’re like, “What? That’s awesome!”
[00:11:56] Meredith: Yeah. And unfortunately, I was thinking, I was really preparing because it was six miles of flat paved walkway and I thought that was gonna be enough. And then the second I stepped onto the trail, I realized that it was a whole different ball game.
[00:12:11] Patrick: Wow. Yes, it was mountain terrain for sure.
[00:12:15] Meredith: Yes. Yes, definitely. And I was not really prepared for that. But I think just knowing that I had told people what my goals were and that I had some accountability to people as well as to Make-A-Wish, and to the people who donated on behalf of the cause. For me, I knew that I had to get out there and try to do something and there were points during that first four miles where it was all uphill and switchbacks and I didn’t think I was gonna make it, that I just wanted to turn around but I knew that I had to push through. And it took me a long time and I was the last one to come through that first checkpoint. But it was a huge accomplishment for me.
[00:12:57] Patrick: That it was. you did it, you stuck through. And so when you were at that point where you were like, “Gosh, I feel like I need to turn around.” What made you keep going?
[00:13:06] Meredith: You know, it really was just the knowledge that I had a bunch of people who were rooting for me. I knew that at the end of this, I was gonna see you and a lot of the other people that I had talked to. And I was gonna have to answer for it. And I knew that I could do it if I really just put my head down and just kept going, put one foot in front of the other. And so, I couldn’t go meet everybody at the end and say, “I turned back halfway through. I didn’t even make it four miles. I couldn’t do that.” So just kept putting one foot in front of my other and that accountability, I think, really pushed me.
[00:13:40] Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a group kind of accountability and I think you’re sticking with what we talk about, the grit, the 20 mile march, just one foot in front of the other, keep going and it is being part of that group that I think does help so much and make it work. So, I guess that, and the group and maybe the Fit Life challenge itself, in that we talk about the mindset, and the sleep, and the nutrition, and exercise and then you have the group accountability. And I’d be interested if that part of the challenge was helpful in getting you ready to prepare for something like this?
[00:14:09] Meredith: It definitely was. So in the Fit Life challenge leading up to the hike, I mean, I really paid close attention to the diet, the addition of the… my primal was a huge benefit to me. Actually, I implemented it to my whole family and I found myself very, very successful. I mean, I was down probably about 20 pounds before the hike just from doing that part of the Fit Life challenge and getting up and moving and really getting into it and really living what the challenge was intended to do. Really helped me get in a much better position than I would’ve been in if I had stepped on that trail in March.
[00:14:46] Patrick: Wow. Love it. Great to hear. Thank you. And I guess the question now for anyone who were on the fence thinking, “Gosh, I don’t wanna do this. I’ve had diets before. I’ve done other things.” If they were considering it, but on the fence, what would you say to them?
[00:15:02] Meredith: I would say that it’s really hard to step out of your comfort zone and do this, and this definitely is hard for me. I’m not one who likes to talk about myself or things that are this deeply personal to me, but if you can find a way to just step out of your comfort zone, you’re gonna find a group of people who are inspiring and supportive no matter what. And you know, I have gone there with triumphs, I have gone there with failures and at every step of the way, I have felt encouraged, and pushed and it really has helped me live my life in a better way. And I know that sounds a little hokey, but I mean, it really has been a huge impact on my life to know that just having that support, and that push and it really has just changed my way of thinking completely.
[00:15:47] Patrick: Wow. Awesome. Thank you for sharing. And again, like I said, congrats to you on just coming in and being a part of the team and making it work. And I really feel like your story has lifted everybody up when people were discouraged about what they might not be working on, and then being able to push through and see your results and they did it too. So it is great. So great.
[00:161:08] Patrick: Every time I talk to Meredith, I am so inspired. Speaking of an inspiring story, several of our DLP leaders had their spouses join us on the hike as well. So now, we’ll dive into a conversation with husband and wife, Jason and Nicole.
[00:16:23] Patrick: Jason, I guess I’ll start off with you ‘cuz I know when we first heard about this, we were talking about doing this hike at DLP. I’d be interested in hearing, what were your first thoughts when you heard Don say we’re gonna be doing this 30 mile hike and what made you wanna bring Nicole into it? I know Don said you could do with spouses, but, yeah.
[00:16:41] Jason: Yeah. I do not expect her to want to… Wanna do it like… for me, myself, I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t have a ton of concern. I was concerned about 30 miles is a pretty big commitment and I was really concerned about people who wouldn’t quite grasp that. And you know, it’s a company thing, but I was really proud of the amount of effort people put in.
[00:17:07] Jason: And then, when I messaged Nicole, pretty much right away to let her know like half expecting her to say, “No way.” And right away, she’s like, “Let’s do it.” And I was like, “Okay!” But she was… of the two of us, she was one who was obviously much more committed to getting ready, preparing for it. She’s a pretty prepared person as it was. So once she committed to do it, in the back of my mind, I knew there was no way she was not gonna finish it.
[00:17:35] Patrick: That’s awesome. And Nicole, it sounds like no hesitation at all there. You said let’s do it. What made you wanna jump right in?
[00:17:40] Nicole: Well, first I didn’t want him to fall and break a leg in the middle of a 30 mile hike by himself. So I initially was doing it like, “Oh, I guess I should go so in case something happens, I’m in the same state.” But I really wanted to do it because it was for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and I also thought it’d be a nice physical challenge. You know, we like hiking. Our longest hike was probably 13 miles before that, so that was maybe a decade ago. And before—-
[00:18:06] Jason: Yeah. That was over a decade ago.
[00:18:07] Nicole: Before children. But I thought, “Oh, well. This will be like a nice thing to build up to and a nice physical challenge that hopefully…” I mean, to be honest with you, I would finish it whether I prepared for it or not ’cause I would just make myself do it. But I thought it’d be a nice thing to work up to.
[00:18:24] Patrick: Yeah, I definitely got that grit to just… once you start something, you’re gonna finish it right away.
[00:18:28] Nicole: Absolutely.
[00:18:28] Patrick: I love that too, being able to support each other, do something together and not let him break a leg out there by himself. Absolutely. That’s pretty cool. What about when you were out on the hike? I know you said like you’re not gonna quit once you get started, were there moments that when it really got hard, like this is difficult, you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe I can’t do this,” and what’d you do to keep going?
[00:18:46] Nicole: So I fell maybe five times during the hike.
[00:18:50] Jason: If you talk to people that were around, it was like 20 or 30 times. It was probably about five.
[00:18:53] Nicole: He’s being a little bit… I fell pretty hard a few times. We didn’t bring sticks with us. We were not like… I saw other people like more prepared with the hiking sticks and I would trip and fall. At those times I’m like, “Oh my God, if I break something, this is gonna be more difficult.” But again, I wasn’t gonna fly to North Carolina or where were we?
[00:19:16] Jason: We flew to Georgia.
[00:19:18] Nicole: And drove.
[00:19:19] Jason: Yeah.
[00:19:20] Nicole: I was gonna leave work and then come back and say, “I did not finish the hike that I left to go do.” So, in those moments, I’m like, “I just have to finish. I just have to finish no matter how painful that last fall was.” I mean, I’m just a very clumsy person despite my commitment to hiking and exercising, I’m still just very clumsy. But again, it was more like, “There’s no way that I’m stopping. I’m just gonna keep going.”
[00:19:48] Jason: You know about the 15 mile mark, like right after the one really bad fall where I really thought she hurt herself. Right after, there’s a big uphill stretch and like she was done. I knew physically she was done and in my head I’m like, “Well, we’re halfway between mile between checkpoints,” with no clue where the people sweeping the trail are. And I start to think like, “Right, how’d I get her off this hill?? What’s the end game? She can’t go any further.”
And it’s like in my head doing the math, we’re 16 miles in. She has at least 12 more to go and she’s physically done it. This is just not gonna make sense.
[00:20:29] Jason: And it was just amazing. She just wouldn’t quit. She just kept going. And sometimes, it was extremely slow and other times, she’d get a second wind and conditions would improve. But regardless, she just kept going and it was honestly, insanely inspiring and if we’re being honest, a little terrifying .
[00:20:51] Patrick: That’s awesome. Definitely sounds like some adventures along the way, but in the end you did it. You finished, and what do you say? Was it all worth it?
[00:20:59] Nicole: Absolutely.
[00:21:00] Jason: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:21:01] Nicole: It was an awesome day.
[00:21:04] Patrick: That is awesome. And I guess related to that, Jason, I know being in HR and you’re seeing the importance of people doing things together, and a lot of people did the Fit Life challenge to train for this, I’m interested in your thoughts on just the importance of team members and in this case, husband and wife doing things like Fit Life challenge, doing things like this event to be able to train together and be ready to just be stronger in life, but also in business as well?
[00:21:27] Jason: Yeah, I think it’s one of the great things about it, it’s kinda communal accountability. And that’s a great thing. You know, people lean on each other, pick each other up when you know that you’re part of a group doing something and in some ways makes it easier and helps you keep the drive going ’cause if you don’t, you feel almost like you’re letting your team down as opposed to just yourself.
[00:21:55] Jason: So it’s a really cool thing. And I think, I’m hoping we do this again next year. And if we do, I definitely wanna make sure that we’ll do a lot more of that group stuff. Prepare ’em for it, getting groups going together through it. Make sure that we’re there to cheer each other on at the end. I think it’s a really great thing.
[00:22:15] Patrick: That’s awesome. That is a great thing. And I remember, I mean, the morning after we were coming out from the hotel walking over to get breakfast, and I saw you guys in met and it was great just seeing how excited you all were about finishing it. And I just, again, congratulations. What a story.
[00:22:30] Patrick: Wow. Such stories of grit. That’s one of our core values at DLP. We define it as the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. And we did a deep dive into Angela Duckworth’s book Grit in episode 10 of this podcast. And speaking of grit, we’ll next hear from Brandy who after a broken foot and surgery, couldn’t even walk and she used our Fit Life challenge to get into shape and to finish the hike as she shared.
[00:22:57] Brandy: I broke my foot at the end of July last year just making a silly mistake. And towards the end of last year, I got pretty depressed going from my Peloton, my walking, my walking my dog so much all multiple times during the day. You know, I start out like at 6:00 AM here, right? So it’s like I start out, I work a little bit and then I’ll walk the dog and then I’ll take Kayla to school, then walk the dog. So it gives even those like 15 to 20 minute breaks at work, which is really nice. And to go to be stagnant. That’s it, because I was no pressure. So my surgery was, I think August 15th, no, August 20th. And I couldn’t start applying pressure and I wasn’t in a boot until the beginning of November. So it was a decent amount of time just sitting there and I had my little roller scooter.
[00:23:46] Brandy: What’s funny though is I actually, because I’m so active by the time, I knew that I could balance a little bit. I ended up buying a peg leg, which sounds really funny, but it was. I could kneel inside of it, so it was my right foot. I kneel inside of it and I strapped it onto my leg and then I was able to go for some walks. In that way, I was able to move around my house. Then when we rolled up, or when you rolled up, the Fit Life Challenge towards the beginning of the year. It was one of those things like I had gained more weight than I had anticipated. And I’ve struggled with that my whole life and it was a really good time for me to get my butt into here.
[00:24:23] Brandy: And so I feel that I already do eat pretty healthy. My husband has always been low carb, so that’s why I eat. I can’t say it’s very natural, but I love to cook. Cooking is one of my passions, but I can’t open a fridge and be like, “Hey, look at all these ingredients. Let me whip up something yummy.” But I can take recipes. I meal prep every single week. I created a menu. A menu for my family. Lots of vegetables, lots of meat.
[00:24:48] Brandy: And so I liked that when we started it. I already had my baseline. Right? I know I’m not supposed to eat pasta. I know I’m not supposed to eat bread, but I already knew the fundamental parts of it. But I think for me, the Fit Life challenge was a little bit harder for me to… I was on keto, I think at the beginning, and I couldn’t do that. But for the Fit Life Challenge, I ended up just tracking everything I was putting into my mouth. And that right there, I think was the biggest success.
[00:25:16] Brandy: And so finally, my goal was to be by a certain weight by the time we went on the hike and a lot of that was because I could just feel it in my joints and I could feel it literally in my right foot. The one that I broke, just the pressure of the additional weight. And so I was just about two pounds shy of my goal, but I really did help, again, just the support group of it. The accountability of just checking in with everybody. And it really did help me. It was the group part of the Fit Life challenge that I really, really enjoyed.
[00:25:53] Brandy: And as you stated in the beginning of this call, people are my other passion. I want to be able to help people move towards their common goal. And that’s where it’s like being able to be that support group for someone. You know, I remember, there was a participant in there that made a comment like, ‘Oh, well. I haven’t lost as much weight as you.” And it’s like, “Okay, these aren’t. We’re not competing against each other. We’re just here to be a support group for each other.”
[00:26:20] Brandy: And that’s really like a big part of the Fit Life challenge that I think is really important to pull out and to help me. And so, then I was able to actually do the hike, which is amazing. Didn’t like what I think rounded out at either… I think it was exactly 13 hours. And I can tell you one thing, I think it is insane is not being in the best physical shape for this. I think I got up to a total of about eight miles and that’s not even a part of how long we went. My foot didn’t hurt at all. Actually, it was my left foot. My other foot was a little bit more sore and I think I was just overcompensating and I was sore but nothing like I anticipated.
[00:27:06] Brandy: So I was very, very proud of my body and what I did to prep my body and then what I was able to accomplish. I think that was the biggest accomplishment of my life. Of course, I like having my beautiful daughter, but I loved it. I can’t wait for it to happen again. I really look forward to doing it. I do.
[00:27:23] Patrick: That is awesome. What a story. And I love how it was the preparation and everything that you did that put into it, the group that helped and powered through. And so what was the timeframe ‘cuz you went from broken foot to hiking 28 miles. What was the timeframe there? ‘Cause I remember you telling the stories of how you were unable to even run, of course. And then you got up to running seven miles and that was your preparation?
[00:27:45] Brandy: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I wasn’t able to actually start hitting the pavement or even being able to walk or I wasn’t able to do any type of exercise. So that was August, but I think it was the beginning of January. I thought I was finally able to start walking again, walking longer distances. And then I already knew about the hike at that point. And so, with the different activities within DLP and the Fit Life Challenge, I was able to walk a mile.
[00:28:18] Brandy: So I was able to start doing intervals, probably? I think it was a little bit after my birthday, so beginning to the middle of February and then when I got up to the seven or eight miles, that was the end of May, so I was only able to really train in February, March, April and in the beginning of May. It is incredible what the body can do.
[00:28:41] Brandy: And actually what’s funny is, I never knew how much you hear people talk about muscle atrophy when people are older and they’re just sitting around, to see what my right leg is. Did I joke around and say that my left leg was gonna be beefy because of all the pistol squats having to get up and down. But my leg right cast turned skinny and mush. But it was cool to see that also how it bounced right back, the muscle memory. So for me, it was also just kind of an adventure to see how the body reacts to certain situations.
[00:29:14] Patrick: That it does. It’s amazing. So talking about in certain situations, like in the hike itself, were there any moments like that when you just used that grit to get through?
[00:29:24] Brandy: Absolutely. And actually it was that very last, that last seven miles long. And it’s funny ‘cuz like even I think when we were halfway through, 18 because there was a team of five of us, we ended up being six of us. I think in the end of all the amazing people that I don’t know how I would have done if I didn’t have that team.
[00:29:49] Brandy: So the grit itself not only comes from me personally, or just pushing through everything. But one of our team members, her niece, just gave out. I think, helping that team member and it was not only like she of course, had to do the walking. We couldn’t carry her. It was way too terrainy there, if that’s even a word. But we did down three steps. One of us would stand at the bottom, another one would be at the top. And there was one time where I think it was the last steps before we hit the Miracle Mile, like there were six different steps. A team member literally got behind her and just pushed and so we just all helped each other. And for me, one of the most memorable points is how we all came together.
[00:30:36] Patrick: How awesome. Again, what a story. I hadn’t heard a lot of these, so that’s really cool to hear. I love it. Working together, and like you said, it’s grit from the individual, but as a team, it’s that perseverance for long term goals and you’re surrounded by a group of people that really do care that much about doing something together and helping each other out. What an awesome experience. Thank you.
[00:30:58] Patrick: Wow. Again, what great stories. Now we jump back into the conversation with CEO Don Winter, as I ask him what was the most impactful part of the hike for him?
[00:31:09] Don: I’d say two things that stood out to me. I mean, one was… so we went out with… I think it was about 40, 45 team members of DLP and their spouses. And I would say 75, 80% of the people who did the hike probably aren’t into fitness or at least heading into that and weren’t into fitness. I bet you a lot of people who did it had never hiked a mile, let alone three or five, let alone 30 or 28 miles.
[00:31:36] Don: So I think the fact when Patrick and I got to spend a lot of time on this hike together, unfortunately, in the end, not in first place but we gotta spend some time together. Yeah, it was very close. We thought about like, “What percentage of people are gonna finish?” And I think we were in the single digit number of people we thought would finish the whole thing.
[00:31:56] Don: And it turned out like 70% of people finished it. A lot of people who didn’t do all of it still did 11 miles or 14 miles, and almost everybody went well beyond what I would’ve thought they would’ve done. People were hiking, we had people hiking until late into the night once they started at 5:30 in the morning.
[00:32:13] Don: So just the level of grit and focus that people put into it and just kept marching forward despite getting hurt despite sore feet, despite just the challenge of hiking 30 miles. So I was blown away with that. I really just couldn’t believe at the end how many people I heard, finished and completed, and how proud they were of themselves as well, I think was pretty amazing.
[00:32:35] Don: And I’d say the second thing to me was when we got to that final mile and got to see the children’s name and stories hanging from the trees and really connect that effort with real life stories. I thought that was pretty, pretty amazing and getting to be a part of, I think we ended up with what $125,000 or so, raised was pretty cool.
[00:33:00] Patrick: And Don continues to share how there’s an expanded leadership retreat around the hike for this coming year.
[00:33:07] Don: You know, this past year we did it with a leadership kind of one day event on the front end of it. This year, we decided to really get to spend more time afterwards and soak up the amazing enthusiasm and energy that comes out of doing this. And this year we’re gonna do a two-day leadership retreat right after the event, we’ll kick off that night. We’ll all be probably a bit sore yet. And we’re not only gonna do it with our leaders, but we’re gonna invite a lot of our closest relationships. Our elite members, some of our investors and their leaders to come join and be a part of this with us, which I just can’t wait for.
[00:33:43] Patrick: And finally, I asked Don how having a date on the calendar for things like this Trailblaze Challenge Hike helps people who wanna improve their fitness. Maybe they wanna use the Fit Life Challenge to train for something and how important it is to have that date set.
[00:33:57] Don: I think things like this are great checkpoints. Our next date is May 20th, that we’re doing this in 2023. And having something like that ahead that, alright, I got this big challenge coming. Gives you a specific target to build towards and focus on improving, getting ready for. And I think that’s what just like everything else in life, it’s about setting a goal, maybe a really big long-term goal to what you wanna do. I wanna live to 150, but having something that’s right out here in front of this air, I need to get in better shape. Maybe today that seems daunting and impossible to do 30 miles, but through focusing on nutrition, focusing on just moving, whatever that means for you, it’s amazing what can be done.
[00:34:39] Don: So highly recommend that people use things like these types of events like these trailblazers as a reason or an inspiration to get in shape, take care of ourselves. And I can’t wait. And I know, I’ve already been talking with a bunch of people that knowing we have this next date coming up is already inspiring some change. But you don’t need to wait for something like this in May, there’s lots of great reasons to get inspired, to wanna live longer, to want the leaders in your life, the people you love, to wanna live not just longer, but healthier lives is a great motivation in and of itself.
[00:35:15] Patrick: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. We certainly want our loved ones to live longer, healthier lives, and there’s no reason not to start now. So you can find an event that you’d have fun being a part of and jump into Fit Life Challenge membership to get ready for it. You can learn more about that at fitlifechallenge.com. And if you are up for learning more about supporting or participating in the Trailblaze Challenge Hike, supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we now jump back into the end of the conversation that I had with Emily from Make-A-Wish, where I ask her how people could learn more about the Trailblaze Challenge.
[00:35:51] Emily: We are coming up on recruitment for our spring 2023 season. And we wanna be able to spread the word about this program as much as possible. So if anyone’s listening to this that is interested in learning more about the challenge, just visit trailblazechallenge.org. We would love to have you out on the trail this coming spring season with us.
[00:36:08] Patrick: Awesome. That sounds great. We’ll definitely link all that in the show notes as well.
[00:36:13] Emily: Please, thank you.
[00:36:14] Patrick: Awesome. Well, Emily, this is awesome and I wanna acknowledge you too, for just again, what you and your team have done to be able to make an impact that is so critically important in this world, and impacting the kids, impacting the people that are coming to support it. And for all you guys too, keep it up. Amazing work. Thank you.
[00:36:28] Emily: Well, we couldn’t do it without the support of people such as yourself, so thank you very much and look forward to seeing all of you all very soon.
[00:36:35] Patrick: Absolutely, our pleasure. All right. There it was. I hope you enjoyed that. It really was an amazing day. Many people who are not necessarily even into fitness, taking on a major goal, having a reason to get fit, to be healthier in all aspects of life and make an impact by providing funds to grant wishes in the process.
[00:36:55] Patrick: Also if being part of a program like this that provides the plan and the accountability to get fit in all areas of life, sounds like something that you and/or your organization would benefit from as the team members at DLP have, you can check out the details @fitlifechallenge.com and see all the resources mentioned in this episode in the show notes at livefitignitechange.com/hike.
[00:37:21] Patrick: If you resonated with this and would like to go deeper to live, fit and ignite change in your life, you can get started for free at livefitignitechange.com/start where you can join our community of high performers and get access to our kickstart resources for free. You can get plugged in at livefitignitechange.com/start. Or for short livefic.com/start.
[00:37:45] Patrick: Also, my family and I we’re igniting the change that we wish to see. We were sick of all the processed, sugar loaded foods and drinks market to us, especially to our youth. So we’re developing a line of truly delicious, grain-free, sugar-free products that student athletes and on the go adults love as part of our Inrive performance nutrition brand. Learn more and join the Inrive Insiders for free to be the first to hear about samples, launch parties and specials @inrive.com. That’s I-N-R-I-V-E .com.
[00:38:17] Patrick: Thank you so much for tuning in and please, be sure to like, share, rate and review this show. That’s what’s needed to help us reach more and serve more. So together, we truly can ignite the change that we wish to see. Thank you for your help. I hope you make it an outstanding day and go forth to light, love, serve the world and live the life you’ve always imagined.