One Runner is Exceeding His Goals On the Course and in Fundraising
September 6, 2017 by Alissa Hazlett
Before April, Jim Merklin had never even thought of participating in a 5K, let alone a half marathon. Following his doctor’s orders after a gastric bypass procedure, he started working out and found himself enjoying it.
“I got to a point where I spent a lot of time on treadmills, and there were times when I was going a solid 2 hours and getting some pretty serious miles,” Jim said. “I had people telling me, ‘boy if you can do that much on the treadmill, you should do the marathon.’ ”
That suggestion came to mind when he saw an article in the Akron Beacon Journal about the Blue Line Beginners, a training group for new runners that ultimately prepares them to run in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay presented by FirstEnergy.
“If I’m ever going to train to do something, why not give it a shot with a bunch of people I’m not going to be embarrassed being around because they’re all in the same boat I am?” said Jim.
Jim attended one of the initial meetings and has been training with the group since. He’ll be taking on the Blue Line in the first leg of the relay for his accounting firm, Bober Markey Fedorovich, and continuing on to complete the half marathon.
“I consider it (running) a challenge,” Jim said. “Right now I’m looking at it as a bucket list kind of thing. I never in my wildest dreams considered myself even close to being an athlete.”
When he took the leap and signed up for the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, Jim also signed up to raise money for Akron Children’s as a Children’s Champions runner.
“I thought that at some point in the past Children’s was going to name a wing after my daughter for the number of times that she came in,” he said. “I’ve also known a number of people who had their kids come through Children’s in very difficult circumstances, and every report I hear back is absolutely glowing.”
After sending emails and posting on Facebook about his fundraising efforts, Jim met and exceeded his original goal of $1,000 in just a couple days. Now he’s raised more than $2,500, and he increased his goal to $3,000, which he’s highly confident he will exceed before race day.
For those runners considering signing up as a Children’s Champion for next year’s race, Jim thinks its easy math. The more people who sign up, the more money is raised for the patients at Akron Children’s, regardless of the amount each runner is able to contribute.
“You don’t have to be a fundraiser,” said Jim. “This is just reaching out to the people you know who would love to support you in the race. Why wouldn’t you want to do this?”