A good run can unlock new ideas – we call this “Runfulness,” and we’ve been on a mission to explore its power. Need a refresher? Jog your memory here. But to sum it up, we asked the running community to share their experience with Runfulness and submit ideas that came to them during this state of mind — and boy did we get some good ones. Read on to get the details on our grand-prize winner and the four runners up.
Natasha A. won $100,000 to help turn race medals into trees.
Natasha’s organization, Earth Runs, takes the simple idea of a race and transforms it into a catalyst for protecting the environment. All you have to do is upload a race result, and Earth Runs will plant a certain number of trees based on the distance! Earth Runs also pioneered seeded, biodegradable medals for their events that you can plant — how cool is that? With her winnings, Natasha plans to expand the reach of Earth Runs and bring programming to schools, helping kids learn from a young age that they can positively impact the environment through something as simple as running.
Meet our four semifinalists
Each semifinalist will get $25,000 to help fund their Runfulness idea.
As a public health professional in rural Klamath, OR, Lauren’s dream is to build a food pharmacy in her community to connect vulnerable people with the healthy, nutritious food they need.
Representation matters more than ever these days. So we loved Jinghuan’s idea to create a multimedia book project and content platform that showcases runners from the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
As a runner and cancer survivor, Joel plans to use his Run Fund reward to form The Running Buddy, a nonprofit that combines a "dream day" experience with the hype of a big city marathon for terminally ill runners.
As a runner and type 1 diabetic, Abryanna plans to create a nonprofit to help fellow adolescent and young adults with type 1 diabetes feel empowered to run and live an active lifestyle while managing their diabetes.
Ultimately, Runfulness powers stronger communities
It’s clear that each of the finalists brings enormous energy and positivity to the running world. And while it was difficult for our panel of judges to narrow down hundreds of submissions to just these five, we’re even more grateful for all the runners who voted and helped us announce our grand-prize winner.
After all, it’s that sense of community among runners that we rely on every day. Runners support each other through encouragement, accountability, and showing up for each other day after day to chase goals and discover just how running can change our day, our life, or even the world.
Runfulness is a natural extension of that belief in the transformative power of the run. The creative energy that comes from a great run is what led our Run Fund winners to dream big while starting small. They’re all working to bring positive change to their communities through running, and we’re proud to amplify their voices.
To honor the immense potential we each contain to improve the world around us, we’re committed to carrying the spirit of Runfulness forward indefinitely.