Where Team NeighborLink Came From
In the spring of 2010 I decided that it was time to get more active and take on some new challenges. So, my neighbor and I decided that we'd do an Xterra off-road triathlon and we'd do the Fort 4 Fitness Half-Marathon six weeks after that in an effort to motivate ourselves to hold to those goals of becoming more active.
The concept of using athletics to raise awareness or money for a charity wasn't a new concept for me because I've done a lot of events in the past where I've either ran for a charity team to help raise money or I've said yes to running in a charity 5k. As I was training for these two events I had committed to, I had to purchase a little extra gear that I was going to need. As I was doing that, it clicked that I needed to find a way to get NeighborLink plastered on this new gear. I felt like it was a perfect opportunity and a little like a responsibility as an executive director to represent the cause I believe deeply in and to use my body as a billboard (despite my body not being all that exciting to look at.)
For those two events, my neighbor and I wore a couple of basic "Love Your Neighbor" running shirts that we had produced during a print run of volunteer t-shirts I was having made that summer. Even though there were only two of us that first year that wore them, we immediately felt like we were in this together like an official team.
In 2011, I decided to make Team NeighborLink an official effort of NeighborLink Fort Wayne and worked with Three Rivers Running Company to get some high quality running shirts. At the time, I was also getting into road cycling and I knew we had a handful of other riders within the NeighborLink community and decided to have custom cycling kits made. Thanks to the talented designer, Nate Utesch, we have incredible looking running and cycling that stand out everywhere.
Team NeighborLink is very much a grassroots effort that continues to build momentum. We have over 40 runners and 15 cyclists that proudly wear our gear any chance they get. This year, we're working on developing a Race Team that will represent us officially in their races and attract new athletes to the team.
Anyone is welcome to join Team NeighborLink by simply purchasing a shirt or by joining our race team. If you believe that Loving Your Neighbor is a thing you want to promote, then we'd love for you to join.