Preparing for a 12-mile run with obstacles is a serious commitment. Imagine doing it with little to no training at all! The average training window ranges from 12 to 20 weeks. First-time marathoners aim to build weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the four months leading up to race day, requiring about three-to-five runs per week. Runners know that, like marathons, goals require intentional effort and determination ahead of the race.

For example:

  • The effort required to execute and present a large project for your organization involves considerable planning and execution weeks ahead of the actual presentation.
  • Losing weight and gaining muscle mass is only possible through considerable lifestyle changes, a healthy diet, and consistent fitness participation.
  • Writing a book includes heavy research, story outlining, and several drafts before release.

Important commitments require preparation and effort to successfully implement from start to finish by a specific date.

What if there isn’t time to prepare?

This is the experience foster children and families undergo without warning. Competing in a 12-mile course without preparation is nothing compared to the fear and challenges new foster children experience each day. The founder of Promise686, Andy Cook, is local to Peachtree Corners, Georgia and well-invested in the local foster care system.

“For their safety, children are unexpectedly removed from their home and their world is turned upside down. The next morning, they awaken to a new reality and loss. The road of foster care is not only tough for the child, but it’s tough for foster parents. Would this job description recruit you? ‘No guarantee of any tangible progress, the high likelihood of emotional turmoil in your home…’ Yet when you talk to foster parents, this is exactly what they knowingly sign up to do. They love a child wholeheartedly and then, most the time, they let that child go.”

It’s tough for foster children and parents.

While foster parents intentionally enrolled in the program, they have no real way to fully prepare for the emotions, entry, and exit of the children they will bring into their home and lives.

This is why we signed up for the Tough Mudder “TOUGH Campaign” with Promise686. Being a foster child or parent is a roller coaster of emotions void of preparation. Just like someone running a marathon without training, foster families hit the ground running and need the support of friends and family to help them make it from start to finish.

“We hope, in its own way, that our efforts will highlight the challenging commitment of foster families and raise essential funds to support these families and the children they serve. There are not enough families for Georgia’s more than 13,000 children in foster care,” said Cook. “Promise686’s goal is to plant foster care ministries in individual churches, raising up hundreds of new foster families – over 100 so far! So while Promise has almost 1000 volunteers currently serving via 105 church partners, we require ongoing resources to equip many more churches, families, and volunteers.”

This year’s Tough Mudder course includes 12 miles and 20+ obstacles. The Promise686 team grew from 16 runners in 2014, to 57 runners in 2015, to 100 runners in 2016! Last year the organization received 842 individual donations, were honored to have 34 corporate sponsors, and overall awareness was raised. This energy brings much needed attention to Georgia’s foster care crisis.

It isn’t too late to sign up for the Tough Mudder course!

You’ll see a collection of friendly faces from Relus, including myself, Josiah Deegan, Sarah Everett, Brandon Grindle, Seth Hester, David Norman, and Sam Dobbins. If you can’t make it this year, you’re also able to donate to the cause.

Join us as we invest in our community and the lives being touched here. Like others who lacked time to prepare, I will be relying heavily on my team to help me make it across the finish line!

Onward and upward!

About Mark Metz

Mark Metz is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three $100 million technology companies in the Atlanta area. Currently, Mark is the CEO and co-founder of Relus Technologies, an IT solutions provider specializing in data center transformation, cloud enablement, and the delivery of top IT talent. Relus is consistently recognized as a top workplace, winning awards from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Atlanta Business Chronicle. Mark has a strong commitment to the local business community, supporting organizations such as the Technology Association of Georgia and 22TechPark, a startup incubator he founded in Peachtree Corners, GA. When he’s not pursuing all of his entrepreneurial endeavors, Mark likes to spend time at home with his wife and two children, teach swimming at the Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA, or challenge himself with CrossFit workouts.