Giving Stories, Mighty Blog

Couple will run their first marathon on behalf of Children’s

Brady Gervais

Earlier this winter, I emailed back and forth with Emily Mahr, after she RSVP’d to attend Children’s party kicking off Team Superstars, our inaugural charity running program. She was interested in running the TC 10 Mile for us, and I was determined to convince her otherwise. We had several Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon spots and precious few 10-mile entries. I needed runners to commit to 26.2.

Fast forward to Feb. 5, the night Mill City Running hosted Children’s kickoff party. When I greeted Emily and her boyfriend, Ryan Olson, I said I was determined to get her to run the marathon on behalf of Children’s. Then, I left Emily and Ryan alone to browse the store — and think about it.

Emily and Ryan completed their first race together in August 2013 at the Fifteen’s 5K.
Emily and Ryan completed their first race together in August 2013 at the Fifteen’s 5K.

Several minutes later, I saw them at one of the laptops we had set up for marathon registration. They were signing up to run the Twin Cities Marathon — their first marathon — and fund-raise on behalf of Children’s.

“My heart was saying go for it. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon,” Ryan later told me. “I’ve always wanted to give back. This is a way to start.”

I immediately hugged them both. I was excited for two reasons: 1. Team Superstars was growing by two more members passionate about Children’s, and 2. I had been in their shoes as a charity runner and knew they were in for something special.

Team Superstars is Children’s first-ever charity running team. Runners are not only asked to participate in one of the Twin Cities Marathon weekend events but to also go the extra mile by committing to fundraising. Running for a cause gives purpose to every mile, ounce of sweat and tear shed.

Emily, 31, has been running since 2007 and started racing in 2011. She ran her first half-marathon with Ryan in 2013 in Las Vegas and plans to run her second in May. Ryan, 32, caught the bug when he started dating Emily in 2011.

Neither has a direct connection to Children’s — just the desire to support the cause in a meaningful way.

“I don’t have a connection, but why wouldn’t I run for Children’s?” Emily said.


Brady Gervais is an annual giving officer at Children’s Minnesota. Learn more about Team Superstars. Interested in joining? Email Brady at [email protected] today.