Running with Heart: How For the Run Supported Tommy Rivs During his Cancer Fight

Running with Heart: How For the Run Supported Tommy Rivs During his Cancer Fight

In 2020, as the world grappled with the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the running community faced unprecedented challenges. Lockdowns meant essentially no in-person races. We lost our run clubs and those in person moments where we all grew closer to one another.

On top of those challenges, things took an even more unexpected turn when someone we looked up to so much, Tommy Rivs, a beloved ultramarathoner and inspirational figure in the running world was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. At For the Run, we wanted to do anything we could to make a difference by supporting someone in our community who needed it most.

Logistically we had no knowledge of what would happen and how to navigate it, but we knew whatever would happen that we would figure it out, because we wanted to.

A Mission to Give Back

Knowing that we couldn't forecast what was coming, we decided to step up and support him by selling t-shirts and donating 100% of the profits to his cause. Our goal was simple: to raise as much as possible to help cover Tommy's medical expenses and support his family during this difficult time.

The Logistics of Love

Given the social limitations imposed by the pandemic, we had to rely on a very limited team to get the job done. With traditional resources and volunteer networks unavailable, we turned to my parents for help. Together, we packed and shipped every single order from our home. It was a grassroots effort, driven by love and a desire to give back to someone who had given so much to the running community.

Overcoming Challenges and Backlash

Our initiative wasn’t without its hurdles. Despite our clear intentions, we faced a ton of negative backlash from people who misunderstood our efforts. Some accused us of being frauds, liars, and thieves who were exploiting a dire situation for profit. These criticisms were tough to hear, but we stayed focused on our mission, knowing that our hearts were in the right place.

Also, we want to give a huge thanks to members of the iFit team and some incredibly kind folks across the internet who defended our efforts.

The Impact: $10,400 Donated

Despite the challenges and criticisms, our community rallied behind us. We sold a total of 717 shirts along with a few hundred stickers that featured the messages, "Rise & Rage" and "Que No Te Mueras", raising an incredible $10,400. This translates to roughly $14.05 donated per shirt along with profits from the stickers, every cent of which went directly to Tommy Rivs and his family. This overwhelming support highlighted the generosity and resilience of the running community.

Reflecting on the Journey

Looking back, this experience reinforced our belief in the power of community and the importance of standing by one another. It wasn’t just about the money raised; it was about showing up for a total stranger who was in need and making a tangible difference during a time when it was easy to feel helpless.

Moving Forward with Gratitude

We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported this initiative—from those who bought shirts to those who offered words of encouragement. Your support made it possible to turn a challenging situation into a beacon of hope and solidarity. As we continue our journey, we remain committed to using our platform to support and uplift the running community and beyond.

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