Two years ago, I decided that it was time to check running a marathon off of my “Things to do before I get too old list.” Despite spending my Saturdays in ice baths, going through two boxes of band-aids, losing two toenails, relying on Body Glide to get me through the week, and getting stuck behind a guy wearing nothing but a hospital gown and fake derriere during the race, I consider completing a marathon one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Memorable, yes, but I can’t say it was 100% rewarding. Upon crossing the finish line, I had two immediate regrets: One, I had trained and raced alone, and two, I didn’t run with purpose. Throughout the 26.2 mile trek, I was amazed by the passion and camaraderie of the many “charity runners” entered in the race. These runners had trained with small groups and raised money for a cause during their quest to call themselves “marathoners” or “half-marathoners.” While I was questioning my sanity and eating every banana within sight upon finishing, the charity runners were rejoicing their accomplishments in a wave of emotion, knowing that they had truly made a difference.
At that moment, a light bulb appeared.
Phi Delta Theta has an enormous network of brothers who enjoy life by the help and society of others. We also have a truly unique partnership with The ALS Association; a partnership that many believe could be enhanced tenfold.
Enter Iron Phi.
Iron Phi is a new philanthropic initiative within Phi Delta Theta that has the potential to capture the energy, competitive drive, youthfulness, and philanthropic nature of our members. Iron Phi’s mission is to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact it has on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease through the fundraising and athletic efforts of its members.
To become an ”Iron Phi” members of Phi Delta Theta (undergraduates and alumni) must select an athletic endeavor (marathon, half-marathon, running relay, 5K, triathlon, ironman, bike race, etc.), raise $1,000 for that athletic event, and accomplish the athletic event itself. It is our goal to have a select number of large-scale Iron Phi events each year across North America, with the first one occurring at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati this May. We also envision brothers becoming “Iron Phis” through chapter or individual-led athletic endeavors in local communities.
Fifty percent of Iron Phi fundraising dollars will be sent to The ALS Association as a donation made in your name. The other half will support the Phi Delta Theta Foundation, strengthening the Fraternity’s future. Benefits for Iron Phis include an Iron Phi Bond number, an Iron Phi performance shirt for your race, a chance to be on a MLB field for next year’s Lou Gehrig Award presentation, recognition of your accomplishment in The Scroll, and the personal satisfaction of competing with purpose and brotherhood.
Nicknamed the “Iron Horse” for his perseverance, Lou Gehrig considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of this earth” upon retirement despite having a terminal illness that ultimately took his life. Lou was the ultimate Iron Phi.
So Phi Delts, let’s honor Brother Lou’s legacy through the development and growth of the Iron Phi program. Will you join us?
After spending time as a Leadership Consultant and the Director of Expansion, Steve Good is now the Director of Education & Technology at GHQ. He spent his undergraduate days at Iowa State University and is currently working to obtain his MBA at Xavier University.