Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RSVP for the Team Dinner!
Hello team!

Get excited! Race day is only a month and 2 days away! As of today, we’ve raised $7,200 toward our goal of $40,000 – and some of you have raised over $1,000 and reached the first tier of incentives. Let’s keep it up, folks!

We will have our team dinner here at the Nashville home on Friday, April 29th at 6pm. We’ll have a healthy pre-race meal for you (and your guests) and will celebrate our training and fundraising together. If you’d like to earn a prize, you’ll need to have any money you’ve raised turned into us that night or sooner. Don’t forget – you do need to raise the minimum of $100 before that night to be eligible to attend or receive your shirt.

Please RSVP as soon as possible, and let me know if you’ll be bringing any guests so we can begin making preparations for the food. Thanks!

We’ll take a team photo, announce top fundraisers and wrap things up early enough that everyone can head home to get some sleep for the big day.

These have gone to the printer! As soon as I have them in the office, I will let you know. Once you’ve raised you $100, you can come pick it up, or I will have them for you at the team dinner.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with either your fundraising or your training, please let me know. I am definitely here to assist you in any way possible. All of us on staff at Mercy are SO appreciate of your efforts as you Run for Mercy in this event!

If you’re looking for any opportunities for a group run this week, you can join East Nasty on Wednesday at 6:10 ( or the Nashville Striders on Sunday morning ( Both runs can be altered to any distance.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Note From the Coach - Sponsorship Forms
Hello team, I hope you are all doing well!

I am linking you to a form we recently created that can aid you in your fundraising. You can print these forms out and fill in with your information to pass out or send to your contacts to ask for donations. I hope that this will help you as you continue to work toward helping us raise $40,000 for Mercy. As of today, we have raised $5,936 together. Let’s keep it up and reach our goal!

Our current top fundraisers – Trish Squittieri and Teresa Epps – have both said that they have been able to increase their fundraising simply by letting all of their contacts know they are running for Mercy and asking them to make a donation.

Please let me know if I can do anything to assist you in raising money as you train for the race. Ask your favorite barista at your local coffee shop if you can set up a day where you receive 10% of their profits for your fundraising. See if any local restaurants will allow you to set up a table one night in their front entrance area to share about Mercy and ask for donations. Don’t be afraid to get creative! If you need any resources to help you, just let me know!

I hope that you are all still progressing in your training and finding that you are feeling more confident for race day. If you’re feeling a little worn out right now, don’t worry – that’s normal! You’re training your body to do something challenging, and you’ll taper off your training a bit the last few weeks of April before the race in order to rest up for race day. If you have any questions about the training plans or about preparing for race day, send them my way. I want to do all I can to make sure you show up to the start line prepared.

I am so blessed to have this opportunity to train and fundraise with all of you! Let’s keep up the momentum as we all get ready for the big day on April 30. I know that the Nashville residents are already getting excited about coming out to the race to cheer us all on as we Run for Mercy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marathoner Shares Her Experience of Running for Mercy
My name is Elizabeth Baldwin, and I ran for Mercy in the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, TX on February 27th! I decided to participate in Run for Mercy because of my cousin Tara, a graduate of the program. I was so amazed at her transformation while at Mercy Ministries and was impressed that it was Christ-centered. Ever since Tara graduated, running for Mercy Ministries had always been in the back of my mind as something I might do one of these days. I struggled though a personal loss in December and felt very confused about what God’s plan was for my life. That was when the Lord put a giant neon sign in front of my face that said “RUN FOR MERCY!” I tried to ignore it and came up with pretty much every excuse in the book. Finally, I decided to listen to God, signed up for my first marathon and got started on my fundraising.

The Run for Mercy website was a huge help in raising funds. I sent out an initial email via the fundraising website telling everyone about what I was doing and why. Then, every two weeks I sent out “training updates” to keep people informed about what I was doing to physically prepare for the race. As the race approached, I began emailing every week and thanking people for their support and encouragement. I think these emails helped my friends and family feel more connected to me as I was training. I also used Facebook to bring awareness to my run. My friends and family posted my fundraising website to their Facebook profiles as well. This was a great idea because it introduced Run for Mercy to people I did not know personally. I was so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that supported my run, and I was able to raise $1,100 for Mercy Ministries!

Race day finally came, and I was so nervous and excited all at once! The Cowtown Marathon draws about 20,000 runners for six different races every year. This year about 1,500 of us participated in the full marathon. As the start of the race approached, I prayed and prayed and prayed, “Oh dear Lord, please say I finish. Even if I have to crawl across the finish line, just help me finish!” Finally, the horn blared and I was off running!

My Aunt Susan had given me some of Nancy Alcorn’s teachings, which I uploaded to my iPod, and listened to during most of the race. I was able to draw so much strength and encouragement from listening to her speak. The course was beautiful, and my family was at every spectator spot cheering me on! I felt really great during most of the race, even at mile 20 when everyone says the race gets hard. I hit the dreaded “wall” at mile 22 and felt like my energy instantly drained from my body. I kept thinking about Tara and all of the young women who are at Mercy Ministries. They are what got me through those last few miles. Seeing the mile 25 marker gave me a much needed boost to finish the race.

I have always been an emotional person, so at mile 25 I turned into a bawling mess. I was so thankful to be almost done and humbled knowing that running 26.2 miles was the least I could do to help raise awareness for Mercy Ministries. Crossing the finish line was such an amazing feeling, and I am so privileged that I was able to Run for Mercy! Finally, I could not have completed this race with out my faith in God. I truly cannot take any credit; I put my trust in Him, and He is the one who got me across the finish line!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Seven Weeks of Training Left Until the Country Music Marathon!
Hello team!

Can you believe that race day is a little less than 7 weeks away?!

As of today, we’ve raised $4,600 toward our goal of $40,000. It’s so exciting to see new donations come in each day – let’s all keep it up! If you have any questions or need ideas about fundraising, please let me know.

Please pass on any praise reports about your fundraising – we’d love to feature them on the Run for Mercy blog!

I wanted to give a little shout out to our top 3 fundraisers so far: Teresa Epps, Tina Brown and Sandy Haynie! Some of you are getting really close to $1,000 raised and earning a gift card!

You should find your runs/walks getting pretty long by now. Keep in mind that it’s ok if you’re having some aches and pains or feeling tired and drained. You’re in the thick of training, and that’s totally normal. You’ll taper your runs/walks down a bit closer to rest day, and this will allow your body time to recover so that you feel fresh when you reach the start line.

Fellow team member Trish Squittieri and I will be running together Saturday morning. Should you be interested in joining us, please email me and let me know. We will run about 16 miles at a 10:30 pace. You can join us for some or all of it if you would like. We will determine a location later this week.

We will have the team pre-race dinner here at the Nashville Mercy home on Friday night, April 29th. I will send out more specific details soon, but I just wanted to remind you that you must meet the $100 fundraising minimum to receive the invitation to the dinner. Keep up the hard work with fundraising!

They have been ordered! When you reach the $100 fundraising minimum, you will be able to pick yours up here at the office so that you can train in it. I’ll let you know when they arrive. They are going to be AWESOME.

If you did not submit a shirt size to me, I was not able to order you a shirt. However, we do have some other Run for Mercy shirts that you can have if you would like one.

I hope you all have a great week! Please let me know if you have any questions about any aspect of preparing for the race!

-Melanie Blair, Team Mercy Coach

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Coach on Fundraising
Hello team!

This week’s update is all about helping you promote the event and fundraise!

If you are using social media to help promote your fundraising, keep these in mind:
• Send people to the Run for Mercy blog right here at
• Become a fan of our team in the Country Music Races on Facebook at
• Follow Run for Mercy on Twitter: @runformercymin (
• Don’t forget to share the link to your personal fundraising page on

Curious as to how your fellow team members are fundraising?
• Trish Squittieri is sharing her race prayer plan (that I shared with you in a previous post) to spread the word about running for Mercy and inform others of how to donate
• Another team member has been telling everyone she asks to donate that she will match every dollar that is donated on her personal fundraising page
• Another team member has sent emails and letters to all of her contacts with information about Mercy and about her training for the race along with the link to donate to her personal fundraising page

Please note: If someone really prefers to write a check, they can make it out to Mercy Ministries and give it to you. You’ll just need to get it to me and make sure I know that it’s for your fundraising.

I hope that everyone is having a great time hitting the pavement both in training and in fundraising. We’ve raised about $4,000 so far toward our goal of $40,000. Let’s keep the momentum going!

I have also placed the order for our shirts. Once we have them from the printer, I will start getting them to you as you reach your $100 fundraising requirement.

Please be in touch any time if you have any questions or need anything. Have a great week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trish Squittieri On Why She Decided To Run For Mercy!
My name is Patricia Squittieri and I live in Nashville, TN. I began working at Mercy Ministries in June of 2009 as a Residential Assistant on the weekends. Working a 64 hour shift in the home meant that I wore many hats. Walking alongside girls who face life-controlling issues and seeing them receive freedom has changed my life forever. There truly is nothing too big for God to handle!

I now work on the front end of the application process in the Intake Department. This is where potential residents walk through the application process and begin to fix their eyes on a new way of living! I am so inspired by where I work, I have decided to do something radical to raise support for Mercy. Radical for me anyway! I am running the Nashville Country Music Marathon this year for the first time!

Running on behalf of Mercy Ministries is an honor and something I do not take lightly. I have felt lead to dedicate, through prayer, each mile to a different aspect of Mercy. You can see my prayer plan below.  It will not be easy, but I am reminded that God never promised an easy road! He truly will be my strength each stride as I commit my way to Him. Please come alongside me and financially support this mission!  You can make your donation by going to here for more information a promotional flyer.

Marathon Prayer Plan
Mile 1 - Girls in the home
Mile 2 - Families of residents
Mile 3 - Girls on waiting list
Mile 4 - Families of girls on waiting list
Mile 5 - Monroe, LA
Mile 6 - Nashville, TN
Mile 7 - St Louis, MO
Mile 8 - Lincoln, CA
Mile 9 - Future Homes
Mile 10 - Volunteers
Mile 11 - Donors
Mile 12 - Events
Mile 13 - Programs/Counseling Staff
Mile 14 - Intake Staff
Mile 15 - Accounting/Treasury Staff
Mile 16 - Development/Communications Staff
Mile 17 - Transitional Care Staff
Mile 18 - Human Resources Staff
Mile 19 - Home Staff
Mile 20 - Weekend/Night Staff
Mile 21 - International Homes
Mile 22 - Board Members
Mile 23 - Executive Leadership
Mile 24 - End Sex Trafficking Campaign
Mile 25 - Nancy Alcorn
Mile 26 - Nancy Alcorn

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shirt Orders, Fundraising and Hydration
To those of you running the Country Music Marathon...Hello team!

We currently have 53 members on our team. This is AWESOME! However, only 17 of you have provided me with your shirt size. I’ll be ordering our shirts from lululemon soon, so I need to know your size if you’d like to have one. The new logo for this year’s shirt is SO COOL, and you won’t want to be left out! Ladies – your shirts will be either 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12. Men - your shirts will be either S, M, L, or XL.

Please visit lululemon or go to their website to determine your size and email me with it this week! You only have to raise $100 to receive the shirt and an invitation to our team dinner on April 29. I know everyone can do this! I’d hate for anyone on the team to not have the shirt and we want to see you at our team dinner the Friday night before the race. It’s ok if you haven’t raised the money yet – I can go ahead and order your shirt, and give it to you once you have raised $100.

Other notes for the week:
• I will be at the Nashville Striders training run this Saturday, March 5th at 7:00am. This run meets at the Titans Stadium, and you’ll be able to run any distance you need. Please let me know if you’d like to attend.
• It’s important to make sure you are staying hydrated and fueled during your long runs. Be sure to have enough water/sports drink on you, and experiment with fuel such as GU, sport beans, Shot Blocks, etc. Places like Fleet Feet and REI sell numerous types of fuel to carry on the run. If you have any questions about this, let me know. You don’t want to try anything new on race day, so be sure to determine between now and then what works best for you. (Personally, I like sport beans and GU Chomps.)
• Insider tip – The Country Music Marathon provides water and Cytomax on the course. Cytomax is not for everyone – I myself can’t stomach it. Either buy some of it to practice with in training (at running stores like Fleet Feet), or plan to carry your own sports drink on race day. I personally will just stick to drinking water during training and on race day.
• Continue doing all you can to fundraise! If we at Mercy can assist you in any way with providing direction on ways to do this, please don’t hesitate to ask. If everyone raises $1000, we’ll have $53,000! Our goal is $40,000, so let’s all do our part!
• Half Marathon Pace Team – I plan to run the half marathon in exactly 2:15 on race day. If anyone has 2:15 as your goal time, let me know and we can run together on race day!

Happy training!

If you have questions for Mercy coach, Melanie Blair, you can contact her at