ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Apart from nursing blisters and sore knees, the "Team Little Guy" running squad of 12 credit union racers came through in fine shape after completing a grueling 208-mile relay mountain run raising $70,000 for Carolina charities.
"We held up the credit union banner pretty darn well and it was great to hear all those spectators in the crowd ask about the 'Little Guy' brand promoting credit union awareness," said Eric Gelly, one of the runners who also is executive vice president of the North Carolina Credit Union League.
The runners on "Team Little Guy" named after the CUNA ad campaign airing in Washington included North Carolina CU executives, members and vendor reps who finished the two-day Blue Ridge Relay Race in 30 hours and 15 minutes.
"There were 47 corporate teams from across the state and I think Team Little Guy ended up right in the middle which is not bad since a few of our members had never run a race like this before," said Gelly.
Charity contributions for the team were collected from North Carolina CUs and vendors with a $50,000 goal "and so we're really pleased to have surpassed that mark," said Gelly.
Funds from "Team Little Guy" will be distributed to needy donors under the Micro Community Grants program administered by the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation, operated by the North and South Carolina Credit Union Leagues.
Over a two-day trek, the 12 runners, whose feats and stories were logged on a Web site, http://teamlittleguy.com, traversed mountain terrain in Virginia and North Carolina ending in downtown Asheville Sept. 8. The race was classified as "extreme" because the group had to scale the high mountain elevations.
In repeating "Team Little Guy" next year, Gelly said the plan is to have more CU-based teams from across the South participate in the 2008 run over the same mountain course.
One interesting sidelight that underscores the interest in the run, says Gelly, is that the Web site posted "an astonishing 10,000 hits."
The six major CU sponsors each putting up $5,000 included: Allegacy CU, Premier CU, CUNA Mutual Group, Charlotte Metro CU, Local Government CU and Champion CU.
In addition to Gelly, other runners included his father, David, of Winston Salem; John Radebaugh Sr., president/CEO of the North Carolina League, and his son, John Jr.; Dan Sciandra; Ed Agnoli, director of education and financial literacy at the league; and Tom Heyden, account executive at CUNA Mutual.
Also in the group: Austin Braithwait, senior vice president of US Central, Lenexa, Kan.; Richard Ford, league director of business development; Dan Schline, league senior vice president of association services; Jeff Schline and Esteve Coll Larossa, business development/marketing manager at United Services CU in Asheville.