Last year, Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs came to Haverhill, New Hampshire to film an episode of his new web series, Returning the Favor on Facebook Watch. In the series, now in Season 4, Mike and his team crisscross the country to meet people from all walks of life who are doing significant things to help their local communities. Mike came to New Hampshire to meet Isidro Rodriguez, the founder of Food 4 Kids. Food 4 Kids is a local non-profit that ensures all children have equal access to lunch and snacks in school regardless of their ability to pay.
During the episode, you’ll see that Mike surprised Isidro with a fun run and community fair completed with food trucks, activities, and drones. And lucky for us, Total Image Running was able to be a partner with Returning the Favor on this incredible project for the local community.
How did Total Image Running become involved with Returning the Favor?
The Returning the Favor team reached out to us by email to help them put on this race. We had less than a month to pull everything together, which is a very short time frame, but we got it done. While the race looked like a 5k on the show, the course was just 1.5k. We coordinated everything as if it was a real race and we didn’t find out until about two days before where the event was going to take place or who it was benefitting.
In the show, Isidro had no idea what was happening. Did he really not suspect a thing?
Isidro really had no idea what everyone was planning behind his back. It was an epic surprise party! Isidro wanted a 5k fundraising race for his organization, which is why Returning the Favor decided to organize a mini race for the show. During the day-long event, Isidro got to run the race with all the kids and Mike. He even got a $15,000 donation from the media company, which was a huge surprise to all of us.
Did you experience any challenges preparing for the event in such a short time?
Absolutely! We are well-versed with coming up with multiple Plan Bs. First, the town lost power and we had to set up the finish line in the pouring rain with no power. We also had no cell service in the area, so we were using old-school methods of communicating with our team. Additionally, since we were working with a tv production team, the event was scheduled to fit within the tight production schedule.
Despite all the hiccups along the way, we were still able to pull off something that looked seamless on the screen. One of the reasons why Returning the Favor chose to hire us because our mission aligned with the mission of the show – helping the community.
Why do you like managing events for non-profits?
Cancer has touched both of our lives in similar ways. I, Christine, have been cancer-free for 10 years and Lisa for 12 years. Both of us have lost parents to cancer, and we’re fortunate that now we’re healthy, we can give back and make a difference. I also was at the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off in 2013. I was traumatized for a long time, but the experience opened up my eyes to what’s important in life. The following year, I was given a free bib and ran Boston again as a survivor to finish the race.
After that, Lisa who was already involved in the non-profit world, and I partnered together to become more involved in local non-profits so we could start giving back to our communities in an impactful way. Since then, we have been dedicated to helping non-profits across New Hampshire and New England bring their running races from idea to fruition.