The Return of the Iron Phi Running Trip – 6 Countries, 12+ Cities, 150 Landmarks

Three and half years ago, I found myself running through the National Parks of Utah, elated to be on my annual Iron Phi running trip that had become a staple in my life. I was in my zone. What started as harebrained idea back in 2012, became an annual holiday for me; An opportunity to turn my love for travel and running into a journey with impact on the ALS and Phi Delta Theta communities. Along the way, I was able to bring many friends with me, strengthening relationships, having fun, and exposing them to the amazing joys of exploration with a purpose.

Then, COVID happened. The pandemic threw a wrench in all of our lives, including mine, and other things took priority as we tried to figure out the unknown. Unfortunately, the annual running trip was one of those things that was placed on the back burner. So much has changed since 2019, but one thing hasn’t – my desire to get back in my shoes and make the running trip a staple again.

So, here we are. The Iron Phi running trip is back in 2023, and I want to do it in style! This will be my ninth running trip, and it will incorporate much of my travel from May-December. I’ll be combining the traditional week of exploration in one area this May (Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Olympic National Park), with my work travel surrounding the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award this summer (San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta), and topping it off with international flare over the Christmas holiday (Paris, Germany, London, Lisbon).

A common theme of my running trips has been to share the experience with others, and this year’s will be no different. My wife Tillie and long-time friend and boss Sean Wagner will be joining me in the Pacific NW, I’ll get to share the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award travel with many awesome friends, family members, and colleagues, and the international travel will have my wife, kids, and sister-in-law Jadee’s family by my side.

The Goal:

Visit 150 landmarks in 6 countries during my 2023 travels (and runs), recognize a donor at each, and raise $6,000+ for Iron Phi in the process.

Iron Phi

The Cause:

I will once again be raising funds for Iron Phi, a program I helped develop at Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity to support Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) research while developing college men through leadership training opportunities. Since 2010, 8,300+ individuals have signed up for Iron Phi, 1,600+ have become Iron Phis (raised $1,000 and achieved an athletic event), and we’ve collectively raised $3.47 million. It’s been an amazing (and quite fulfilling ride).

Iron Phi now works hand-in-hand with The Live Like Lou Foundation, an entity that Phi Delta Theta has helped scale to a national scope. My friend and mentor Neil Alexander and his wife Suzanne started Live Like Lou in Pittsburgh when Neil was diagnosed with ALS, and they did many amazing things, including funding the creation of the Live Like Lou Center for ALS Research at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute. Neil wanted Live Like Lou to be a national organization, and I have the honor of working every day with the Live Like Lou team to make this dream a reality and Leave ALS Better Than We Found It. We’re making amazing impact to support families affected by ALS, fund ALS research to find treatments or cures for Lou Gehrig’s disease, and honor Lou Gehrig’s legacy.

My fundraising goal for this year’s running trip is $6,000+, nearing $37,500 raised during these trips over the years.

To celebrate the generosity of those who donate, I’ll be continuing the scavenger hunt approach. Below is a list of all the locations (150 to be exact) that I will attempt to visit this year. In return for a donation, you’ll get a picture of me with a personalized thank you sign that recognizes you in front of a landmark during that run. I will be blogging throughout the year, and my posts will include the pictures thanking donors. Make sure to include which landmark you want to support when you make your donation. Runner’s Choice stops are in-the-moment landmarks that are spontaneous. I can’t wait to thank you!

You can make a donation on this page by clicking on the “Make a Donation” link below my fundraising total. You can also send a check made out to Iron Phi to me if you’d rather donate that way. Message me on Facebook for my address.

The Schedule:

Sunday, April 30 – A Trip Around Olympic National Park

  • Washington State CapitolTaylor & Haley Abel
  • Hoh Rain ForestJosh Ehlen
  • La Push BeachLinda Carlson
  • Kurt Cobain’s Childhood HomeTyler Wear
  • Rialto BeachAndy Tu
  • Olympic National Park SignRoger Heineken
  • Lake CrescentTiffany Conrad
  • Olympic National ParkBret Zimmerman
  • Runner’s ChoiceBrad & Mindy Carlson
  • Runner’s ChoiceLawrence & Brandy Cunningham
  • Runner’s Choice – Bryan & Kristin Pates

Make a Donation

Monday, May 1 – Tacoma, Washington

  • Museum of GlassDylan Berg
  • Chihuly Bridge of GlassBill & Lindy Good
  • Union StationMike & Deb Sedlacek
  • Old City HallThe Purdys
  • Graffiti GaragesDebbie Smith
  • McMenamin’s Elks TempleEvan Newman
  • Stadium High SchoolKeith & Susan Berg
  • University of Puget SoundJoe Newland
  • Point RustonThe Etlers
  • Point Defiance Park – Japanese GardenJennifer Morrow
  • Snoqualmie Falls – Bill Wittress
  • Runner’s ChoiceElissa Christmas
  • Runner’s ChoiceNolan Pattee
  • Runner’s Choice Myra Durtitsch

Make a Donation

Tuesday, May 2 – Seattle, Washington

  • T-Mobile Park – MarinersScott Lynch
  • Lumen Field – SeahawksThe Longneckers
  • King Street StationThe Jensens
  • ChinatownBrad & Lindsay Klein
  • Pioneer SquareDebbie Smith
  • Central Public LibraryDavid McDonald
  • Seattle Great WheelRoger & Paula Griffith
  • Gum WallDon Schenk
  • Pike Place Fish Market Scott Lynch
  • Original StarbucksWendy Faust
  • Seattle WaterfrontJanine Kock
  • Olympic Sculpture ParkNolan Pattee
  • Space NeedleMike Hyatt
  • Climate Pledge Arena – KrakenThe Wechslers
  • Queen Anne/Kerry ParkRandy & Lori Good
  • Runner’s ChoiceThe Etlers
  • Runner’s ChoiceLawrence & Brandy Cunningham
  • Runner’s Choice – The Loonsfoots

Make a Donation

Wednesday, May 3 – Seattle, Washington

  • Capitol HillThe Jensens
  • Fremont TrollMike Scarlatelli
  • University of WashingtonJohn & Susan Klein
  • Husky StadiumBill Wittress
  • George Washington BridgeJanine Kock
  • Volunteer ParkTaylor & Haley Abel
  • Bruce and Brandon Lee Grave SitesWilliam Ramsey
  • Gas Works ParkKevin Marks
  • Green Lake ParkMike & Deb Sedlacek
  • Lake UnionRandy & Lori Good
  • Runner’s ChoiceAndrew Cole
  • Runner’s ChoiceTaylor & Haley Abel
  • Runner’s Choice – Drew Miller
  • Runner’s Choice – Chris Shrader
  • Runner’s Choice – Jamie & Andrea Beard

Make a Donation

Thursday, May 4 – Vancouver, British Columbia

  • Museum of VancouverJoe & Jessica Vonsak
  • Granville Island GiantsAndrew Norrie
  • The BirdsThe Purdys
  • Science WorldNicholas Scalice
  • Trans Am TotemMike & Debbie Purdy
  • Rogers Arena – Canucks Jami Touney
  • Jimi Hendrix ShrineBrad & Kelly Becker
  • ChinatownThe Etlers
  • Hotel EuropeThe Jensens
  • GastownMario Villa
  • Spiral Staircase to NowhereDebbie Smith
  • Gastown Steam ClockKerrie Herren
  • Marine BuildingDean & Carla Breneman
  • Orca Whale Statue at the Convention CenterJanine Kock
  • A-Maze-Ing LaughterBill & Lindy Good
  • The SeawallJay Longnecker
  • Stanley Park – Girl in a Wetsuit StatueAdam & Lindsey Good
  • Runner’s ChoiceLawrence & Brandy Cunningham
  • Runner’s ChoiceMike & Deb Sedlacek

Make a Donation

Friday, May 5 – Vancouver, British Columbia

  • University of British ColumbiaRyan Boatman
  • Wreck BeachDean & Carla Breneman
  • Pacific Spirit Regional ParkScott Mietchen
  • Museum of AnthropologyThe Loonsfoots
  • Jericho Beach ParkAllan Williams
  • Cambie Climbing TreeAndrew Nurse
  • Capilano Suspension BridgeAndy Tu
  • Capilano Salmon HatcheryCory & Jennifer Hanson
  • Grouse Grind Kyle & Ashley Schilling
  • Lions Gate BridgeJosh Ehlen
  • Horseshoe BayRandy & Lori Good
  • Lynn Canyon – Suspension BridgeTim Bell
  • Runner’s ChoiceTravis & Steph Griffith
  • Runner’s ChoiceJoe & Jessica Vonsak
  • Runner’s ChoiceThe Moyers
  • Runner’s Choice – The Woods
  • Runner’s Choice – Rich Hansen

Make a Donation

Summer – Baseball Stadiums

  • Oracle Park – San Francisco GiantsAlex Stefanic
  • Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles DodgersColin Hueser
  • Busch Stadium – St. Louis CardinalsSparky Reardon
  • Truist Field – Atlanta BravesJeremy Sale
  • Chase Field – Arizona DiamondbacksDrew Miller
  • Guaranteed Rate Field – Chicago White SoxJonathan & Emily Hernandez

Make a Donation

December 17-19 – Paris, France + Germany

  • Eiffel TowerRyan & Nicole Galles
  • Notre Dame Cathedral – Tom & Colleen Good
  • The LouvreAndrew McGuire
  • Arc de TriompheDAWG Davidson
  • Avenue des Champs-ÉlyséesKatie Jacobs
  • Seine RiverStephen Bloomer
  • Parisian CaféChris Loschiavo
  • Moulin RougeBen Fleming
  • Sacré-CoeurKeith Wysocki
  • MontmartreTyler Cronk
  • Luxembourg GardenStephen Bloomer
  • Latin QuarterBen Fleming
  • PanthéonChris Loschiavo
  • Pont Alexandre III BridgeLinda Carlson
  • German Christmas MarketBrad & Mindy Carlson
  • Spangdahlem U.S. Air Force BaseMike & Debbie Purdy
  • Drinking German Beer – Bret Zimmerman
  • Eating German FoodBrad & Mindy Carlson
  • Runner’s Choice John Read

Make a Donation

December 24-26 – London, England

  • Big Ben/Palace of WestminsterRob & Julie Waltz
  • Tower BridgeMarc & Jennifer Mores
  • London EyeAllan Hammell
  • Hyde ParkJim Rosencrans
  • Tower of LondonJosh Ehlen
  • Buckingham PalaceTom & Colleen Good
  • Westminster AbbeyTom & Colleen Good
  • Borough MarketKyle Prager
  • Regent’s ParkLaura Voisin George
  • Trafalgar SquareMike Hyatt
  • The UndergroundAndy Tomka
  • Piccadilly CircusMike Hyatt
  • Shakespeare Globe TheatreThe Wechslers
  • Abbey RoadSparky Reardon
  • Original Hard Rock CafeNat Love
  • Wembley StadiumChris Loschiavo
  • Eating Fish & ChipsKevin Marks
  • Drinking in a PubAndrew Laporte
  • Runner’s ChoiceRobbie Marsden
  • Runner’s ChoiceAndrew Norrie
  • Runner’s ChoiceDebbie Smith
  • Runner’s ChoiceLawrence & Brandy Cunningham
  • Runner’s Choice – Jason Brannon

Make a Donation

December 28-30 – Lisbon, Portugal

  • Belem TowerJosh Ehlen
  • Time Out MarketMike & Deb Purdy
  • Tram 28Mark Pleiss
  • St. George’s CastleAndrew Carlson
  • National PalaceMike & Deb Sedlacek
  • Lisbon CathedralRobbie Nunes
  • Praca do ComercioAndrew Norrie
  • Monument to the DiscoveriesThe Purdys
  • Eating PasteisRoss & Megan Roti
  • Rossio Square (Praça de Dom Pedro IV)Ross & Megan Roti
  • Santa Justa ElevatorShane & Jenna Omann
  • Alfama QuarterAndy Tu
  • Barrio Alto QuarterThe Jensens
  • Convento do CarmoAdam & Lindsey Good
  • Jeronimos MonasteryBronk & Jessica Harms
  • Lisbon’s Tiled BuidlingsTim Bell
  • Runner’s ChoiceLawrence & Brandy Cunningham
  • Runner’s ChoiceMatt & Jessi Good
  • Runner’s ChoiceJay Longnecker
  • Runner’s ChoiceAaron & Lindsey Good
  • Runner’s Choice – Travis & Steph Griffith
  • Runner’s Choice – Fred Reimer

Make a Donation

I hope that you’ll share this incredible adventure by supporting me in my journey. Your donations will be put to great use, helping us battle ALS and supporting college-aged men as they become the greatest version of themselves.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


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