Some people think running a 10K or a 5K is a lot of effort, but one Woodstock man is taking the MUST Ministries Gobble Jog to a whole new level.
On Thanksgiving morning, Nathan Fowler, 37, will get up early and run 14 miles to the Gobble Jog on the Marietta Square from his home near Towne Lake. He plans to arrive before the 10K so he can meet one of his brothers who is his marathon partner — they are part of a family of 10 children — and compete in the 6.2-mile competition.
Next, Fowler will move from the finish line to the starting line and run the timed 5K while he waits for his family to arrive for the untimed 5K. Again, he will move from the finish line to the starting line and walk the untimed event with his wife and two young children. “My son is 5, so he will be fine for some of the race, then he may get in the double stroller with his little sister,” he said.
“Our family has participated in the Gobble Jog for at least five years,” Fowler said. “This year, I was putting together the family team and thought, ‘I wonder how far it is from here to the Marietta Square?’
“I figured it out. It’s 14 miles. With the three Gobble Jog races, that adds ups to a little more than a marathon – 26.4 miles. I could get in a marathon and only have to take one car to the race!” he said, laughing.
Fowler, who was homeschooled and is now a photographer with Mileshko, is part of a company that has helped MUST Ministries produce videos and donated time to the organization. This year, his father, also a photographer, will be flying a camera drone and helping capture the excitement of one of America’s largest Thanksgiving Day races, right on the Marietta Square.
His running journey began about nine years ago. “I was 25-yrs.-old and looked in a mirror. I was 50 pounds overweight and thought I didn’t look fit. I wondered where I’d be physically when I had kids and grandkids. I couldn’t afford a gym membership,” he laughed, “So I bought a pair of running shoes and ran out the door.
“I couldn’t run a mile and I nearly (got sick). But in 6-12 weeks, I started enjoying it,” he stated. “I’ve run the Georgia Jewel, a 50K in Dalton and just finished the Sky to Summit in Sky Valley, a 30-mile trek with 14,000 feet of climbing.”
Fowler said he often wins his age group in 5K races but is excited about the endurance courses he’s competing in now and he loves running for a great cause like MUST Ministries.
Fowler said his days of yo-yo dieting and exercise are over too, thanks to an F3 (Fitness – Faith-Fellowship) group in Cherokee County. “F3 is a national network of men who meet in public places to work out, run, host boot camps, pray together and encourage each other to be better fathers and husbands,” he explained. We have 400 men in our chapter, and when I travel, I visit other groups. The day before the Gobble Jog, he’ll be working out with F3 in Chicago.
The Gobble Jog is slated for Nov. 28 and registration is still open at www.gobblejog.org. All proceeds go to help those living in poverty who need food, housing, jobs and clothing. MUST is a great cause,” Fowler said, “and if I can be a part of growing this ministry, that’s very cool.”
MUST Ministries is one of the largest charities in Cherokee County, serving more than 4,350 unduplicated clients a year. Cherokee residents in need can come to the Canton location for food and clothing Monday-Friday and 522 came for job assistance this year. In addition, more than 500 Thanksgiving boxes are being distributed from the Cherokee location and at-risk student are being served by MUST school food pantries.
Summer Lunch distributed 245,200 lunches to hungry children, many of whom were in Cherokee. MUST also provides a large Permanent Supportive Housing Program in Cherokee, housing people with disabilities who were formerly homeless. A program to help homeless clients get temporary hotel shelter until a more stable housing option is found by a housing case manager is also in place locally at MUST. Currently. MUST is collecting toys and essentials like blankets, underwear, socks, gloves, hats and scarves for the annual Toy Shop opening in Riverside Plaza in early December. For ways to help, visit mustministries.org or email email@example.com.