New Mud Run by a Couple Eager to Serve
Saturday May 11, 2019 ~ Ashlea Surles WLOS News 13
Mud runs have become a very popular event over the last decade, attracting people of all skills from the couch potatoes to the trained athletes. These races can vary in distance from a mile to 20+ miles with many obstacles and mud pits for the competitor to conquer, with much climbing, crawling, even at some events dodging electric wires or jumping fire. But this mud run have the most unique story behind it.
Saturday May 11, 2019 was the first mud run by Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Endurance in the Asheville area, including 4 miles and 30 obstacles, but not including the shocking electric wires. I talked to the race director and his wife as the end racers were crossing the finish line. It was the perfect day for a race, with a cool breeze and a warm sun. At first it was difficult to pull this couple away from the sidelines as they cheered the finishers in. “This is a very special day for us. I have taken a break from putting on mud runs since moving here from the Savannah area almost 2 years ago, but this was a first of many to come on our new 10 acre lot. Our mud run is different because there are many companies out there that are making large profits for themselves, but 100% of the proceeds are being donated to the local foster care facilities and to orphans in India and Haiti,” said Steve White, huddle leader for the FCA Endurance Team of Asheville.
When asked why they chose to hold a mud run and why there are so many racers out today, Leigh White former physical therapist said, “It is challenging and fun. You don’t know what to expect with the obstacles, the elite athletes can push themselves to new levels and test their abilities, and it is motivating for those that have not raced before to get going with training for the first time because they can fall in the mud and just laugh at themselves with their buddy. We love to bring people together to have healthy fun. What a blessing it is go give to our community in this way.”
The Whites have a big heart for orphaned children, having adopted 3 themselves. They have Shea age 8 from India, then Abigail age 5 who they birthed 3 months after bringing Shea home and after 5 and ½ years of Leigh not having a cycle. Next they have Samuel age 2 African American from Georgia having him since birth. Then not even a year ago, they adopted Isaac age 4 mixed Caucasian/African American out of foster care. “It was a hard time for me when we were wanting to get pregnancy, not able to understand why it was so easy for some people to get pregnant and not even want it, and then for me to not be able to,” said Leigh. “God really used that time of waiting to teach me that He was enough, even if I didn’t ever have children, but I never gave up hope. We kept changing our minds with how we were going to adopt the first time, but we learned a lot about the different processes and needs until God led us to our sweet, energetic Shea. Now we understand a new level of God’s love for us because we are not Hebrew, God’s first chosen people. We are adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ’s death. Adoption is not second best to us, it is His plan of showing His amazing love and forgiveness. We work to share the message of hope to anyone who is open to listen.”
The Whites had financial struggles for a few years and are now living their dreams really giving back to their community, without a normal 8-5 type job. Leigh explains how this was done, “Steve tried a couple ministry jobs and found out that though he had flexibility of his schedule, he had more admin work and less of what he enjoyed with being with and helping people, and it became tight with bringing two girls home and me not working physical therapy and more to stay home. He is gifted at teaching, encouraging and organizing events to bring people together to serve and have fun. I wanted him to enjoy doing that again without the hardship of making sure he was doing enough to provide for the family.” The White’s children were playing in the child care area with bounce houses. A volunteer brought little Samuel over. He was tired from all the fun and needed to cuddle in his mommy’s lap for a bit.
“I became very passionate about nutrition after God lead me to that to help heal my body and have a healthy pregnancy and baby after the doctors said I wouldn’t get pregnant unless I took medication. I knew I had a great product to share providing concentrated fruits and vegetables to people’s diets, but I didn’t know how to work this type of job with network marketing, being my own boss to motivate myself and leading others.”
So how did she overcome this challenge? “I knew my product was great, the company and mission were great, and the only reason I couldn’t build a team to share with more people was because of me and a wrong mindset. I needed help and accountability and was looking for a service or program, but how do you choose with all the options out there and they were a big investment too that I was not sure would pay off. I was very tired of being stuck. Then one day I found what I was looking for! I was presented a chance to apply for a scholarship and prayed that if God would open the door for me to get in, that He would use it to help me change my way of thinking so I could eliminate the fear and bad habits that were holding me back and help others needing to hear about nutrition. I am thankful God led me to Master Key Mastermind Alliance.”
What does this Alliance look like? “We have to give at least an hour every day for 6 months to read, think of who we want to become, train our brains to think the way we want them to think, and keep our promises, starting with small things like chores, then celebrating accomplishments and growing in increased challenges.” I learned to prioritize my time and get my subconscious mind to work for me, eliminating false thoughts, linking what I wanted to do to with other tasks and doing the work I knew I needed to do for my business. Actions just started happening without hesitation.”
How all do you give back to the community? “We use this land for a ropes course and trust activities especially for church youth groups. Foster children come out and play and learn skills about building as Steve teaches them as he builds and preps for his races. There is a small lake on the land so a triathlon will be held here next year in September. Anyone can come and use the land with boats, fishing, playground, man-made beach, picnic tables, and more.
We are involved with our local church leading discipleship programs to help Christians grow in their faith by reading Scripture and praying regularly. We have a Bible study at our house weekly and a foster/adoption support group that meets every other week to share experiences/frustrations, and pray for each other through their journey, since it can take a long time and be hard to wait. We help others keep hope strong, focusing on Christ to get them through tough times, then progress on to their unique calling, the reason God has them here.
Now what do the Whites enjoy doing? We mountain bike the beautiful landscape of Asheville, and Shea is getting into it too now. Their girls are in gymnastics and even show off some skills in the grass here as the mud run is concluding. They take their boat out for touring the lakes of Asheville, wake boarding, inner tubing for the kids, and take pastors out with their family and friends for a fun time.
The last racers come in, looking a little tired, very muddy, but with big smiles, giving high fives to the White’s with congratulations of their accomplishment, looking very proud.