My Iron Phi Experience – $8,000 Raised & 100 Holes of Golf in One Day

This week our blog series will feature a variety of Phi Delta Theta Foundation Donors, highlighting various categories and opportunities Phi Delta Theta has for members and alumni to give back.

Today, an Iron Phi will share his story. The Iron Phi program was developed to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease through fundraising and athletic efforts. Those members who chose to participate must accomplish an athletic endeavor of their choice (i.e. triathlons, cycling events, golf) and raise $1,000 through the Iron Phi website.

Tyler Kreutzer of Tennessee Zeta (Belmont) shares his experience of becoming an Iron Phi. This summer, Tyler raised more than $8,000 and completed 100 holes of golf in one day.

“I became aware of the Iron Phi program when I became a member of the Tennessee Zeta Chapter two years ago and read about some of the accomplishments of other Phi Delts.”

“My own personal journey began when our family physician and dear friend, Dr. Richard Borman, was diagnosed with ALS.  The news was devastating to my family.   Having been a competitive golfer in high school with a continued enjoyment of the sport, I chose to incorporate golf into my quest to become an Iron Phi.  I chose to play 100 holes of golf in a day, and my goal was to raise a minimum of $5,000 for ALS and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.”

“I was overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family and had over seventy donors.  One donor even gave $1,000!  The donations were not only a testimonial to Dr. Borman, but also a testament to my passion and commitment to raise money for two very worthy causes.   I also believe that my high level of success (I raised over $8,000) can be partially attributed to putting a face to the event.”

“I started my golf marathon at dawn and spent the next ten hours on the golf course, through heat, rain and wind.  I had four friends with me for the entire day including Dr. Borman.  They kept me motivated with encouragement and advice, searched for stray balls and made food and water runs.  The emotional highlight of the day was when Dr. Borman and I played the 100th hole together.”

“How do I feel now?  I feel that no one can take this away from me.  My hands, feet and back were sore.  I was hot from the sun and wet from the rain, but I would not trade a second of that day for anything.”

“To future potential Iron Phis, I would say….go for it. It was a truly amazing experience and will continue to be one of the proudest moments of my life.”

To learn more or become an Iron Phi, visit www.ironphi.org for more information and to register.

How Do We Get Our Chapter Involved With Iron Phi?

As the Iron Phi program continues to progress, the number one question we receive is “How can we get our chapter involved?” While we generally try to promote the program as one for individuals, a collection of Phis from one chapter working together to become Iron Phis can essentially become a chapter event. We realize that chapters want to work together in the spirit of brotherhood as they work to become Iron Phis, and that is why we’d like to share a few creative ideas on how to implement Iron Phi at the chapter level.

Before we reveal some ideas, remember that the structure should remain the same for all of these events. Individuals who want to participate should register at the Iron Phi website, setup their individual fundraising pages and begin fundraising. As many brothers fundraise separately, the chapter’s total accumulates at your chapter’s team page. If brothers are collaborating on an event, your chapter captain can edit the chapter’s Iron Phi page to reflect what the brothers from your chapter are working to achieve. If your chapter does not have a chapter captain, email us at ironphi@phideltatheta.org to designate one.

There are two prerequisites to Iron Phi chapter events:

  • Be creative
  • Have fun

Idea #1 – Challenge Your Rival School’s Phi Delt Chapter – Does your school’s rival have a Phi Delt chapter? If so, a great way to implement a friendly competition is to challenge that chapter to an athletic event. Bragging rights can go to the chapter (school) who raises the most money, wins the event, or a combination of both. For example, if the rival football game is a big deal at your campus, team up with that Phi Delt chapter, race (not cars) to the midway point of your two campuses, or start at one campus and race to the other. Who knows, you may be able to deliver the game ball to the stadium on game day.

Idea #2 – Challenge Your Alumni – This is an idea that could bolster your alumni relations as well as philanthropic efforts. Put together a 5-10 man undergraduate team as well as a 5-10 alumni team to participate in a local race of choice. If a local race offers some type of relay event, bragging rights could go to the team that finishes first, raises the most money, or a combination of both. If the race does not offer a team relay, just add up the times of each individual on your team and the fastest team time wins.

Idea #3 – Participate in a Ragnar Relay Series Race – Check out www.ragnarrelay.com. Team relays such as these are gaining popularity throughout the world. Your chapter can put together a team and participate. Most of these races are long-distance, overnight treks, that allow your team to take turns racing. The brothers of New York Zeta recently fielded a team of 12 brothers in a Ragnar race that trekked 180 miles from Connecticut to Boston. They had a team van and utilized teamwork to reach the finish. Many of them raised money through the Iron Phi website in the process. Talk about brotherhood.

Idea #4 – Challenge Fellow Greeks – If you’re looking for a way to bring together fellow Greeks, work with the Philanthropy chairmen from all chapters to develop a competition. Find a local track, determine a number of laps that must be completed with a specific number of participants, and have each participating chapter raise money for their cause of choice prior to the competition. You could subtract a second from each chapter’s time for each dollar raised for their charity. Those individuals on the Phi Delt team could work towards becoming Iron Phis.

Idea #5 – Challenge Each Other – Probably the easiest way to get your chapter brothers involved with Iron Phi is to simply identify a local race in which many of you could participate. Having a common goal and motivating each other during the training for that race and the fundraising efforts is a powerful brotherhood tool. There are many athletic events in your community in which brothers might have an interest. Find one that works, identify the brothers who want to participate, and get training. See our featured Iron Phi events at www.ironphi.org, as we’d love to have you join us at one of these events. If not one of these races, search for something in your own community and challenge each other to become Iron Phis. You could even implement positive incentives to the brother(s) who raise the most money.

Once again, get creative, have fun, and work together in the spirit of the Fraternity to become Iron Phis. We promise you, it’ll be an experience you never forget.

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What Iron Phi Means to Me

By Jacob Ternes – Senior Leadership Consultant

When I was in High School I was an athlete, a multiple sport letterman and was in great shape. I ran on occasion and really enjoyed working out and getting a good sweat. Throughout my college years I played sports a little less, only intramurals and rec sports, ate a lot more than I should have, and didn’t work out nearly as often as I could have. By the time I graduated last year I was well over my playing weight (my Wii Fit mii was a tubby little guy), didn’t feel motivated to do anything, and was just tired all of the time.

Running by myself had never really been my thing.  I didn’t have a team around me to go work out with, so I had no motivation to get out there and get into shape. Iron Phi gave me the push that I needed to get back into a fitness routine. When Steve Good first brought up the idea to the staff I jumped on it. I thought that this was a chance to set a personal goal that would keep me motivated and was an opportunity to do charity fundraising like I never have before. Even though I was out of shape, I still considered myself to be an athletic person so I set my sights high.  I was going to complete the full marathon during the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon weekend. Twenty six point two miles can’t really be that bad, can it? I mean, I had five months to train for it.

Out on the road, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be much fun. Running by myself through places that I was not familiar with wasn’t my idea of a good time.  I had to spend money on new shoes because the shin splints were killing me, I was sore in muscles that I didn’t even know I had, and the laundry basket that I traveled with always reeked of sweaty workout clothing. I was not enjoying this running thing, but because I had made a commitment to myself and (more importantly) to others in the office I pushed through and kept up with my daily runs.

In the end it paid off.  On May 2nd 2010 I completed the Flying Pig Marathon in 4 hours and 38 minutes. Not too shabby for a guy who had never run a competitive race longer than 2 miles. The encouragement and congratulations that I received during my training and after the race (it appears all my friends thought I was crazy and wouldn’t make it) was great and now I’m actually enjoying the time that I spend running. I’m seriously considering running the half marathon in Dallas this year with other Iron Phis and the full again next year in Cincinnati. On a health note, I am 25 lbs lighter than I was 6 months ago, drink much less coffee because I have more energy, and I just all around feel better about myself.

Iron Phi has definitely helped me to get back to where I want to be fitness-wise and I am so proud of the $1,020.00 that I raised to support ALS and the Phi Delta Theta Foundation! Becoming an Iron Phi may not pile on the tangible incentives that we often greedily expect but the personal benefits that I received are extremely important to me.  I challenge everyone to set an Iron Phi goal and strive to achieve it.

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Iron Phi – Join the Brotherhood of Athletes

Iron-PhiWritten by Steve Good

Two years ago, I decided that it was time to check running a marathon off of my “Things to do before I get too old list.”  Despite spending my Saturdays in ice baths, going through two boxes of band-aids, losing two toenails, relying on Body Glide to get me through the week, and getting stuck behind a guy wearing nothing but a hospital gown and fake derriere during the race, I consider completing a marathon one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Memorable, yes, but I can’t say it was 100% rewarding.  Upon crossing the finish line, I had two immediate regrets: One, I had trained and raced alone, and two, I didn’t run with purpose.  Throughout the 26.2 mile trek, I was amazed by the passion and camaraderie of the many “charity runners” entered in the race.  These runners had trained with small groups and raised money for a cause during their quest to call themselves “marathoners” or “half-marathoners.”  While I was questioning my sanity and eating every banana within sight upon finishing, the charity runners were rejoicing their accomplishments in a wave of emotion, knowing that they had truly made a difference.

At that moment, a light bulb appeared.

Phi Delta Theta has an enormous network of brothers who enjoy life by the help and society of others.  We also have a truly unique partnership with The ALS Association; a partnership that many believe could be enhanced tenfold.

Enter Iron Phi.

Iron Phi is a new philanthropic initiative within Phi Delta Theta that has the potential to capture the energy, competitive drive, youthfulness, and philanthropic nature of our members.  Iron Phi’s mission is to strengthen the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and the impact it has on the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease through the fundraising and athletic efforts of its members.

To become an ”Iron Phi” members of Phi Delta Theta (undergraduates and alumni) must select an athletic endeavor (marathon, half-marathon, running relay, 5K, triathlon, ironman, bike race, etc.), raise $1,000 for that athletic event, and accomplish the athletic event itself. It is our goal to have a select number of large-scale Iron Phi events each year across North America, with the first one occurring at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati this May.  We also envision brothers becoming “Iron Phis” through chapter or individual-led athletic endeavors in local communities.

Fifty percent of Iron Phi fundraising dollars will be sent to The ALS Association as a donation made in your name.  The other half will support the Phi Delta Theta Foundation, strengthening the Fraternity’s future.  Benefits for Iron Phis include an Iron Phi Bond number, an Iron Phi performance shirt for your race, a chance to be on a MLB field for next year’s Lou Gehrig Award presentation, recognition of your accomplishment in The Scroll, and the personal satisfaction of competing with purpose and brotherhood.

Nicknamed the “Iron Horse” for his perseverance, Lou Gehrig considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of this earth” upon retirement despite having a terminal illness that ultimately took his life.  Lou was the ultimate Iron Phi.

So Phi Delts, let’s honor Brother Lou’s legacy through the development and growth of the Iron Phi program.  Will you join us?

To learn more about our plans, how you can become an Iron Phi, or how you can help, visit www.tinyurl.com/ironphi or become a fan of Iron Phi on Facebook.

After spending time as a Leadership Consultant and the Director of Expansion, Steve Good is now the Director of Education & Technology at GHQ. He spent his undergraduate days at Iowa State University and is currently working to obtain his MBA at Xavier University.