Three for the Road: Tellurunners to Big Apple Marathon

Three for the Road: Tellurunners to Big Apple Marathon

Help put the wind under the feet of Tellurunners Gabby Anstey McDonald and Robyn Shaw by donating to the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. Donate to Gabby here; donate to Robyn here. To support Melissa Ramponi and endangered young people through Team World Vision, go here

Gabby, Robin and Muffy White.

Gabby, Robyn, and Muffy White running for Team GDMF.


Melissa Ramponi at first NYC Marathon.

Melissa Ramponi at first NYC Marathon.

Why traverse five boroughs, punishing your body by pounding 26.2 miles of hard Big Apple pavement and bridges?

Nature’s home-brewed opiates could be one answer.

Endorphins guarantee a Rocky Mountain high even at sea level.These are chemicals that act a lot like their medically engineered twin: morphine. Runners have credited endorphins for their feel-good effects for decades, but it wasn’t until 2008 that German researchers used brain scans to identify exactly where these neurotransmitters originate. Scientists found that during two-hour-long runs, subjects’ pre-frontal and limbic regions (which light up in response to emotions like love) spewed out the good vibrations. The greater the endorphin surge, the more runners experienced feelings of invincibility, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, even a loss in sense of time.

Is it because you revel in the 15 (more really) minutes of fame, cheered on by throngs as you run by?

Is it for the glory of crossing the finish line in Central Park?

For the carbalicious dinner with family and friends later?

All the high-fiving?

Or is there something more to the story?

All of the above counts, but yes, of course the rationale for running goes deeper – especially if you are one of three “Tellurunners” (thanks Gabby) heading back to New York for a second and third time to run in the 2016 marathon, Sunday, November 6.

These highly intelligent women with great careers and excellent calves are leaving their very supportive husbands home to care for the kiddos so they can race to help ensure the future of others facing challenges that make 26.2 miles look like, well, a walk in the park.

Gabby Anstey McDonald and Robyn Shaw are running in support of the Glen Doherty Memorial Fund; Melissa Ramponi for Team World Vision.

Glen Doherty was one of the four Americans killed in a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, on September 12, 2012. His foundation is a great way to honor the man’s life and convictions.

According to Glen’s website, the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation provides current and former special operations professionals from all branches of the government the means necessary to transition and succeed in civilian life. Funds also enable the children and families of these soldiers to mature and grow through recreation.

Glen Doherty

Glen Doherty


Glen believed in education, improving oneself, and building skills. He believed life should be earned by hard work and hard play, that we should celebrate the beautiful world that we live in, recreate as much as humanly possible. We should help others and surround ourselves with people we respect, those who challenge us to become better people.

People like Gabby and Robyn, whose goal is to pay it forward, to spread Glen’s love and passion for life to as many individuals as possible by putting their money where their running shoes, are hoping to raise at least as much as they did last year, over $40,000+ for the cause.

Glen again, smiling from his perch in a copter.

Glen again, smiling from his perch in a copter.

“Last year was a total blast,” said Gabby. “So much energy, 50,000 people running, the streets lined with cheering fans the entire way. Even though I grew up in New York and lived there for over 20 years, I learned so much new: saw bridges I’d never heard of; Brooklyn is f*****g huge; and Staten Island… Finally got to set foot on Staten Island. It was an unbelievable rush. And knowing I had raised money for an amazing cause in order to discover all that I discovered, made the whole experience even better. I felt great, the weather was perfect. Hopefully the stars will align again this year.” 

Team World Vision began in 2005 under the direction of (current National Director) Michael Chitwood.

Michael’s life changed physically, emotionally, and spiritually after running his first marathon. He felt called to start a team that could bring the experience to others and, at the same time, help those living in poverty and suffering abuse around the world.

In 2006, Team World Vision had just over 100 runners in the Chicago Marathon. In 2010, more than 1,200 Team World Vision runners raised over $1 million dollars.

In general, the money raised by TWV provides children and communities in Africa with clean water with one exception: money raised at the NYC Marathon goes to help with World Vision’s child protection efforts.

According to the World Vision website, millions of children are trapped by violence, war, child labor, and trafficking. World Vision protects children by looking out for their well-being: ensuring that communities are actively working to identify and support children in need; advocating for children’s rights; and providing for immediate needs, such as emergency shelter and essential care.

More on Gabby Anstey McDonald (in her own words):

Gabby with Zach & Lily.

Gabby with Zach & Lily.

I have lived in Telluride for 22 years. Same old story: I came after college for one year and never left.

I am a web and graphic designer. Met my husband Lance McDonald 16 years ago: we’ve been married 10. Lance has been super supportive of my marathon adventures. We have two kids: Lily, age eight and Zach, age six.

I grew up in New York, so the New York marathon has been on my bucket list since I was a teenager. Last year, Robyn and I made it happen and also got the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation on board. We managed to raise over $40,000.

The whole experience was such a blast, we decided we wanted to go back for more.

I have already raised over $5000 personally (both Robyn and I), but we would love to raise as much as possible for the cause.

Please note: Telluride Inside… and Out could not, ahem, run without Gabby. She is our go-to techie and designed many of the ads you see on the site.

More about Robyn Shaw (from Robyn):

Robyn & friend.

Robyn & Gabby in retro ski gear at the TSSC/TMS fundraiser, 2015.

I have lived in Telluride for about 17 years. Moved here to ski with a group of friends in late-fall  1994.

I took about six-year break between 1998- 2003, when I moved to Manhattan for work opportunities, but I moved back here to raise my family. I feel fortunate to have remained in Telluride since then.

I am very happily married to my wonderful and amazingly supportive husband Mark Kozak. We have three children: Gerritt, age 14; Caroline, age 12; and Finley-Jane, age three.

I am an interior designer and have been partners with Victoria Crawford in Tweed Interiors since late-November 2007.

I love to run; have raced a bunch. This will be my third New York marathon.

We have an amazing team this year: five GDMF bib spots and two lottery bibs running on Team GDMF. The line-up includes Aria McElhenny, Muffy White, Barnaby Prendergast, Michael Stanton, Jim Fantini, Gabby, and me.

Four of us ran last year, part of the team that raised over $40,000 sponsoring three GDMF scholarships.

Gabby and I have been training hard again this year. In case you were wondering, yes, it is difficult managing family, work, and running, but somehow we pull it off. In the end, it is always worth every minute of nail-biting.

We are running again for Glen. A simple way to contribute to his foundation and “to help keep his memory alive through active pursuits that he loved.” (From his website.)

For the record, Glen was one of the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya on September 12, 2012. He was a former Navy Seal (pilot, sniper and Hospital Medic level 1), who at that time was working for the CIA.

I knew Glen was going to Libya. I had spoken to him standing on the corner of Baked in Telluride and O’B’s just five days before his departure.

Glen was a childhood friend; we met when I was 10 or 11. We remained friends, but became very very close over the last 15 years of his life.

Glen visited Telluride over a half-dozen times, enjoying hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.

Glen was very smart, funny, caring, charismatic, tough, electric, dedicated, beyond full of life. Simply a wonderful person to know (and cherish).

Glen’s loss was devastating. I think about him every day.

So I will – we all will – run for Glen and to support the life he believed in for everyone.

That’s what keeps me going.

That’s what preserves Glen’s memory.

About Melissa Ramponi (in her own words):



I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. At age 25, I moved with Luca Ramponi from San Antonio to Telluride in June 2000 to hook up with friends. I had just finished graduate school in English at the University of Texas.

Luca and I wanted cooler temperatures and a slower pace of life, so the mountains made sense. Usual story: we had planned to stay for two years then move to the Pacific Northwest, but we never left. Marriage, a house, two kids, and two cats later, Telluride is home.

After many years in the restaurant business, a three-year run at Kinder Morgan, and teaching college English online, I am now in resting and rejuvenation mode: I needed to slow down and enjoy my family more, soak in my life, and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

I became a runner in spring 2014, when my friend Beth Kelly (of Big Colorado Love) texted me saying I should join her in Jill Burchmore’s weekly running class. The kicker: class started THE NEXT DAY. I’m a big “Yes” person, so I called Jill that night and went to class the next morning. I have been attending Jill’s classes ever since.

Running is hard, raw, and freeing. I realized right away that running was my freedom, the missing link in my life. Running gave me the okay to leave my house just for me: not for groceries, errands, school meetings, etc. Just for me.

What’s more, Luca is in favor of me going for a run because I return calmer and more relaxed for the rest of the day. Running shows our kids that everyday efforts (big or small) pay off in strong health and a sense of accomplishment. At many of my races, our kids cheer me on and see me accomplishing goals outside of raising them.

I start training every spring with Jill, maintaining a strict and flexible five-day-a-week program that builds in time and miles. My races tend to be in the fall, so I run about a 26-week schedule, building up to near 20 miles for marathon training. My workouts consist of easy jogs, speed intervals, and the long-slow runs that for me stretch to three to four hours on trails and roads.

Melissa running Sneffels.

Melissa running Sneffels.

Currently, I am running with Team World Vision for the NYC Marathon on November 6. With TWV, I am fundraising in support of vulnerable and exploited children, who have been abused by the commercial sex trade, sold into labor camps, experienced female mutilation, child bride arrangements, and other horrors happening every day on a global scale. The money funds the needs of this population and also provides community education programs to stop the waking nightmares from happening. One positive example of World Vision efforts is the newly implemented Amber Alert in Africa.

Running with Team World Vision in the NYC Marathon gives me the ultimate challenge of running for freedom: I run for my freedom and for the freedom of others, particularly children who have no voice and no basic human rights in all too many parts of the world. My goal is to raise over $15,000 to help these children regain their lives and to help stop the potential harm of other children. Freedom is our greatest gift.

I am currently at $7,039. More for me is more for those in need.

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