First time marathoner pledges race to Habitat for Humanity

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- While freezing temperature are keeping most of us indoors this weekend, some are already thinking about getting outside and running the 2018 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

“It’s kind of a crazy thing to say you want to run 26.2 miles,” says 18-year-old Sam Ricker. But in May of 2018 – it’ll be just crazy enough.

Ricker has been running since he was 10-years-old participating in both cross country and track at West De Pere High School, before graduating in June.

Ricker has run a handful of 5K, 10K and half-marathon races, but decided to dedicate his first full-marathon to Habitat for Humanity.

“Running a marathon, or training for a marathon, is a really good opportunity to bring awareness to a good cause, like Habitat for Humanity,” he says.

Every year runners raise between $10,000 and $15,000 for charities by running the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

Organizers say fundraising helps give runners the push to keep on moving.

“I think when you have you have that purpose for why you're trying to accomplish it, more than just running 26.2 miles, it definitely keeps you encouraged, and keeps you going throughout your training,” says Kelly Englebert, Fundraising Coordinator, Cellcom Green Bay Marathon.

For Ricker, that’s Habitat for Humanity – using recent freezing weather to remind him why he runs.

“People who live in the Green Bay Area, and especially in Wisconsin, get really cold in the winter months,” he says. “And what they're doing is amazing, building homes for people who are less fortunate.”

“For an organization like the Cellcom Marathon to give back to charities throughout the community on a continual basis, is amazing,” says Cora Haltaufderheid, Executive Director of Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity. “But when you see a young man such as Sam, that wants to donate and dedicate his time, his efforts to a charity that he really only heard about, it something that really touches deep in your heart.”

While the journey has just begun, Ricker is already looking forward to those he will help by crossing the finish line.

“I'm kind of taking others along with me on this path to completing a marathon,” he says. “So that when I do finish the marathon, when I cross the finish line, I’m thinking, ‘Okay yay! I didn't just do this for me. But I helped everybody else that I'm raising money for.’”

Ricker hopes to raise at least $500 for Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity.