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Diamond Rio's Team Rio Raises over $90,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee

The 8th Annual Team Rio Participates in the 2012 St. Jude's Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Diamond Rio's Jimmy Olander and Gene Johnson both celebrated firsts on Saturday while participating in the St. Jude's Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon. Olander completed his first full marathon (26.2 miles) and Johnson completed his first half marathon (13.1 miles). Team Rio 2012 had over 100 adult runners and 60 Team Rio Kids participants from several local schools.

Last year Olander, Team Rio's Celebrity Running Captain, accomplished his goal of finishing the half marathon in less than two hours, but this year the high temperatures in Music City slowed him down.

"I finished about 30 minutes later than I had anticipated," explains Olander. "The heat zapped me this year and my hamstrings said, 'no sir!' around mile 14. That and my Chatty Cathy nature probably added another half an hour to my finish time. I am probably the biggest gossip runner you'll encounter. So to run the full I got a brand new set of ear phones that interfaces with my iPhone to pick up calls with friends and family during the race. They were awful! Mostly I couldn't hear my callers and our conversations boiled down to me yelling into the phones, 'What? Speak up I can't hear you?' I picked a call and after three attempts to get the caller to speak up I heard him yell back at me, 'I said this is Ryan from Verizon Wireless. Is your wife there? I need to speak to her about some overages!' Before I knew it I had cussed him out. 'I'm running a Marathon here! But hey, Dude, we need to get this straightened out. Try her at home or on her cell.' Then he wished me luck and I went back to cramping. I mean running. Well, cramping and running, cramping and walking, cramping and talking...yada, yada...."

Olander tweeted on race day: "It was a full day... 3:40 am coffee, 7am Country Music Marathon, 12:30pm ice bath, 4:00pm coach baseball, 7:30 and 10:00 pm Grand Ole Opry performances."

Diamond Rio's, Gene Johnson proudly finished his first half. He trained to participate in the last few CMM's but injuries always kept him from running. "Last year around marathon time I decided I was going to [run] in 2012. I trained to walk it before, but never to run. I hadn't jogged in 20 years. Take 20 years off from jogging and it's not like it was when I was younger! I spent most of my time race day trying not to get caught up in the excitement. I didn't want to change my pace from training. I heard some great bands out there, but I don't know if heat stroke set in because I couldn't remember where any of them were."

New this year, Team Rio added a spinning component to the fitness and fundraising efforts at the official Team Rio cheer station, FIT in the Gulch. Situated at the mile two marker, spinners participated by spinning 13.1 miles, while DJ Silver spun his own musical mashups to help pump up not only the spinners, but the passing marathon runners. "Ebie and I came up with this idea last year while cheering on the runners and wishing there was a way for us non-runners to be active while supporting Team Rio," shares Bryan Berndt, the owner of FIT in the Gulch. "We had an amazing time and we're looking forward to an even bigger spin-off next year!" Passing runners showed their appreciation for the spinners with waves, thumbs up, and dancing to the music as they ran.

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