A couple of months ago, a friend introduced me, and the Go! Malawi runners group, to Bud Summers. Our group of runners organize local races to raise funds for Midcoast native Janet Littlefield and her Go! Malawi non-profit that serves the orphan population of Malawi, Africa. This year, the goal is to send 60 orphan children to school. In Malawi, public education ends at grade 5 and without education, these children have little hope.

Over the past several years, we have raised more than $100,000 to help Janet’s children have a chance at a productive life. Currently there are two students finishing their senior year at Hebron Academy in Maine and preparing for college. In Malawi, we are helping more than 60 children and several of them are entering into college as well.

Our past destination marathons have been Death Valley in Arizona, New Orleans, Nashville, Tenn., Savannah, Ga. and this year our team will go to San Antonio, Tx. on Dec. 7.

Bud has a personal connection to Malawi, so the runners group focusing on “running with a purpose, for a purpose,” along with the mission statement that “we run for something bigger than ourselves,” intrigued him.

Bud asked questions, shared his desire to help the Go! Malawi runners group and offered to donate his services and to become involved in a meaningful way.

As a life coach and personal trainer living in Camden, Bud thought that there must be a way to use his skills to help Midcoast runners while working with Go! Malawi.

He decided that a guinea pig was needed and I volunteered. I sat down with him recently to look at my goals so he could create the plan. We will chronicle this adventure from start to finish and we will see what that looks like.

We decided to follow the journey in the newspaper for a couple of reasons. First, we want to use this as a bully pulpit to promote Go! Malawi runners, our mission, and the next destination marathon and the half-marathon run in San Antonio Dec. 7.

Second, I want to introduce you to Bud and a healthy way of living; I also like that he is donating a percentage of his profits from this program between Go! Malawi and other humanitarian causes that he personally supports.

Bud had his own wake-up call six years ago when “my doctors gave me bad news and told me I absolutely had to lose six inches from my waistline and drop 35 pounds. That was five years ago and I not only lost that weight but also kept the weight off and have stayed in good physical shape. Now, I have a plan for Reade. I will help him, in the first 24 days, lose some weight and build lean muscle mass. Reade has agreed to follow the program of diet, exercise and supplements and I will monitor it.”

“I’ll put him on an AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge because it is about a lifestyle change not a diet,” Bud said.

Bud shared that he has successfully helped people lose more than 100 pounds with this program. The results speak for themselves when the participants enjoy the accountability, support and interaction with a trainer, and the flexibility and excellence of the products. Once people start this unrivalled program, which is backed by recent scientific study, Summers said they will “feel the difference within 24 minutes; know the difference within 24 hours; and see the difference within 24 days.”

Summers' goals for me are clear; getting better eating habits, using nutritional supplements to get me into the best health possible and gaining energy while losing weight and inches. These improvements, he promises, will help overcome health issues while enhancing sports performance and agility, which is why he believes I will begin to improve my 5-kilometer and marathon times.

Other benefits include restoration or maintenance of stamina, and more overall energy, said Summers, who has conducted 24-Day Group Challenges, which are comprised of small groups of people who want to change the way they look and feel. He said, “The success people experience through AdvoCare’s 24-Day Challenge is certain and unquestionable.”

Some may put off getting help with their weight because of the cost. It is a bonus that Advocare is flexible and can be individualized to each person. Prices are dependent on an individual’s budget, goals and the products that fit their personal needs and their lifestyle.

“We can work with any budget and get a person started anywhere in the plan with one product or the whole 24-Day Challenge.”

People can start with for as little as $22.95 to as much as $328 and Bud will provide free health coaching throughout the challenge and beyond, as well as providing meal and exercise plans, and a food choice list.

Come meet Bud and find out more about what he does at the Go! Malawi destination marathon meeting on Wednesday, April 30 (see details below).

TALE OF THE TAPE: Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weight: 211 pounds

Waist: (47 inches)

Thighs: (24 inches)

Hips: (45 inches)

Chest: (46 inches)

MY FITNESS GOALS: I have done 10 marathons and have never been able to break the four-hour threshold. My best time to date has been four hours and 12 minutes and “I’m not getting any younger, so I’m going to need some help,” I told Bud. My last 5K time was 27:19 (8:48 pace) and that is a long way from my personal best. I hope to better that and get to less than 24 minutes again.

For more information about Go! Malawi runners program and our destination marathons email: reade@freepressonline.com.

For more information on Advocare, email Bud Summers “We build champions”: sterlingvlll@mac.com

For more information on Janet Littlefield and Go! Malawi: go-malawi.org.

NOTICE – DESTINATION SAN ANTONIO MEETING: Go! Malawi Runners will have an informational meeting on Wednesday, April 30 at the Speakeasy Lounge below The Chowder House in downtown Rockland on 2 Park Drive. Host runners Andrew Bonarrigo, Troy and Susan Peasley, Russ Wolfertz, Janet Littlefield and myself will be present from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to share our experiences. Light refreshments will be served and a cash bar available.

"If you are a past runner, come in and say hi. If you just want to find out more information on what we do or want to learn more about the 2014 destination Rock’n Roll San Antonio Marathon and Half-Marathon destination run, join us," Brower said.

Reade Brower of Camden is owner/publisher of Courier Publications/VillageSoup.