Runners Christopher Gregory and Troy Haeseler first brainstormed the idea of Run Determined a couple of years back during a half marathon in 2017. After the race, the two would meet and begin talking. With one idea leading to another, it finally became certain that the two wanted to form a running team.
"We decided to do the  Moran Relay together, and that was the first time we were Run Determined together," Gregory said.
As leaders of Run Determined, Gregory and Haeseler put together a six-person team for the 2018 Northwest Trail Runs Moran Constitutional Relay, and the ball has been rolling ever since.
The team name Run Determined means more than the prospect of what it sounds like, however. Run Determined was inspired because Gregory's son had a baseball teammate by the name Carson Trey Styron. Carson Trey Styron ended up passing away on June 5, 2016, at the age of 13 after being involved in an ATV accident.
Team Run Determined's Christopher Gregory competing at the Northwest Trail Runs Moran Constitutional Relay, Oct 2019. Photo courtesy Northwest Trail Runs and taken by Ryan Thrower.
This tragedy inspired the Carson Trey Styron Foundation, a charity created by the Styron family, which strives to support the values that Carson embodied as a human being: kindness, respect, determination, and a leader who cared for others.
So the name Run Determined wasn't solely motivated by the team's love for running, it also honors the CTS Foundation and everything that the charity stands for in memory of Carson Trey Styron.
"That was a turning point for me," Gregory said. "If you set your mind to something, you can do it."
Later on, 2018 would be the first year of Run Determined participating in the Northwest Winter Challenge. For the 2018 Northwest Winter Challenge, Run Determined set the bar high, winning the category of average team miles and placing around the top five in the category of total team miles with a six-person team.
As for this year, Run Determined is competing as a three-person team in the inaugural Holiday Challenge and seems to be continuing right where they left off with current leaderboard standings of second in average team miles and third in total team miles. You can also find Haeseler in second, Gregory in seventh and third team member Shane Darden in fourth place for total individual miles.
Team Run Determined's Troy Haesleler competing at the Northwest Trail Runs Moran Constitutional Relay, Oct 2019. Photo courtesy Northwest Trail Runs and taken by Ryan Thrower.
Run Determined has participated in much more than just the Northwest Winter Challenge and the Holiday Challenge. Apart from the Moran Relay, the group has competed at the Burien Brat Trot, the Rainier to Ruston, and the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival Relay. For Gregory, Haeseler, and the rest of the team, it's all about embracing friendly competition and finding an outlet to enjoy the outdoors.
"We just enjoy networking with runners," Haeseler said. "We may not be Olympic runners, but we're fans of running, and we enjoy each other's company."
With the Holiday Challenge nearing an end, Run Determined is looking forward to another successful year of participating in the Northwest Winter Challenge, and SHOES-n-FEET is excited to be having them as participants.
"We just want to show people how rewarding it can be to get outside and stay active during the holiday season," said SHOES-n-FEET Running Director Adam Stuhlfaut. "Teams like Run Determined couldn't make us more happy to provide a platform that invites friendly competition for the running and walking community."
Run Determined team past/present roster: