For its new endurance training program, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) has turned to an old, familiar face: Chicagoan Mike Dilbeck, 45.
Dilbeck was the director of fundraising events for AFC in 2002, leading the effort that brought the National AIDS Marathon Training Program to Chicago in 2003. And he was the program director for the first three years of the program.
AFC will launch its Team To End AIDS endurance training program, known as T2and Dilbeck is its first program director.
"While serving as consultant to AFC for the launch of T2, it hit me one night that I am the perfect person to launch this program again since I did so very successfully in 2002 for the AIDS Marathon Training Program," said Dilbeck, who is gay and has lived in Chicago for 10 years. "So, we worked out a deal and I am both thrilled and honored to, once again, create a powerful and inspiring program to train people to complete the endurance event of their choice and, at the same time, benefit those living with HIV/AIDS."
Dilbeck has lofty goals for 2010: He hopes to get at least 900 participants, and he wants to raise more than $1 million for AFC.
"It will be fun, challenging, exciting, thrilling, scary and exhilarating," Dilbeck said. "Each and every participant will be empowered to do what they may not think they can do but want to do: complete a marathon, half marathon or triathlon."
Dilbeck also is the president of BECK & Co., a video/film production company. Plus, he is a professional speaker.
When the National AIDS Marathon Training Program arrived in Chicago, Dilbeck said, " [ i ] t was very exciting to quickly become the largest Chicago-based charity marathon training program and to train thousands of people to complete a marathon or half marathon. To see someone go from 'couch potato' to marathoner in a relatively short period of time is one of the most thrilling and fulfilling things to experience.
"I am also a producer of educational video packages and a professional speaker committed to empower all people. This job is the perfect opportunity since it's all about empowering someone to go farther than they think they can and to go beyond the barriers that get in the way."
Dilbeck confirmed T2 will have a strong presence over the next few months in the prominent LGBT communities, such as Lakeview and Andersonville. He said T2 also will have a huge presence on the social media front via Facebook.
"Beginning in January, you will see over 7500 point-of-purchase stands all across the Chicago, especially in Boystown," he said. "As a community who has been especially hit by HIV/AIDS, [ the LGBT community ] is very important and T2 is a great opportunity for members of the community to get involved in something that is a win-win: AFC wins by your fundraising efforts and you win by accomplishing a goal."
More about Mike Dilbeck:
High school: Wichita Falls ( Texas ) , Class of 1982
College: Texas Christian University, Class of 1987; earned his MBA in 1989
Status: "Single and looking"
Personal marathon log: Chicago ( twice ) , New York city ( twice ) and Walt Disney World.
Fastest time: 5:20 in New York City
Hobbies: Running, blogging, speaking and politics
Favorite professional team: Chicago Cubs
Little-known fact: Played Judas in a Christian musical in the Kremlin in Moscow in 1993