Story time continues. The much anticipated Chapter 2 is here. Check out Chapter 1 if you missed it!

These are the stories of our tribe. These are the people running next to you up that hill and hugging you every week. Each story is important because each tribe member is important. Learn something new about these incredible people.


Ryan Zea 29, Statistician Extraordinaire Ryan MSN

I moved to Madison full time for graduate school in 2012. The vast majority of my time was spent in my studies (and trying to be the best possible dad I can be). As such, I never connected to Madison, as a whole. Following my divorce, I felt as isolated as ever. November Project makes me feel a part of th
e community. In an exhaustive world of “us vs them”, NP is a reprieve from the divisiveness; an hour of togetherness. Oh, and the hugs. I like the hugs.


Sarina Vance 29, Passport Agent/Chemistry Student

I show up because until very recently, I couldn’t imagine being able to participate in something like The November Project. It’s a great feeling to be able to defeat two of my former nemeses – exercise and crowds.

Sarina MSNJust a few short years ago, I was preparing to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life. All through my childhood I had a mysterious ailment which escalated into muscle coordination problems in my teens. By my early 20’s I was often too weak to get out of bed. Sometimes my energy was so low I couldn’t even pick up my cell phone without my arm being in excruciating pain. When I got so sick I could no longer eat, I suddenly started to feel much better. Three years and a few crazy coincidences later, (It’s a great story; feel free to ask me about it sometime!) I found out that my body cannot break down sulfite preservatives. Instead, they linger in my body and deplete my energy levels and cause my nerves to misfire. Luckily, dietary therapy has been very successful for me. I have yet to completely figure it out and still have bad days, but I am still much better off than I was before.

Not long after I got diagnosed with my metabolic disorder, I received another diagnosis – Asperger’s Syndrome. I had always struggled in social situations but could never figure out why. Now I know it’s because I’m a bit quirky, and I’ve learned to embrace that fully. Being around people is still pretty scary for me, but it’s been getting much easier. You guys are a great group to be around, and I am amazed by the uplifting energy I encounter here at The November Project!


Ryan 22, Student

I started to come to NP in February 2016. At the time, I was in a place where I only saw my friends when we drank…and I drank a lot. I then realized that my significant friendships in Madison revolved around and were based on drinking. I mean, casual brews are great, but I was stuck in a pattern that needed to stop. It was getting out of hand and it was time to find new friendships based on something more substantial.

I started to make some life style changes and the November Project was a good place to start. I jumped into the November project right in the thick of winter and was hooked. It was the first time since Cross-Country that I felt the mutual respect among people who like to hit the pavement, bust a gut, to sprint into a turn and feel winter leave your feet.

But the November Project is more than that still. I don’t know how to describe it. I moved to Madison in fall of 2014 (not 2015), but Madison didn’t feel like home until March of 2016. The November Project, of many other things I’ve found over the past 6 months, have made this town feel like home finally.


Eli Brunett 27, Microfilm Technician/Library Assistant

Hey NP MSN!!!!! My story starts in Mineral Point, WI, my Eli MSNhometown. I grew up on a farm surrounded by family and lots of animals! I was a very shy overweight kid throughout high school and depression had run most of my life. When I graduated, a switch flipped and I started taking my health seriously. I was a weightlifter in school so I ramped that up along with running and any other exercise I could partake in. I went from 280 pounds(18 years old) to <206 (Present) by the end of college. I started to get my self-esteem back and I felt so great. I could crush a heavy workout or a 5K race, I mean my self-esteem sky-rocketed! My good friend Indy Slutka, who is also in my team training classes at my gym, told me about NP and invited me to the Wednesday Bascom hill workout about 5 weeks ago. I was so shy and nervous, my fears from high school came back about exercising in a large group. As I ran, however, I began to feel really welcomed and the positive healthy energy was everywhere. I fell in love! It was and is so nice to be surrounded by so many like-minded healthy positive-minded individuals. I look forward to every workout and it’s the highlight of my Wednesday and Fridays 🙂 That’s why I do it, get up early and lace up my shoes, it’s the camaraderie and friends I have made along the way.


Peter Werts 30, Teacher

I’m originally from Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison where I was in the UW Marching Band. Four years ago I moved to Alaska and I’ve been there ever since! A few years ago a good friend from the Marching Band and all-around cool guy Dan Schally invited me to do this November Project thing. I had no idea what it was, but I like exercise, people, and mornings, so I said I’d give it a shot.

Since then, I think I can honestly say that I’ve never missed a NP workout while I’m in Madison. As I am a teacher, I’m usually back in town around Christmas /New Years and during the summer, but I usually try to make it back as often as I can. I love the intensity and variety of the workouts and the fact that I get to work out at some of my favorite landmarks in my favorite town. The thing that keeps me coming back, though, is the people. This is, by far, the most dedicated, accepting workout group I’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow, young or old, everyone is there to help each other get healthier. Rain or shine, hot or cold, snow or ice, folks are always there to work hard. It’s a great group and I’ll continue to come back whenever I’m back in town!

And by the way, if anyone’s coming to Alaska, let me know! I’ll give you all the pro tips for your visit!


Rein Boyd 24, Funemployed

My first workout coming from Minneapolis, Betsy Rais noticed I was new and approached me. She introduced herself and broke the ice. Something so insignificant she probably doesn’t even remember. In that moment, to rein MSNme, it meant the world. She welcomed me and made me feel at home. Created an immediate community on which I could rely on. That moment made me realize there was a group of people who were my friends, even though they didn’t know it.

Two years later I hope you do know it. NPMSN makes my heart full. You embody what makes this world wonderful. The tribe is strong, exuberant, welcoming, and most importantly the tribe is a family. The number of beautiful people within this tribe continues to shock me and amaze me. I cannot speak about what this group of hooligans means to me and how much you will be missed.

Keep this shit going, cause you’re making Madison a better place. Fuck Yeah.


What’s your story? Tell us here and get your’s into Chapter 3! Coming soon.




Story time with NP_MSN: Chapter 2
Share via socials:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To submit the form, please solve this simple math problem *