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Run This World Podcast – 70 – Mark Mikel on Loss, Grief and Becoming Whole Again


Meet Mark Mikel – a man who 13 years ago dealt with the unimaginable loss of his daughter, Kelsey, and has found a way to move forward through the grief. We have all gone through loss in our lives – it really doesn’t matter what kind of loss it is – all loss is extremely difficult. You feel like a part of you is gone and you wonder if you will ever feel complete again. Mark’s background as a pastor and youth addictions counselor almost adds a layer of pressure to his recovery process – at least that’s my opinion.


Mark is currently the executive director of the Family Christian Development Center and the girls cross country coach at NorthWood High School in Nappanee, IN, who is helping kids find their true potential as athletes and young adults.


One of the most special things he does is to honor Kelsey’s life through support of organ donation and also through the Thankful Four events on Thanksgiving every year (in IN, CO, HI or VIRTUALLY). You see Kelsey’s life may have ended but approximately 50 people were helped or in some cases saved through the gifts of her organs.


Listen now!



Today we talk about:

  • Mark’s 4 Beautiful Daughters

    Coaching is a two-way street: Mark’s coaching philosophy. He is currently the cross country coach at NorthWood High School.

  • Mark’s experiences as a youth addiction counselor and pastor
  • Our brains’ pleasure center: How excessive praise can be as effective as drugs to elicit eupohoria
  • Kelsey’s accident and the emotional road afterward
  • Grief: a very selfish and personal process. As Mark says, “The pain never goes away but it softens.”
  • Organ donation: Kelsey’s death has affected approximately 50 people through the gift of her organs and his work with the Indiana Donor Network.
  • Thankful Four events – Run this virtually or in-person on Thanksgiving morning. Register HERE! Check out awesome video below.
  • The word content: The day after the interview, Mark sent me a verse from BibleGateway – this is a verse that his church’s youth director used with the kids that morning. From Matthew 5:5  “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”



This is a really deep, heavy, and ultimately uplifting episode. Mark’s final nugget best sums up the message from this entire episode. No matter what you are dealing with or going through, at the end of the day, find a way to help make somebody else better. Give of yourself to help somebody else become a better version of themselves. If we take it one step further, my opinion is that sometimes you can most effectively help others around you by simply being the best version of yourself.


All right everyone, you know what time it is. It’s time to get out there and run this world. Have a great workout and we’ll see you next week!