Dale Herron, left, and his partner Ted Yanecek, right, lead a campaign to donate to the Trail Foundation each year. Photo courtesy Dale Herron.

Dale Herron says running on the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake transformed his life, and three years ago he decided to do something to give back.

Herron and his partner Ted Yanecek, both members of the Front Runners, Austin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender running group, challenged their running buddies to contribute to The Trail Foundation, either through a donation, purchasing or renewing a membership, or volunteering time. For every dollar other Front Runners gave, the couple would match it up to $1,500.

So far, that’s meant a $6,000 infusion into the Trail Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to maintain and enhance the Butler Trail.

Herron, left, says the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake, has transformed his life. Photo courtesy Dale Herron.

Herron, 52, says neither he nor Yanecek were runners when they were younger, but Herron saw the health issues his parents faced and decided to do something to avoid similar problems.

“I wanted to take care of myself,” Herron says. “I started running in 1999 and ran my first marathon 22 months later.”

Now he runs regularly on the Butler Trail with the Front Runners, many of whom use the crushed granite pathway as a training ground for 5K, 10K or long-distance races or triathlons. It’s where they spend time with friends, share stories, welcome new club members and push their bodies.

Herron also serves as a board member for the Trail Foundation.

“(The trail) is tied into our hearts and minds, and it helps us achieve our health goals, our performance goals and stress reduction,” he says. “It’s changing our lives, and our ability to give back in this small but meaningful way is very powerful.”

Want to donate too? Go here.