A group of muggles in Warner Robins have cast a spell over the last year, combining the magical Harry Potter universe with running.
We sat down with the Biggs family.
Dawn is a Middle Georgia State Student and Brian is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserve. They're founders of the Hogwarts Running Club, a virtual running club with real success. It started with one race.
"It started out by accident, actually. I ran a half marathon," Dawn said. "So, then he started running."
"I've now done 21 half marathons in the last two years," Brian said.
Then, a passion for charity grew.
"In order to do that, we had to constantly hit up our friends and family," Dawn said. "And that got a little old really fast."
Brian puts it simpler.
"The problem was, after the second or third one, my friends stopped returning my phone calls," he laughs.
So the Biggs had a magical idea. They combined their love of fitness and giving back with another passion, Harry Potter.
"What's not to love about Harry Potter?" Dawn asked.
They formed the Hogwarts Running Club, an online racing forum where participants complete distance events on their own time.
"So, rather than showing up at 6 a.m. for a start line with 12,000 of your closest strangers," Dawn said jokingly. "You do it whenever you want."
Users self report when they complete the race, then the owl post sends out their medal. Dawn shows off the medal for the Voldemort V-Miler.
"It's a five-mile run and the dark mark spins," she said.
Thirty-two people competed in their first race, the Sorcerer's Stone 5K. But only a year later, Hogwarts running club has grown into an empire. It has grown to 23,000 members from 36 countries and sorted into four houses, each with their own Facebook community.
"Harry Potter is loved by the world, and we were lucky enough to tap into that," Dawn said.
And those $25 registration fees began to add up.
"We have given over $400,000 to various charities," Dawn said.
And they let the club decide where the money goes.
"Charities can only be nominated by members," Brian said. "We select charities that have some kind of presence. They have to be a 501c(3). They're somewhat getting established but they're not huge."
"And, it's just amazing. It actually makes me a little (teary)." Dawn laughs as she wipes her eyes. "Our whole lives have been taken over by Hogwarts Running Club and I could not be happier about it."
Their newest race is still a secret but will open in January.