The Fixer Upper star is slowly but surely making his 2018 goal a reality

By Megan Stein
February 26, 2018 04:09 PM

Run, Chip, run!

Chip Gaines announced in January that his goal for 2018 was to complete a marathon, and he’s been dedicated to his training ever since. The Fixer Upper star says his initial runs were a struggle, but he’s now swiftly catching up.

“I gotta tell you that on my first run I realized pretty quickly that I was in for quite the shock,” the dad of four (with one of the way!) wrote on the blog he shares with wife Joanna, At Home. “I’m telling you, that one little measly mile and some change really did me in.”

He’s since been making some serious strides toward success, thanks in huge part from support from his family and one simple tactic.

“I don’t actually listen to music when I run. For me, my time hitting the pavement allows me to really think,” he revealed. “I think about my family, I think about the business — and I do a whole lot of praying.”

Because of this mindset — and a training schedule from his coach and mentor, professional runner Gabe Grunewald — Gaines has since transitioned from the rough first steps to completing 11 mile runs.

“They say you’re supposed to think of a marathon in 30-minute increments, and I’m telling you, I can start thinking and praying about my family for 30 minutes and before I know it I’ve finished up my run for the day,” he said.

The experience isn’t just a personal project for himself either; the Gaineses decided to host the event at their Magnolia Market attraction in Waco, Texas, and donate 100% of the funds to Grunewald’s foundation, Brave Like Gabe, which raises awareness and funding for rare cancers.

To sweeten the deal, the team at Magnolia just announced that Chip will be the team captain for the full marathon, and will be posting personalized messages of support on social media for those who sign up for his race. Fixer Upper builder Clint Harp will head up the half marathon, and local metalworker Jimmy Don Holmes will be in charge of the 5K.

PEOPLE can confirm that several thousand people have signed up so far, so if you’re looking to tackle the challenge alongside Gaines, run to the website and secure your spot.

“We’ve got some fun things planned along the whole race course and I know this is going to be really special,” he said. “Crossing that finish line is going to be an incredible feeling.”