Season Three Secret Millionaires Dave Mortensen and Chuck Runyon


Season three of the popular ABC television show Secret Millionaire is underway and on June 10, two new millionaires will be featured. Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen, founders of the Anytime Fitness global franchise, will spend some time working with volunteers in Oklahoma City. When they reveal their identities at the end of the episode, they will also reveal the local causes and individuals deemed worthy of personal financial donations.

Anytime Fitness is already the largest co-ed fitness business worldwide and it continues to be the fastest-growing. Founded ten years ago, the company has spawned 2,000 franchised clubs throughout the world and has nearly 1.5 million members. Each club is open all day, every day, and one membership provides access to all clubs worldwide. Men and women pay a reasonable fee to exercise in facilities featuring cutting-edge equipment and helpful, well-trained staff.

Mortensen and Runyon look like typical, although well-toned, guys. Mortensen grew up a few miles from the Anytime Fitness headquarters in Hastings, Minnesota. He wrestled in high school and received an athletic scholarship to a North Dakota college. Life after graduation was challenging but he eventually landed a job at a fitness club that was part of a Midwestern chain. Working at the front desk, he met Runyon, a young man with industry experience who had his own share of struggles, including the death of his brother.

Mortensen and Runyon became friends and, eventually, business partners. They traveled around the U.S. providing consulting services to fitness clubs. In 1995, they bought their first club, Southview Athletic Club, the same facility that gave Mortensen his first job in the industry. Within four years, the business partners turned their focus to information technology functions within the fitness center sector. They helped develop security, billing, and usage tracking systems for their facilities.

Today, Mortensen and Runyon have over 20 years of health club management, ownership, and consulting experience and have already revolutionized the industry with Anytime Fitness. Entrepreneur ranked Anytime Fitness number 18 on its 2011 list of Top 500 Franchises. This business continues to expand, embracing franchisees who are passionate about fitness and want to make a positive difference.

Mortensen attributed his altruistic nature to his decision to participate in Secret Millionaire. Runyon said he wanted to experience a challenging environment, do some self-exploration, and make a positive difference. He calls the experience a positive eye-opener, proving that even millionaires can be surprised by the human spirit.


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Stacy O’Quinn

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