There’s a billion and one reasons to put on your running shoes and get out of the door.
I’ve probably tested out a few of them. I’ve run to get rid or boost energy and to find mental clarity. I’ve run to keep lbs. in check, stay fit and build physical strength. I’ve run because some one was chasing me. (Cops and Robbers anyone?)
Why you run is a wholly personal reason and it changes moment by moment.
But there’s nothing like running for someone else.
The best personal example I can give you is from back in my high school days.
Now I’ve been running since as long as I can remember. Starting in playgrounds, then on tracks, then on cross country courses. I had always been an active kid and involved in sports – gymnastics. softball, water polo, track, cross country. Always doing something.
And always supported by a body that would bend to my will and go the distance I needed.
Enter: Young love.
So many of us have had them. Those high school romances you think no adult comprehends, that no other person has ever experienced, that will, of course, 100% last forever.
I was the cross country runner. He was the football player, who wrestled to get an early start on the winter season. Both of us dedicated to our senior seasons for the love of the sport.
It’s just before my final race of the season. Just before my last run as a high school athlete.
And, for him, a bomb went off.
He’s injured his back, fracturing a bone in his lower spine.
All athletics were immediately stopped.
His football season is over.
His wrestling season ended before it even began.
He was fortunate to not have significant damages or paralysis but life as he knew it was definitely done.
Of course, I had been nervous, anxious, excited for my last race, but now it took on new meaning. Now I was running for someone who couldn’t.
On race day, every person I saw was the next one I was going to pass. I wanted to make that race count. Not just for my season but for the seasons he couldn’t have.
Years later, I saw Al Pacino’s Any Given Sunday speech but it’s pretty on point with what was going through my head.
I wanted every inch.
Every inch. Every second. Every competitor I could pass.
I PR’d that day.
High school flames are small potatoes to some of the stories I know are within some of the people who (I think) are reading this but I think it’s fitting to share now because the Bank of America Chicago Marathon opened it’s registration for the 2016 race this week.
One way to guarantee your entry early is to run for a charity.
I have the privilege of working with our charity running team in my line of work, helping others in training and to fundraise towards finding a cure for a genetic disease which, until recently, mostly affected children.
Given just a few minutes with those who run on our team, you can see so much passion behind their purpose. They want every inch, every extra minute longer with their loved one.
They are fundraising for their son, their daughter, sibling, maybe cousin. For friends and family they love and friends and family they’ve lost too soon.
Because if their young child can spend hours each day doing treatments, they can spend time training. If their brother can keep up with all his medicines, they can stay on top of their workout schedule. Because if their friend can make a decision for their health and have a double lung transplant, they can be responsible in the health and run regularly.
I won’t pretend that I run for others every time I lace up. I am, admittedly, more selfish than that.
But I think about their stories all the time. It brings its own kind of intrinsic motivation.
Whether you run because you love it or because you want the benefits running promises, try running for another. Perhaps even on a charity team for a cause you care about.
There are so many to choose from and the difference you can make to the lives of others will make your miles so much more meaningful.
So…that’s why I run.
Why do you run?