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Posts Tagged ‘charity runners’

I left for work this morning planning on getting in a treadmill workout at the gym, because of the afternoon torrential downpours my weather guy assured me would come.   So, I packed shorts and my favorite race tee, the one from last year’s Healthy Kidney 10K (Dathan Ritzenheim won that race, setting a race record, too).  However (and this is a good however), when I pressed my nose against the glass of my office window, there was no rain.  Promising, but.. Never one to believe the weather I can see from the 9th floor, I logged on to weather.com — Cloudy, 63 degrees (feels like: 63 degrees)!  My heart gave a little leap of joy as I thought, I will run home tonight.

And so I did.  3.5 miles, 38 minutes (approximately; I hadn’t brought my watch since I was anticipating the treadmill).   I had cement-block feet the first mile, I think my body is still in that post-marathon, clunky-monkey stage. I got out some of my stress by shouting a pizza delivery cyclist off the sidewalk, and then by shouting at a motorist making a left-hand turn who almost took out a whole swath of pedestrians.   As soon as my feet hit the base of the 59th Street Bridge, it started to rain, and I tucked my ipod into the torso strap of my sports bra, under my arm, having already lost one ipod to water damage from a rainy run.  By the time I trotted off the bridge and my foot touched the sidewalk in Queens Plaza, the rain had stopped, making it seem like I’d passed through some sort of cleansing passage as I moved from one borough to another, from one island to another.

The whole way, I was accompanied by Steve Runner, and his Phedippidations podcast #131.  He spoke about the running boom, and about the coaches, runners, books and track events that came together to push running and jogging into the mainstream.  I always want to learn more about the history of my sport, the elites, and the innovators of distance running, and inthat regard this episode definitely decreased my ignorance.  (For example, I thought Bowerman was just the guy who invented the running shoe, not the famous college coach who brought jogging to America from New Zealand; now I know better.) Steve Runner also touched on the second running boom, the one that started in 1997, and still continues today.  This is my boom, the second wave boom. 

But, as far as I can tell, he credits the second running boom almost entirely to the growing numbers of office workers (who want to be more active when not in front of their computers), and an increased awareness on healthy living.  I was waiting for him to mention the huge surge in charity runners as a main contributor to the running boom, but (unless he mentioned it when I was shouting at the pizza delivery guy) he didn’t. 

My personal experience has convinced me that runners for charity have a lot to do with the growth of our sport.  I ran my first and second marathons as a member of Team in Training, one of the fundraising arms of the Leukemia and Lymphona Society.  Every comparable training season (e.g. Winter 2008 to Winter 2007), TNT’s NYC Chapter recruits more and more runners, and raises more and more money.  And this is not a trend for just one chapter of one organization.  TNT nationwide pulls in more and more runners each year.  This year’s New York City marathon saw more participants running on behalf of a charity than ever before. In the NYRR’s Offical Results Magazine for the 2007 ING NYC Marathon, they write, “running in support of chaitable causes is mushrooming.”  Part of this is because it’s harder and harder to get a bib for the NYC Marathon, but it doesn’t change the fact that most of those Fred’s team or Team for Kids runners are first-time marathoners.  And, certainly, just anecdotally I can say that more and more of my friends and family are inviting me to contribute to their own fundraising goals, which they are setting in conjunction with road races. 

Steve Runner, maybe there is a show in your archives solely about folks who run for charity, and in almost every episode I’ve ever heard you share the story of someone who is running for charity.  But, if you haven’t done an episode on runners who pick up the cause and run for others, I’d like to suggest that you should. 

Episode #131 wrapped up with a guest call-in podcast from “JD from Toronto,” who spoke about why he trains so hard.  His answer to that question made me cry, because he expressed the very reason why I run, and transported me back to the finish lines of more than one race.  JD spoke about the physical joy of running the race you’d planned, of feeling the air in your lungs, the blood in your heart, your legs moving beneath you.  He spoke about the wonder and satisfaction in having nothing left when you cross the finish line.  I am paraphrasing, but I highly recommend you go download Phedippidations #131 yourself, so you can listen to how eloquently JD from Toronto explains why he trains so hard.

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