Running was not ever “my thing”. I had no reason to put myself to that effort. It was a necessary evil in pursuit of sport in school, or a jump start to a get-more-healthy resolution that never stuck. But in 2010 that changed. I met an incredible woman who loved running more than anything, I think. The light in her eyes and the promise in her voice made the idea of going for a run with her irresistible. This was the first time I ever thought of running as something other than hateful. While I don’t remember loving my first miles with my new friend, the incredible runner woman, I did stick with it because of her infectious enthusiasm.
Over the course of the past ten years, I’ve experienced a number of running firsts. I remember my first pair of “running shoes”. They were $20 Nikes that I had purchased on clearance for casual wear. I ran in them because they were my most appropriate shoe choice at the time I began running, and I didn’t expect this running thing to stick, so I wasn’t going to buy new shoes! I vividly remember the emotion I experienced as I was in the last mile of my first ever 8-mile training run. I was in awe of what I had accomplished. I remember the agony and disappointment of the experience with my first ever half marathon event. I swore I would never do another one.. I remember the first time I took an injury, while training (for another half marathon, by the way).
There are a lot of other things I remember about running over the past decade. There have been too many races, distances, teams and events to count, and certainly hundreds of group runs in rain, snow, and hot, burning sun. There have been blisters, falls, ankle turns, and tight hamstrings. Selfies, snacks, and super early morning alarms also meander through my memories. When I pause to remember all of these things, it makes me smile. As meaningful as they all are to me, the shoes, socks, bibs, paces, and races can’t hold a candle to the main reason I have continued to run.
More than ten years after taking my first run, I have continued running because there’s nothing else I know of that’s more fulfilling. I don’t mean physically fulfilling, though I have developed an appreciation for the physical effects. What I mean is, I’ve found no other community that is more welcoming, sustaining and endearing than the running community. They invite you to run, miss you when you don’t run, want to hear what’s new with you, and generally, just care – about you. We get up early or stay out late to run with/for each other. We form teams and run races together. We are a family. Even if we met through random running encounters, we were akin, if only for one mile, one race, or one season. I’m so thankful for this community, which is so giving, loving, and caring.
Giving, loving, and caring are also the three words that I would use to describe a great running event. The Hamilton Thanksgiving Day 5k is all that. It has everything there is to love about running, as well as a cause that is the epitome of giving and caring. I have returned year after year to this race like a homecoming. This year, I want YOU to join us. Whether you consider yourself “a runner” or not, I want to personally invite you to experience the infinitely abundant comradery of running at my favorite event. Join me in support of teen mothers at the 2020 Hamilton Thanksgiving Day 5k for YoungLives. Let’s celebrate and promote each other, mothers, runners, families and friends together on Thanksgiving morning. And if we can catch her, I will introduce you to the absolutely incredible, enthusiastic, giving, loving, caring, runner woman, Doreen, who introduced me to a reason to run. <3