The ‘Why I Run Wednesday’ posts are a weekly feature exploring a past, present, or future reason why I run.
Running can be a selfish endeavor. Individuals propelling themselves forward… slowly… quickly… purely in chase of satisfaction. The satisfaction of clearing your head, of accomplishment, taking a break, improving mental and physical health, solitude, or even camaraderie at the cost of time away from non-running family and friends.
Running can be a means of generosity. Volunteers leading groups of new runners who don’t believe they can call themselves runners just yet (have you run before? do you run now? are you walking in hopes of building up to a jog, then just maybe to a faster running cadence? you ARE a runner). Plenty of runners, myself included, simply feel better about themselves for having laced up our shoes and raced out the door for a trek through the neighborhood or through a beautifully tree-lined trail bordered by a massive body of water. And feeling good about yourself almost assuredly means you’re in a better place to be a nice person. Another somewhat inadvertent form of giving through running is by way of races. Proceeds from any given distance (5K’s or shorter through marathons and beyond) are often donated to charitable causes, fundraisers, and non-profit organizations.
I’ll be honest, it’s rare that I’ve registered for a race based on the cause it benefits, if any. Signing up for one that benefits something I vehemently do not believe in? No way. But I have to admit any proceeds of my registration dollars are really just a passive contribution.
Here’s at least one time where that’s changing. In recognition of having been privileged to lead a comfortable life, to a loving family, and to a partnership greater than I could ever have imagined…
Scrolling through my Facebook feed a couple days ago, a reflection posted by an acquaintance reignited the intense emotion I feel at any mention of an issue that stirs me at my core. That issue is violence against women. This week the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Woman (MCBW) released their annual Femicide Report. Not only does the report share the shocking stat that at least 34 Minnesotans were murdered in 2015 as a direct result of domestic violence, it also shares the names, faces, and stories in remembrance of those killed by a current or former intimate partner or may have been in the midst of intervening. Admittedly, I cannot wrap my head around this fully.
But here’s what I can do–in memory of all those people killed because of domestic violence last year in Minnesota alone, I’ve donated $31 to the MCBW. Growing up, my mom always placed one extra candle on our birthday cakes for “one to grow on”. Instead of candles, I gave thirty dollars to match my age and miles I plan to run in celebration of my 30th birthday, plus one to grow on… a metaphor in moving forward as a community that removes horrific violence as an option in conflict.
So why do I run? Because it reminds me of my good fortune in life and provides a means–loosely or directly–to pay it forward.