In many ways, running is an inherently selfish act – at least it can appear that way from the outside. But most of us who run and race long distances spend a lot of that time on our feet – all of those long and lonely miles over hours and hours – thinking about others. Drawing from the wellspring of inspiration of those around us: our families, our friends, anyone with a burden to bear. Anyone with a crack in them.
I’ve always done better at running when, in those dark moments when I most want to quit, I take my focus outside myself and think of others. In the last two years, after what felt like waves of loss, I know I have many more angels running with me every time I go out there, whenever I race, whenever I fight.
It’s been several years since I’ve done this, but it’s been brewing in me for months: the desire to couple my marathon training with fundraising.
Readers of my blog for at least the last year know that I lost one of my uncles last March to cancer. I remember the last private conversation I had with him at my grandmother’s shiva, talking about a life well-lived, how he was enjoying every moment he had with his children and grandchildren; how grateful he was for the life he had led and all of his blessings. And I know he found peace from the pain he was in. But too many people I love and know – and those I don’t know – have lost parents (or children…or siblings…) far too young. I’ve lost count of how many close friends have lost a parent within the last few years, and so many before that. And so many more to come.
With this in mind, and with the blessing of my uncle’s wife and children, I have decided to use this marathon training cycle to raise funds for the American Cancer Society via CrowdRise. During my 15-week training cycle working towards the Eugene Marathon on April 29, I hope to raise $1500 (for starters, anyhow). Each one of us has been touched by cancer in some way in our lives – and if not, it’s likely we will encounter this scourge in some way. Donations of any amount are a huge help, whether it’s the few bucks you might usual spend on a latte from Starbucks, or $50-$100+ if finances allow.
Uncle Eugene, this one is for you.