Wednesday, June 4, 2014

National Running Day

Today marks National Running Day, a day to celebrate runners and running.  I celebrated by logging a few soggy, pre-dawn miles with Emily.  A light drizzle started just as we met outside her house, and we raced through our miles in order to finish before the real rain started.  The slight rain actually felt cool and refreshing on this steamy June morning, though I'm glad we were not caught out in the downpour that ensued shortly after we finished.

In honor of National Running Day, I've thought about why I run, and I could fill a novel with reasons.  I run for my physical and mental health, to set a good example for my family, to feel ownership over something in my life, to feel a sense of accomplishmentto foster friendships, etc.  But the reason that stands above the others today is one that struck me while Emily and I were running our spring half marathon, my first 13.1 and her fifth.

During the race, we saw a woman wearing a shirt that read "I run for those who can't," a message that hit home for both of us.  Her mom and my aunt are diehard runners whose bodies won't allow them to run anymore.  We knew that they would have given anything to be out on the course with us that April morning.  Every time the race felt difficult, I thought of them and forged ahead, tackling a challenge that they long to be able to do.

I am lucky to be able to run, and I must run in honor of all those who can't.

I always try to remain grateful for the opportunity to run, but today I am trying to be especially thankful for the ability to run.  For a strong body, a powerful mind, a supportive family, a safe environment; all these things which I can so easily take for granted.  I run because I can.  I run for those who can't.