Running is powerful. For most runners, the benefits go far beyond cardiovascular fitness. The activity of getting yourself from one point to another is representative of our journey in life – it’s mental; it’s emotional; it’s about going the distance; covering the miles that we may want to skip for the sake of arriving at our end goal; being present throughout the journey while keeping our eyes on the finish line; pushing through even when you’re sure you cannot go any further.
You runners get it. It’s powerful, right?
Dozens of organizations have leveraged the power of running to make a difference in the world. There are many who raise money to benefit a cause (American Cancer Society, Marathon for the Cure, Team in Training, etc.). These are very familiar to most of us. Although, there are others that actually use the activity of running to invest in people and engage communities. Back On My Feet and Girls On the Run are two organizations that recently caught my eye.
Back On My Feet
My sister, Ashlee, introduced me on to Back On My Feet, an organization who uses running to alleviate homelessness. The organization was founded by Anne Mahlum, a person who used running to overcome her own struggles. She tells the story of how Back On My Feet came to be in this inspirational TED Talk.
TRUTH: Running doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, rich, poor, or homeless.
What a transformative organization! I would love to join in on this somehow – I have so many excuses running through my mind, being as the nearest running club is in the LBC and runs start at 5:30am. The truth is, there will always be excuses and I just need to get them and give it a try. This video details the organization’s mission and process. Check it out.
Girls on the Run
I heard about Girls On The Run through the blogosphere. GOTR is a program aimed at 3rd – 8th grade girls and uses running to teach life skills. They emphasis embracing individual strengths and building confidence to successfully navigate life experiences. GOTR volunteers (Head & Assistant Coaches) meet with a team of girls twice a week to run and at the end of the program, the team completes a 5k together.
The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.
I think it would be awesome to be a “Running Buddy” and run alongside one of the girls as she completes her 5k. There is an OC chapter and I am going to check it out.
Check out this video for details and their website to find the nearest GOTR council and 5k.