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Make Sure that You’re Running Towards Something Rather than From Something

Runners can spend a lot of time thinking about why they run. Non-runners often quip that they would only run if something was chasing them. For many of us, though, we do feel like something is chasing us but we can’t quite identify what.

It’s true that in today’s world there is a lot from which to run. Many of us use our running as “me” time to unplug from a world of demands (digital, cellular, political, and otherwise) that stress us out and seem to demand our constant attention. Thankfully, running provides some clarity in days when our head has taken a trip around the information blender.

However, we don’t need to think about our running as a purely selfish behavior. In fact, we’d probably be happier if we didn’t fall into the trap of merely focusing on ourselves. I’d argue that we have a more satisfying running practice if we concentrate not on what we get, but what we can give. Instead of thinking about what’s chasing us, maybe we should spend more time thinking about what we’re running towards.

There are many things to run towards. The simplest of these are fitness goals. If you’re thinking more broadly and unselfishly, however, one of the obvious things is to run with others for others –– running towards a better world.

Runners are well-known for their charitable work. Our sport’s culture evolved into one in which nearly every road race becomes a communal opportunity to raise money for worthwhile organizations. Again and again, we reject selfishness and cultivate empathy.

In fact, I’d argue that when runners experience their lows –– for example, the suffering and loneliness of a dark, cold solo workout in November –– we become alive to the suffering and loneliness of others. We sacrifice for our own eventual improvement, but we simultaneously gain insight into what it feels like to be hungry, cold, tired, and alone even if our state is voluntary and temporary. It only takes a small effort to reflect on what our bodies have taught us and to do something.

Our sport’s culture also leads us to the insight that every burden is lighter when it’s shared. How many times have you been running with a group when you look down at your GPS watch and realize that you are running at a pace that you have never manage on your own? Running together –– sharing the pacing chores, looking out for cars, giving each other encouragement, commiserating about aches and pains ­­–– makes everything easier.

Run for Others

Therefore –– because you are compassionate people who enjoy coming together for the common good –– I know you’ll want to join with Fleet Feet Sports on November 17-18 as we ask our community to run (and walk) to support the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. On Friday afternoon at 3 pm, we’ll be kicking off our Fifth Annual 24-Hour Fight Against Hunger event. For a suggested donation of $25, you can run as many laps as you can during the twenty-four hours.

One of the lap raffle prizes

All proceeds go to the Regional Food Bank, but there are some great donated raffle prizes that you can win as a token of our appreciation. Every lap completed earns you a raffle ticket for the lap raffle prizes, including an Apple Nike+ Watch, a Ragnar ADK team entry, a Nintendo Switch and for the high schoolers (male and female), a Nike shoes and apparel package (Nice!). There will also be a shoes and apparel package for the top three fundraisers. Check out the 24-Hour Event’s Crowdrise page to get started:

We’re also getting some of the running shoe companies even more involved: for every lap you run in a pair of Asics, ON, Mizuno, or Saucony demo shoes, these companies will contribute a dollar to the Food Bank. You can raise even more money while trying out some new shoe models –– sounds like fun.

This event runs for twenty-four hours. You might be asking yourself, “How am I going to keep myself fueled to rack up those laps?”

One of the sponsors of Friday evening’s Happy Hour

There will, of course, be snacks! On Friday from 4-7 PM, Common Roots Brewing Company and ON Running will host a Happy Hour. A $10 donation will score people 21 and over a commemorative pint glass filled with beer. After a long night doing laps, Mizuno and Hannaford Markets will treat you to breakfast from 7-9 AM on November 18. They’ll have muffins, granola, waffles with all the fixings, coffee, and for those over 21, mimosas (an ideal recovery beverage). We will also have some additional fueling opportunities thanks to Adirondack Kettle Corn.

As previous participants in the 24-Hour Event have found out, it can be a lot of fun running for something greater when you are doing with a group of supportive, motivated like-minded people. Are you in a position where you can be a little more and do a little more? Then do that. Let’s run together towards the relief of hunger in northeastern New York –– I’ll see you on November 17-18.

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