Of the nine marathons I have run, four have been for charity. My first marathon I ran was for charity. Charity has been a big part of my running. In fact, it is the reason I run at all. I like to think I run with purpose. I run for meaning.
My first marathon was the Dublin Marathon in 2005. I ran for Team in Training, which is part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I ran in memory of my friend Tracey. That was my first real running and fundraising endeavor. I ran the NYC Marathon in 2007 for Train to End Stroke, part of the American Stroke Association, and the Boston Marathon in 2010 for Go Kids, part of UMass Boston. My fourth charity marathon was the London Marathon for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. (Side note. Check out my picture on their website! http://www.mass.wish.org/index.cfm?cdid=13162&pid=10473 I am so honored.)
When I first started running, the phrase charity runner was synonymous with slow runner. Every time I told someone I was a charity runner, I felt like I was saying, “I run slow. The only way they would let me run this race is if I promised to raise money for charity.” I was almost embarrassed to be a charity runner. Over the past few years charity running has become more popular. Even fast runners do it.
At a recent family event my uncle repeatedly introduced me as his niece who runs marathons for charity. At first it embarrassed me but then it started to grow on me. I decided that was a pretty cool way of being introduced and it was a fantastic way of being identified. I mean, I really don’t want to be known as the niece who works in Finance or does stuff with stocks. That is boring. The niece who runs marathons for charity is perfect. It is who I am and it shows there is more to my running than competing.
Besides, I do run with purpose. I run with meaning. I run to honor my friend Tracey, to support charities and to challenge myself. I am a charity runner.
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