Running for a Day, for a Month, for a Lifetime

Coming up on June 1: National Running Day. There probably won’t be fireworks, special decorations, or party favors, because most of us runners prefer to “celebrate” by, well, running. (We tend to be single-minded like that.) Nothing fancy, just the road. Or the trail. Maybe a buddy or two who can keep up or push us to go faster or longer.

But it’s also a chance to fly the running flag and encourage others to take it up.

Throughout May, Dick’s Sporting Goods has been promoting National Runners’ Month, offering special deals in its stores, sponsoring running events, and donating more than $25,000 to Action for Healthy Kids to help end childhood obesity. They’ve also had running superstars Kara Goucher, Ryan Hall, and Dean Karnazes out on the road as “ambassadors” to help promote an active lifestyle.

On Friday, I talked with Dean about it. Our conversation lingered, mostly, on his recently completed run across America, as we compared notes on recovery, how the effort affects family, and the sites across the United States.

He told me that the highlight of the entire trip was running up the White House steps and being greeted by First Lady Michele Obama, whose Let’s Move initiative focuses on helping families eat healthy and get active.

In running across the United States, Dean and I both had raised money and awareness for charities focused on combatting childhood obesity. Dean’s efforts had benefitted Action for Healthy Kids, and mine had benefitted the United Way’s Live United campaign.

Marshall Ulrich and soccer team in Steamboat SpringsHe’d run with groups of kids on his way across the country, just as I had, and we agreed that, although these events may have been orchestrated to inspire the kids, the kids really helped us to keep going. Several times, when I’d reached some intense lows, a group of kids — soccer teams in Nevada and Colorado, a couple of teenagers in Nebraska, even some preschoolers I spotted in a pumpkin patch in Pennsylvania, and more — showed up at just the right time to cheer me up and cheer me on.

This month, why not help some neighborhood kids train for a 5K race or fun run — get them excited about a goal and then help them work toward achieving it? Or start coaching beginning runners through your local track club? Or invite a pal who’s mostly sedentary out for an easy jog?

There are lots of ways to help others get moving, and I promise this will re-invigorate your own love of running, too.

By the way, you can also win a $5,000 shopping spree from Dick’s for tweeting about National Runners’ Month. Become a “SuperFan” and compete for weekly prizes, too.

Below, let me know what you’re already doing to help others get going with running. Be blatant and totally self-promoting, because the purpose here is to get the word out and garner support for you, and also to give others ideas for what they can do in their own community.

Or tell me about how someone helped you get started with running. Was there someone who invited you, encouraged you, set an example?

This entry was posted in Charities & Fundraising, Friends & Family, Running. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Running for a Day, for a Month, for a Lifetime

  1. Robert Mott says:

    I was inspired to train for the Marine Corps Marathon by Oprah (of all people). My brother had been running marathons for some time and I had thought them too daunting to even attempt (10Ks were fine for me, thank you!). But when I saw Oprah’s training and completion of the MCM, I said to myself, “If Oprah can do this, so can I!” It was a real kick in the butt, but I enjoyed training with the team at Ragged Mountain Running from Charlottesville and running the race with my brother back in 2000 was a great personal achievement.

  2. Every January I provide a 10 week Beginners Run Program through the Havasu Hustlers Run Club for anyone interested in learning how to run or for those that have been injured and need to come back slowly. Over the past 4 years I have had 44 “graduates” of the class, many who continue to run today! The best part is when they run their first 20 minute segment non-stop. When they are done they can’t believe just 6 or 7 short weeks ago they were only jogging 20 seconds now they can go 20 minutes. It’s awesome!!
    Karen Barnett´s last blog post ..Weekly Update 5-16-1

  3. Kat says:

    I’m a coach for Girls on the Run! It’s a great program that trains 3rd to 5th grade girls to complete a 5K while teaching them important life skills like communication and self-esteem. The most amazing thing is that no matter how much I put into the program, I always end up getting more back from the girls- the girls even inspire their parents and siblings to get moving! It’s an amazing privilege to mentor sure beautiful young women!

  4. Karen says:

    The year I started running and training for an event that benefits breast cancer research, my mother was diagnosed with the disease. It definitely boosted my commitment, and a couple of years after she passed away, I started volunteering as a “coach” to other women getting started with running. It’s fun and social and I feel like I’m doing something to honor Mom. Bonus: because I usually wind up covering the course twice over to make sure I get to the front and the back of my pack, it also helps me get in extra mileage.

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