Last Saturday, we partnered with the Journey North Community Church (TJN) to host the first-ever Run for Hope. It was a huge success! More than 140 people registered to walk or run and many others came to cheer us on. I was one of those 140 registered “runners.”
Flashback with me a few months ago. There was snow on the ground. It was cold. I was in an exercise slump that I am sure none of you can relate to (wink, wink). I received a call from Sheila at TJN saying, “We’d like to host a 5k as a part of our Wellness Initiative and we’d like to have the event benefit Bridges! How does that sound?”
“Great!” I said and agreed to attend a meeting the next week with her & Pastor Mark. They had all kinds of ideas already in progress and I was very excited. Pastor Mark said, “We need you to do something.”
Okay, I thought, they’ll need some help promoting the event & some volunteers at the event. No problem.
“We’d like you and some of your staff members to run in the event” said Pastor Mark.
“WHAT?? I am NOT a runner. How am I going to get out of this?” – – – – is what I was thinking.
What I SAID was, “Sure. I’ve been wanting to start running & this will be a good goal for me.” GULP!
Weeks passed & plans began shaping up for the Run for Hope. What did not begin shaping up was ME. Exactly one month before the event, I realized I really had to start “running.”
I downloaded a running app on my iphone, put on some sweats, tennis shoes & a sweatshirt (remember May…when it was STILL really cold?!) and I went for my first “run.” Yep, I walked for 5 minutes, ran for 90 seconds, walked for three minutes, ran again for 90 seconds, etc. I thought I was going to fall over! It was so hard! Remember, I was NOT a runner (at this point).
Well, I stuck with it and ran/walked every other day for a month. A few of us on our staff & board swapped training stories and it was starting to feel fun. The runs were really hard some days & went well on other days.
The big race day came & I wasn’t quite through with my training, but I managed to run the first mile-and-a-half (trailing my 9-year-old daughter & almost everyone else the whole way, mind you!). I took a little walking break & then ran some more. Low & behold, I finished the Run for Hope in just under 40 minutes which was my goal. Hooray!
At the finish line, I celebrated with so many people who, just like me, had just finished their first 5k and with some people who had done this before.The energy at the event was amazing. I was so inspired by all the participants who spanned a variety of ages, ability, fitness levels & anxiety levels! We were cheered on by spectators, family, friends & volunteers. It was a very powerful experience — I felt like a “runner!”
At Bridges of Hope, we cheer people on every day to make adjustment or changes in their lives to improve their well-being. We are so thankful to TJN for hosting this great event to challenge us, to support us & to raise awareness about the work we do. To all of you who helped with the planing or on race day and to all of you who ran, walked, or cheered us on: THANK YOU!