There is just something about racing.
Running races, cycling races. Lining up at the starting line with a bunch of people that you do not know. Strangers. All with the same intention that you have: making it to the finish line (and typically as quickly as possible!).
We train. Hard. We wake up early (and often in the dark) to log miles and hours in our given sport. We hop on the trainer or the treadmill after a long day, because we know that that extra edge is going to get us where we want to go. We know that these hours will get us to the finish line faster.
But why do we race?! What reasons do we have to put ourselves through the pain and suffering (okay, you know that is only slightly over-dramatic, but racing hurts!) of early alarms and sometimes grueling events?-> Hello, cramping legs and swelling hands-I am talking to you!
The endorphins? Sure. Those are pretty neat. Fulfilling our competitive nature? I would put a check mark next to this one. Giving ourselves incentive to keep working out and staying healthy? Absolutely!
But what if it was about more than that? What if it was about supporting a cause that you believe in? What if it was about raising money for a condition that you feel passionate about? What if it was more than racing?
Personally, I absolutely love when a race has a cause that it is standing behind. When I first started running, I knew that I wanted to race. And I knew that I wanted it to mean something. Wouldn’t it be awesome if more races would lend their support to a given cause??
Maybe I would race more 😉
Here are a few of the awesome races I have been able to participate in that had amazing causes behind them! Also, a look into my sister’s LA marathon run to support the Hirshberg Training Team!
The second race that I ever participated in was the Panerathon 5K. One of the reasons that this race excited me was the amazing cause behind it! These guys want to Run Hunger Out of Town. If you read the statistics, it is mind blowing the amount of hunger in our country. It was amazing to participate in a race that I knew was helping to combat this issue. I love food. It breaks my heart that so many are not able to afford it. Go run this race. Right now.
Running this race in 2011 was a great experience! It was a fairly small race and I managed to eek out a second place in the female division. My husband and our dog came to support me and popped around the course. The race benefited the local Boy Scouts. It was especially neat because the awards ceremony was tied into one of their expos and we got to explore and learn more about the program. It is a pretty sweet organization and they do amazing things in their community!
Mud Hen 5K
Oh boy do I remember this race. It was COLD! Rain/snow/wet. My poor husband had to suffer through watching me. I kid, kind of. I finished second in my age group the year I ran this race! It made me feel like a “real runner.”
The Mud Hen Races now support Habitat for Humanity in the St. Vrain Valley. Another great organization doing wonderful things in the community! Plus, can you beat a Mud Hen? 😉
This half marathon runs through the beautiful Star Valley in western Wyoming. It just happens to run right passed my in-laws house! In 2014, I decided to run this race on a bit of a whim. I trained for 2 whole weeks and got up to 6 miles for a long run. Needless to say, I had little expectation for race day 😉
Somehow, I managed to PR by several minutes and finished second in my age group. My daughter was 13 months old. I ran a 1:48 and couldn’t believe it.
This race is run to celebrate the life of Jeremy Kunz. He was a local runner who tragically lost his life to a drunk driver. This race serves as a remembrance of an amazing man and brings attention to the issue of driving under the influence. It is incredible to see the (fairly small) community come out and support this cause!
These were all races that had amazing causes behind them! I would love to see more race directors teaming up with organizations that provide a back story to their race! The running community is such a phenomenal group. There is so much support for each other, but there is always this huge desire to give back.
While races with a cause are amazing, they are not the only way to run for something bigger! This Spring, my sister teamed up with the Hirshberg Training Team to run for pancreatic cancer! I asked her a few questions about racing for this cause and here is what she had to say…(Thanks, Alle and congrats on your killer race and outstanding PR on the LA Marathon course!)