Each time I have stood and cheered on runners at a big race like last Sunday’s New York Marathon — I always wish I could do more. More than just call out people’s names and tell them they are looking good, encourage them to keep at it and finish strong. I know the cheering means a lot to people it means a lot to me when I’m running but seeing them out there, 8 or 12 or 20 miles into the race while I’m just standing on the sidelines gets me itchy to get involved and put my legs to good or better use.
And even when I am running the race, I run it knowing that I’m running mostly for myself. For my family my children and husband too of course, and for friends as well, who think I am crazy and cool for keeping up this running hobby of mine. But I look around me and see other runners supporting causes, running for cancer research or for healthy kids or for world peace and I feel . . . well, I feel a little selfish. And also that I’m not at a point in my life where I can do that. The causes are going to have to wait because I can barely get myself and my kids out the door for our morning run before it turns into an afternoon run. There’s just no way I can squeeze in fundraising on top of the mileage.
Or is there?
Yes, yes there is. And I or you don’t even need to run a race to do it. All it takes is a smart phone and the free Charity Miles app. Pick your charity of choice (there are a couple dozen to choose from) and turn it on when you head out for a run.
This month, one of those charities, Every Mother Counts, has a fun challenge I’m going to go for: running 26.2 miles over the course of the month (that’s about a mile a day) for pregnant and laboring women. EMC’s goal is to raise awareness about the impact distance has on these women especially when transportation is difficult to come by and roads are impassable. According to their website, “Distance is the leading contributor that kills almost 300,000 women per year from pregnancy and childbirth-related conditions.”
They run, they say, so that other mothers won’t have to in order to get the care they need for healthy, safe births.
During November EMC is sponsoring a special contest: not only will each mile you run earn 25 cents to help laboring women cover the distance to a safe birth via Charity Miles, Every Mother Counts will be doling out prizes of their own to those who complete the 26 mile/month challenge, as well as to the top 3 runners in categories like total miles covered, fastest average pace, and number of consecutive days run (among others).
I’m totally in, and I hope you are too! I downloaded the app and can’t wait to get out there and rack up some mileage. It feels good to know that even if I mostly just stand on the sidelines with my family cheering other people on at the big races, every mile of every run on my own, can be a mile that counts for every mother, everywhere.
image via everymothercounts.org