Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I run to be...

I read this post from "I <3 to run" on Facebook last week:
Never underestimate the strength of a woman.
Never f#@K with one who runs 26.2 miles for fun.
My apologies for the colourful language but I love the sentiment. After all, one of the main reasons I run is to be stronger - physically, mentally and emotionally.

We still live in a world where violence against women is so commonplace we scarcely notice it. But, over the past few weeks, heart-wrenching reminders have come from close to home - a murder/suicide not far from where I grew up in PEI, the body of a murdered woman found on a serene wooded path where I run regularly, a teenaged girl from the north shore who disappeared on her way to meet her boyfriend. 

Though I refuse to let fear keep me from running, such stories remind me that violence has a gender. The great majority of perpetrators are men and far too often the victims are women and childen.

The slogan for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco last month was "I run to be."  But at various points in the race, runner were invited to take it a step further and ask themselves what running helped them to be. It was inspiring to see so many say that they ran to be "fierce", "fearless" and "strong".

There were other inspiring things about the race:  Kara Goucher and Joan Benoit Samuelson - two iconic marathoners - stepping up to the start line in solidarity with us average runners. Mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, of all ages, shapes and sizes who've made running the race an annual tradition. And the awesome sight of thousands of Team in Training runners proudly displaying the names and pictures of loved ones on their t-shirts. 

I've just hung this poster from the race on my office wall in hopes it will inspire me - not just to run more - but to work harder at being the person I've always wanted to be - fierce, fearless, compassionate and committed to making the world a better place.

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