In exactly one month, I'll be getting into a corral in downtown Pittsburgh to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for the first time. It won't be my first half marathon, but the first one that feels like it matters in more ways than a personal record.
Part of it is that the race is probably my favorite of the year, simply because of the energy and fun along the course. I run the core of city all the time on the trails in my training, but to get to run on the actual roads that I travel on my commute is pretty cool. And being part of a swarm of runners is pretty awesome. I'll even get to retire my shoes after the race - my old faithfuls over to the left that carried me through the first real racing season of my life last year and will carry me into this year's.
And the cheering during this race? Awesome. Last year I ran the fourth leg of the marathon relay, so this year I'll basically be running most of the first three legs. So I'll get to see sections I didn't get to see last year. And if the cheering was strong after the half marathon turn-off in the part that I ran, I know it will be strong from the start.
But besides the fact that the Pittsburgh Marathon gives good swag, has a good expo and gives finisher medals that say "Runner of Steel" on them, this race is important to me because of the Run for a Reason program. Runners know that one of the great pleasures of racing is that the night before you get to carb up on pasta without guilt. And right after the race, when you've hauled your body for over 13 miles, a banana and a half of a bagel never tasted so good. But there are people who don't have the luxury of eating a banana and a half of a bagel for breakfast on a regular day.
I've been raising money for the last few months for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and just yesterday made it over the $500 mark. Which is pretty amazing, considering that it will provide about $2500 worth of food for families who need it.
That's a lot of food. But I don't want to stop. I've still got a month to go until the race, and I know that $545 doesn't have to be where I stop.
There are many great charities that people run for, usually ones that serve people or animals in need, whether groups that provide support for individuals with a particular disease or animals that need to be rescued. I've supported other runners in their causes too. And I know how many solicitations people get for charity on a routine basis. To me, there's something different about a charity that works to meet people's basic needs.
Before anything else but water, food is a necessity for human life. There are people who need it - who go to bed hungry or have to send their children to bed hungry because there isn't enough. That's quite simply why this matters to me so much. I can't support sustainable agriculture and just food legislation and eat at restaurants that use local and sustainable ingredients (and are often high-end for that reason) without also having a deep understanding of the fact that some people don't have enough food to sustain themselves each day, let alone locally grown, organic food. It's a privilege to choose what I eat for breakfast every morning and in this country, it's actually a privilege to eat it at all.
Consider donating even a dollar to support my Run for a Reason fund. Often people feel they have to make a larger donation for it to matter, but I'd love to see my fund fill up with a dollar here, five dollars there. Every little bit matters and every dollar turns into five when combined with the GPCFB resources. So if you really want to give $50 and can't just give $10!
You can visit my donation page by clicking here. Please share it at will. I'm planning on trying to PR at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, and I'd love to blow past my fundraising goal and leave it in the dust with the old PR as well. Thanks for helping me to make that happen!