Leesburg 20k 2013: I must be one of the Wonders

I am very proud of finishing this race, but I am most proud of the inspiration behind it. Being a part of Team Hole in the Wall gives me the opportunity to help change the lives of very sick children. It gives them a chance to be kids again.

I wrote this post back in August of 2013 just after I finished my first Leesburg 20k.  At the time, I was running a race a month to raise money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a camp for kids with cancer in Connecticut founded by Paul Newman in 1988.  I was still running alone and using this race as a training run for my upcoming Diva Half Marathon.  It was the longest I had run in about 10 years… 

There is an emotional energy at the starting line of a long race.  I find that at that moment, I do not want to talk or stretch or anticipate the miles to follow – I just want to be part of all the hope that comes with being a runner.

Back in my 9-10 minute mile group I watch the elite runners move their way forward, new racers look around wondering how they arrived here, and friends move off to the sidelines as they wish their marathoners and half marathoners well.

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I was surprised to find myself feeling that same swell of emotion at the Leesburg 20k this weekend.  I was treating it as a training run for my September half marathon.  But there it was… That intense feeling of – WOW.  Not everyone can do this. We committed to a plan and here we are – ready or not, off we go.

And miles 1-5 were MISERABLE. 
I was hating myself for doing this. 
Cursing my friend who invited me to do the half with her. 
Thinking mean and terrible thoughts about my fellow runners.

And then I heard this song and saw this bridge and my whole race changed.

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I remembered WHY I’ve started running again.  It’s about fitness and health and doing something challenging that’s just for me.  But it’s also about the promise I made to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to do a race a month to help kids find a different kind of healing from cancer and other illnesses.

It’s amazing what a little inspiration can do for a long, solitary run with 1,000 of my closest running friends.  I not only finished with negative splits, but I smiled for the last mile and raced a guy 10 years younger than me to a photo finish.

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IMG_0595 I am very proud of finishing this race, but I am most proud of the inspiration behind it.  Being a part of Team Hole in the Wall gives me the opportunity to help change the lives of very sick children.  It gives them a chance to be kids again.

Thank you and lots of love…
xo

Author: Erin Runs Happy

Boy Mom • Fundraiser • Runner • 26.2 x 2 • 13.1 x 23

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