Let’s be honest for a moment: running is (mostly) an inherently selfish activity. You’re usually out there doing it for yourself – for your fitness, your health, your personal best or to relieve stress.
So there there is something about lacing up the runners and lining up with thousands of other people to hit the pavement in the name of a good cause.
It provides another level of motivation and at least for a few hours, or days and weeks of training, it provides worth to our running.
It certainly felt that way last week when I lined up for the 5km Run for the Kids in Melbourne alongside my sister and another 30,000 people! We were all bound, not only by a love of running (or walking) on that cool morning, but by a common bond to raise money and awareness for the good work of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
And these days there are so many charity and fundraising fun runs, you could practically do one every weekend if you live in a major city. Running for a cause has just become part of life for many runners.
Whilst, running a charity run is fantastic, now I can also say that running as part of a team at a charity run is something else. Last Sunday, I was also running as part of a team in the name of three young children who have and will continue to need the services of the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The #fightforbella team was a few hundred people strong so training together wasn’t practical but there was a great community spirit shared on social media in the lead up. People were sharing posts of their preparation and t-shirts were made up to wear on the day.
Most of us didn’t know each other, had never seen each other before, but we were in it for these kids, we were in it with each other and we were in it (of course) for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
So it added to the excitement to walk around before the run and spot groups of runners of all ages and abilities wearing the bright yellow team t-shirts. Even during the race it was a boost to see someone running past you or ahead of you wearing the team t-shirt and yelling support to each other.
Although I always feel a level of camaraderie with fellow runners during a charity fun run/walk like Run for the Kids, being part of a team made the whole experience that much more special by bringing a group of people together and putting three adorable faces to our cause.
As any runner starting out, or an experienced runner who has never laced up for a cause, I say get on the bandwagon! Participating in a charity run provides you with an extra reason to run, an extra incentive to push yourself a little bit further, and an extra bit of motivation to pull yourself out of bed on a chilly morning. It also boosts the experience – that natural high that you have at the end of the run is doubled when you cross the finish line with hundreds of other people who all have the same reason for running that particular course, on that particular day and for an incredible cause.
And while I highly recommend running for any cause you feel passionate about, running as part of a team is something I will never forget.