My purpose in running has always been strictly selfish. I run because it makes me feel alive. It makes me feel good. Sometimes, I swear I can feel a higher power and the universe and happiness all tumbling around like freshly drying clothes on a quiet day when I’m running, and I sincerely believe that all these forces are coming together just for me. But there are some people that take running to a different level — a much less self-serving level.
People who run for a cause.
Or walk for a cause, as the case may be.
This weekend, I joined my friend Aaron on one of his training walks for the Avon walk for breast cancer. Aaron isn’t the sort of person you would expect to see walking for a cause. He’s a big guy — imposing, a bit burly, and very Irish in his temperament. And he believes in walking for breast cancer.
Our walk was only a few hours long, though Aaron has been known lately to walk for multiple hours, destination known or unknown. We did what I’d like to call an Oakland tour, heading around Lake Merrit, then cutting up through downtown, and going higher up into Piedmont before returning to the lake area before the day got too hot.
Aaron introduced me to a new way of thinking. He likes to know he has something delicious waiting for him when he’s done training. Since it was morning, and a Guinness was really out of the question, we went to his favorite coffee shop, Cafe Di Bartolo. If there’s one thing I like more than a good run, it’s a good cup of coffee. (And seriously, it was the Best cup of coffee I had sipped in ages.)
I like the notion of walking with purpose. Of walking for something, or someone. I know organizations like Team and Training exist for this purpose. I know that elementary schools hold jog-a-thons. There are people in the world who like knowing that they are doing good for not only themselves, but for the benefit of others.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to set a goal for myself: to do a run (or walk, swim, or ride) with purpose before the end of 2009.
I think that’s doable. And I think it will be interesting to run with that in mind.
If you’d like to donate to Aaron, or any of the Avon walkers, here is how:
2. Click on donate to a participant.
3. Choose the San Francisco walk
4. Type Aaron Baca when prompted for a name