By far, the two most profound, rewarding and unforgettable running experiences of my life have been when I was running for a cause.
The first time was in 2008 and the second in 2012. On both occasions I was running to raise money for someone or something dear to my heart. Each time, I was able to push myself beyond my perceived limitations and discover new things about myself and the human capacity for endurance.
I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to create such an epic experience had I not been doing it for a reason bigger than my own desire to explore my limits.
I also wonder if it would have been so rewarding to have achieved it just for me, instead of for the benefit of someone else. I’m sure it wouldn’t.
As a distance runner, I have the ability to do things that a lot of people see as amazing. For me though, I see people like Maddie Todd battle her cancer every day for months and months and know that THAT is amazing. And brave. And inspirational. Running for hours or days without stopping is difficult, but when compared to Maddie’s fight and that of her family’s, it is nothing.
Last week we lost Maddie at the tender age of 14 to a cancer she never should have had. I feel so privileged to have known her, let along to have had the opportunity to run for her last year.
She gave me the strength to dig deeper than I ever had before and she reminded me how fortunate I am to be able to experience life in such a raw and real way.
For those of you that have considered running to help raise money, awareness or in honour of someone special, don’t hesitate for one second. You have the gift to be able to DO SOMETHING. Don’t waste that special ability.
We’ll miss you Maddie.