Sunday, November 30, 2014

Celebrating the Running Community

If you know me, you know that I really don't like people.  I used to really enjoy being in a crowd, but being a teacher has taken its toll on my enjoyment of social interaction.  Plus, I'm grumpy.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am a loner, a rebel.

You would think that I would avoid group runs like the plague, but I happen to like them very much.  I also really like the group atmosphere at races.  There is nothing quite like being crowded into a starting corral with a bunch of like-minded people, all intent on accomplishing a personal best.  The running community is awesome.  For the most part, runners are supportive, kind, and sometimes crazy as hell (the part I to which I can relate).  I love the fact that I can show up at any running event in NorthEast Ohio, and I will recognize somebody there, and that person will actually BE NICE TO ME.  Remember; I'm a teacher, and I'm not always used to that.

Thanksgiving Day I participated in my first Turkey Trot, Home Run for the Homeless, a four-miler in downtown Akron.  It was a benefit for Gennesaret, an organization that provides housing for homeless families.  Gennesaret doesn't take any government funding, and the Home Run is their only fundraiser for the year.  This year 3,000 runners and walkers participated, and many more people donated time, money, prizes, and food.

I had heard of the Home Run for the Homeless, but I had never run it before. . . and I really don't know why.  Yes, it was cold; yes, it was hilly (VERY hilly), and yes, it was FABULOUS!  To see that many runners gathered together to benefit the homeless. . .it was very moving.  Plus, the giant piece of coffee cake I stuffed in my head after the race wasn't too shabby either.

Today I ran the Tryptophan Two Hour FREE Group Run sponsored by Vertical Runner in Hudson, an event I have been eagerly anticipating since I last ran it in 2012.  In the Tryptophan, runners and walkers can run/walk a two-mile and three-mile loop in any combination for two hours.  For every loop, the runner drops one or two tickets into a bucket for a drawing after the event.  The drawing had super prizes, such as fleeced-lined shirts from Vertical Runner and race entries.  Additionally, Saucony had a booth there, and they allowed runners to try their shoes for the run.  Jen, Shelby, and I got our picture taken at the Saucony booth, and I sent it to my email, but I never got it. : (

About three hundred runners showed up for the run, and I recognized many of them.  It was so nice to spend the morning running and chatting with my peeps.  Vertical Runner even supplied coffee, donut holes (which I DIDN'T eat), chocolate, and protein bars!

The Ohio Runners Network represents at the Tryptophan.
Vince Rucci, owner of Vertical Runner Hudson, is one of the reasons why we have such a strong, supportive running community.  I've seen him (and the Vertical Runner truck) out and about at different running events, and I know that he realizes the importance of giving back to the community.  Small Business Saturday is over for 2014, but I believe that every day we decide to consume, we should consider any local businesses first.  That goes double for the running community.  Let's thank Vince with our spending dollars.

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