BENEFITING: Central City Hospitality House
EVENT: San Francisco Marathon 2014
EVENT DATE: Jul 26, 2014
Considering my main mission in life is to help reverse the stigma associated with the homeless population by way of running, I have decided to join Ronnie Goodman on July 27th as he tows the line in San Francisco for his first marathon. If I am truly going to help eradicate homelessness using sport for social change as one of the vehicles, I have to "show up" on the front lines when hearkened. I'm thrilled to be asked to join forces with this go-getter who has found his reason why.
Three years ago, I helped the magnanimous race directors at the San Francisco Marathon conceive of a double marathon associated with the main race that features a required charitable component for every runner and is called the "Worth the Hurt 52.4". We begin at midnight and run the course backwards towards the start line and then begin with the regular marathoners to run the route forwards-- thereby making it "worth the hurt" for the individual causes chosen by each runner.
This year, I am supporting Ron Goodman and the Central City Hospitality House (www.hospitalityhouse.org) by way of RunningWorks for many reasons, but primarily because of the obvious link to our "running for change" efforts on this side of the country, and my own personal demons. I am awed and inspired by his motivation to pursue this challenge without the support of a running program, infrastructure and team like we have at RunningWorks.
Having been saved from a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol by a life of running much like Ronnie, I can relate to his feelings of freedom and belonging when pounding the pavement. Frankly, he is exactly the type of person and athlete that I want to be around, and he is so worth the hurt! One of the race directors at the marathon knows me quite well and thought I would see much of myself in Ronnie. She was perfectly on target, and I have felt more alive since deciding to #RunWithRonnie than I have in months.
We've had two RunningWorks team members complete marathons, one complete a 50k and four people achieve the half marathon distance all while training and living on the street or in shelters; I hope their example somehow gave him wings all the way across the miles. The RunningWorks team wants him to know he does belong.
Together, we can break this stigma. Running does work. We are all living examples of the values accrued through this amazing sport. Ronnie puts discipline, confidence, self-respect and teamwork on display with his willingness to ask for a chance to pursue his dream. He has found a way out of the turmoil in his mind--even for two hours at a time--and has become a great example for this country that excuses are invalid.
Let's support Ronnie and the Hospitality House as he reaches outside his comfort zone to achieve this goal, and attempts to give back to the place that lifted him up during his time of need. Once he crosses that finish line on Sunday, July 27th, he will realize he can do absolutely anything.
My guess is that he already knows.