A blog by runners. For runners.

Run with a purpose: healing yourself and others

Run with a purpose
I have to admit, I have been staring at the blinking cursor on my screen for quite some time. What to write? How to write it? The events of this past week in Boston make it hard to pick up the pieces and think about running. Honestly, there is a part of me that wishes I didn’t love it so much so I could just find another hobby. But grief needs to be healed and the way I know how to heal it is by running.

Running has taken on a new meaning for me, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to run with a purpose and do more than just put one foot in front of the other. How can I help heal others — as well as myself — while doing what I love?

  1. Run for a charity. Many nonprofit organizations — such as the American Cancer Society and the ASPCA — have training and fundraising programs. You can run any race while helping the organization of your choice.
  2. Find a race with a cause. Local, small races are the best way to get to know the needs of your community. Run a race that’s uniquely connected to your area.
  3. Inspire others. Not everyone believes they can run — you may even have been one of those people. Encourage others to join you for a run, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Show them they can do it: Show them how amazing running can be.
  4. Join a relay. Running doesn’t have to be an individual sport. Many races allow for relay teams, or you can run a designated relay like the Ragnar Relay or Reach the Beach. Running with others can remind you you’re not alone and to appreciate the camaraderie of the running community.
  5. Remember and honor. Running events meant to commemorate lives of those lost — like the Marine Corps Honor Run in South Boston — can be truly life changing. Honoring the life of someone else can bring true purpose to the sport you love.

This week has been challenging because a marathon is a place where you can find inspiration beyond what you thought capable. Although that idea may seem tarnished in the light of the Boston Marathon tragedy, running can still have that purpose.

Celebrating the sport of running in the above ways will help you conquer fear, doubt, and grief. Running is a way to encourage, inspire, and uplift both you and your community in the lives we share.

Let’s stand together in our new found purpose to make our running count for something bigger than our own goals. Boston you’re my home!

Related: Boston Strong – how you can help | Find a race in your area

Written by Danielle Bressoud.