ON THE RUN: Running For life | SierraSun.com

ON THE RUN: Running For life

We’re getting healthier, or at least reaching a state of heightened awareness of the lifestyle choices that can improve the length and quality of our lives. Exercise is a major tenet of a healthy lifestyle and with the popularity of running continuing to grow, the “running boom” is slowly making its contribution to the overall health of this country.

As many grow healthier and gym memberships reach an all-time high, the plight of those in physical need grows as well. With every new advance in science and technology, and every cure that is discovered for an ailment that has plagued mankind, there is a new and often more deadly disease lurking on the horizon.

The initiative to integrate the physically fit with the conditions of those who are not so well off, was planted only recently but has grown into a movement that is sweeping the country. Today, there are hundreds of races that combine running, biking, walking and a variety of other sports with social causes, working to erase the disparity between the healthy and the afflicted.

This weekend, I had the honor of joining over 4,000 runners and walkers in the Race for the Cure to help raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This was my third time participating in the race and I was amazed at how, despite my previous experiences with the emotional nature of the event, I felt all of the emotions coming back.

I found myself crying as I watched a young boy attach a sign to his back that read “In Memory of Mom,” and laughed along with the women who were ecstatic to be standing at a starting line they thought they would never see. This race is not about achieving the best finishing time or getting an award. The award is something much greater, intangible but all encompassing.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was founded by friends and family of Susan Komen after her 1930 death to raises funds for breast cancer research, education and treatment.

Survivors of breast cancer gathered at the race on Sunday in pink shirts and hats to celebrate their accomplishment together and to remind onlookers that breast cancer affects women of all ages, nationalities, shapes and sizes. Race participants smiled as they pinned signs on their backs memorializing those who lost the fight as well as those who have lived to tell of the miracle of life and the healing power of love.

Survivors, friends, families and some who had not been touched by breast cancer moved to the starting line to cover the distance of the course and help in the fight against breast cancer so much further.

Race for the Cure is only one example of the veritable smorgasbord of events that are taking fitness to a higher level of purpose. Races such as this are akin to large-scale blood drives, drawing strength from the physical fitness of one, and distributing it to many. Running this race with friends, I was happy to break out of my runner’s mentality and cruise at a comfortable pace, simply enjoying the fact I was alive and lucky enough to be able to run the length of the course. I felt like a champion when I crossed the finish line.

Lara Mullin is the sportswriter for the Sierra Sun.

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