Tony Bennet sang: “I left my heart in San Francisco.”
Me? I left mine on the roads of Cabot, Arkansas.
Five years ago I was approaching my 35th birthday. My husband asked if we should throw a party to celebrate. I asked if we could throw a “run” instead.
I was fresh off my 3rd marathon and itching to run another. Runner’s World Magazine arrived in my mailbox, featuring national efforts to thwart childhood obesity. Reading about events and programs all over our country inspired me to do something. A love of running, a supportive husband an amazing group of running friends – The Cabot Country Cruisers – came together to create the first INSPIRATION RUN.
It was a full 26.2 mile marathon through our small city, stopping at every public school and briefly speaking to the importance of exercise, and healthy living.
That first year we threw it all together in 2 weeks. We had a total of 18 participants – some runners, some bikers and a devoted husband who drove our minivan filled with supplies.
Reaching the finish line that warm, May afternoon, was only the beginning.
Thanks to a devoted group of athletes, committed community members and very enthusiastic kids, the inspiration grew…..
We couldn’t encourage kids to get out and exercise without giving them a place to do it. The Summer Track Nights program was born: FREE track meets for kids from 2-102. This was a perfect venue for adults and kids to run together.
Runner’s World picked up on our first Inspiration Run. A flattering article and a magical photographer made us famous! This was exactly what we needed to share our story and get some support. National Sponsorship and Grants through Saucony and The Road Runners Club of America kept our kids in t-shirts, well hydrated and provided an equipment base to last for years to come.
The enthusiasm lasted beyond the summer evenings, and we kept running. Parent-led programs had kids in motion after school.
We took to the streets again in 2008 – Inspiration Run II.
And again in 2009 – Inspiration Run III
And once again, in 2010. The Inspiration Run IV was close to 100 strong.
The initial desire to motivate our community was coming to fruition. Adults and kids were exercising together.
Parents took on challenges that set examples for their children.
And the truest test of all – kids found joy in exercise.
This week (Friday, September 30th) will be the 5th annual Inspiration Run. It is bittersweet. I have a deep sadness that I won’t be running in the event, but how wonderfully amazing that this message-in-action will carry on. It is a true testament to the importance of inspiring our next generation to live healthier.
On Friday I will be running on a beach 2,000 miles away, but my thoughts and heart will be in Cabot, AR.
No link to the Runner’s World Article.
Link to Running Times Article: http://www.runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=15244
Join in 9-30-2011: https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=162184583864245