“You will love this! We signed up yesterday morning and had a runner by the end of the day. He even went on a late night, cold weather run to get his first run for my child in. This is such a great community.”
Imagine that – someone went for a run late at night, in the dark and cold, in honor of someone else that they just “met” through Facebook. That someone is a child or adult who has physical challenges that limit his/her mobility. Sounds crazy, doesn’ t it?
But that’s what over 3,300 runners do every day. And what over 1,600 runners wait 8 or more weeks to do. That’s the norm at I Run 4.
I Run 4 is an organization that pairs runners with children and adults who cannot run, and we run in their honor.
I have the privilege of running for Bennett, a 2 ½ year old little boy with Down syndrome who I have never met, but who calls me his “running mom.” I have logged over 1,300 miles for Bennett, and delight in getting out there in the dark, cold, rain or whatever conditions to run and pray for him and his family. We post in a closed Facebook group, and his parents comment back with updates and pictures and videos of Bennett. He is a little superman who inspires me to do so much more than I could do on my own.
I am also the Connection Coordinator for I Run 4, so I have the distinct honor of posting the matches every day. I am continually amazed at the inspiration and encouragement both parents and runners receive through these matches, and how they seem so perfect. I feel like I’m just the keeper of the spreadsheets and it’s God who makes these matches. It’s almost painful when one doesn’t work out.
It is incredible to be part of something like this that takes you out of yourself. My runs are no longer about me. Yes, I would run anyway, but running for Bennett helps me get out there on those days I don’t really feel motivated. There are comments every day about people running further and faster than they ever dreamed, simply because they are dedicating those miles to someone else.
Being part of this group also helps the parents and buddies because suddenly they are not alone. There are others even besides their own runner who are supportive and reassuring, offering advice and prayer.
I just keep coming back to these comments though. I see people post that they are in tears when they receive their match, and that they screamed at work or were running and went back out to run more.
In a world that is so “me” oriented, it is refreshing to be part of something that is so “you” focused.
So who do you run for?