By Carey Socol
When I was growing up, I never considered myself a runner. I was, however, one of those people that dreamt of running a marathon someday. I just had no idea how and when it would happen. Fast forward to my mid 20s, I quit smoking and decided that this was the time to do it. I joined a running team, trained hard and ran my first marathon (New York City) in 2000. It was thrilling. But more thrilling than finishing that race was the camaraderie of those early morning weekend long runs, the routine, the discipline. The truth is that those first few years of running were pretty much all about me. It was a mix of vanity and sanity. It got me through the beginnings of a new career, meeting and marrying my husband and two post partum weight loss goals. It was my personal escape.
And now here I am, 13 years later and I just ran my 26th marathon. As I was preparing for to run the NYC marathon in November 2011, I realized that I don’t run for myself anymore. I run because I am a working mom who needs the time and space and place to recharge. I run so I have patience for my kids. I run so that I can think through things and find better ways to handle a tough situation. There isn’t a day (even during a tough run) that I don’t feel grateful that this is something I can do. So, I decided on a new goal.
I plan to run a marathon in all 50 states before I turn 50. But this time, it is not just for me. More importantly, it is for all the mothers who don’t have the time, support or means to run a marathon. It’s for the mothers who don’t have health care, child care or someone to advocate on behalf of their needs. I am fortunate because I have those things. Now I am running in support of Every Mother Counts, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal and child health. Now, even before I take my first step in each marathon, I feel a much more significant and rewarding purpose to my journey.
Please join me in raising money and awareness for this important cause. I will look for you along the way.
States Completed (as of March 2013):
New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Arkansas.