I was not looking to run another marathon. Not really. The last time I attempted one, I injured my knee and spent the next year in physical therapy. If I was going to run another marathon after that terrible experience, I was going to have to have a very compelling reason to do so. Well, that reason came crashing into my path this year, in the form of the opportunity to run the formidable New York City marathon in support of Let Me Run, an organization that I love dearly. Here's the crazy catch: In order to run NYC, I have agreed to raise $5,000 for Let Me Run. And I am asking for your support to help me accomplish this.
So what is Let Me Run?
Let Me Run is a boys running and character-building program started in Charlotte in 2008. If you are familiar with Girls on the Run, LMR is a similar program, but it is aimed at 4th-8th grade boys. LMR has 2 7-week programs each year (fall and spring) with each culminating in a Let Me Run 5k. (Imagine 800 crazy boys running with lime green hair - it is amazing to witness.) During the season, the boys train, and train hard, for the 5k. It is a competitve program - awards are given out at the 5k. What's more, though, the boys learn to set achievable, personal goals, they learn to be a supportive teammate, and how to be a good winner. In addition to these "running" lessons, the boys also learn about perserverance, honesty with yourself and others, kindness, empathy, being a good friend, and how to appropriately express emotions - all lessons that our society often fails to teach our boys.
I have had the great fortune to see the impact of Let Me Run from multiple angles. I started as the Greater Charlotte Program Coordinator for LMR in August. As part of my position, I travel around to the different schools in the Charlotte area to visit the almost 75 teams we currently have in place. Additionally, I am also the volunteer coach at Beverly Woods Elementary. In this role, I get to actually teach the LMR curriculum to the boys, and I get to experience the joy...and pain...of their training.
My very favorite part of both jobs is to see and hear the impact that Let Me Run has had on the boys. Each team I visit has at least one story of a boy who has been profoundly impacted. Just last week, I visited a school and met a boy who is on the autism spectrum. When he first started Let Me Run, he would not look up and would simply shuffle instead of run. After one season, he now looks up as he RUNS (at his own pace) around the track. At a different school, I met a boy who has a full scholarship to participate in Let Me Run. This boy does not have the opportunity to participate in other sports. But LMR has given him a chance to shine - and he is FAST. Not only did his coach discover his running prowess, but he also found this boy to be an incredibly thoughtful and caring teammate, spending extra time on his Positive Peer Cards (a LMR staple).
I could go on and on, but I will not.
Let's cut to the chase. Why should you donate to my fundraising efforts?
One reason might be that you simply support my quest for redemption after my last marathon fail. More compelling, however, might be that with this money I raise, more boys, who could not otherwise afford it, get to participate in Let Me Run. You may be surprised to learn that there are over 65 Title 1 elementary and middle schools in the Charlotte area. Many of the kids at these schools have NO after school activities to attend, especially no sports. Let Me Run currently has programs in 16 of these schools - allowing the boys to have something to do besides school and home (where they often cannot play outside). It is the goal of me and my Greater Charlotte counterpart, Jay Seago, to have programs in all of these schools - and all of the non-Title 1 schools, too. We want every boy who wants to be able to participate to be able to participate. BUT we need the funds to do it. I am asking you to support my fundraising efforts in order to help us achieve this goal. Think of it this way, for every $110 I raise, another boy gets a chance to participate in our program. ($110 is the price of one scholarship for one season.) That's it. $110 = another boy who gets to be active and learn important life lessons along the way.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and I hope you will seriously consider supporting my efforts!