It has been a challenging week here in the US. The news has been filled with stories of doom and gloom. Many people are focusing on everything that is going wrong.
I have dedicated myself to finding the good, focusing on the positive, and improving what I can. If you’ve ever read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this will sound familiar, its habit 1 – be proactive. Focus on your circle of influence (things you can change), not your circle of concern (the things that will maybe influence you, but that you cannot control).
Being a runner, it was natural for me to start with what I spend hours a week doing – running. I initially struggled to figure out how I could improve anything (outside of my own health and well-being that is) by running. After all, running is a solitary endeavor pursued by people for their own personal reasons.
But when you look for good, you can find good. Here are several ways to make the world, or at least your little corner of the world, a little better by running.
Ways to Improve the World By Running
Charity Miles App
Charity Miles is a phone app (available on iOS and Android) whose tagline is ‘move with a purpose.’ Charity Miles donates money based on the mileage your run, walk, or bike. They donate 10 cents a mile for bike rides, 25 cents a mile for walking and running, supported by corporate sponsors.
You select a charity and start moving – outdoors or indoors. There is a wide variety of charities supported in the program, so I’ve no doubt something you support is included.
Runs for Charity
The hometown 5K for charity is almost a cliche, but many local charity 5K and 10Ks raise a lot of money and often much-needed awareness for a cause that means something to the community.
Increasing in popularity are virtual races where you get a medal, but you run the ‘race’ on your own time, with the proceeds often going to charity. Racery is one company that hosts virtual races sponsored by every type of group you can imagine.
Research the races near you and support the races that donate proceeds to charity. Do some good while sweating it out. Or if you are really ambitious, organize a run (IRL or virtually) for your favorite cause.
Volunteer for an Empowerment Running Program
There are several organizations that teach and coach specific groups to run as a way to teach fitness, empowerment, and self-confidence.
For example, Girls on the Run supports young girls ages 8-13. Back on My Feet supports the currently or recently homeless. Both are national organizations that support training programs, runs and races. Depending on the time of year, they are looking for volunteers, race support folk, and financial donations.
Marathon Training For A Cause
If you are ready to train for a marathon, there are a number of programs that train and support runners in exchange for raising money for a good cause. Team in Training is the best known of these programs. Similar programs exist supporting the ASPCA, disabled veterans, and a multitude of health issues like arthritis and heart disease.
Many of these programs started off as marathon programs, but have expanded. Some now support century bike rides, climbs of Mt. Whitney and a multitude of other challenging events. So even if a marathon isn’t your thing, you can likely find an event to participate in.
Just Be Nice
The simplest way to make the world better by running is to just be nice. Be nice to other runners. Be nice to the bikers and dog walkers you may cross paths with while out on a run. Even be nice to the drivers (at least the ones that let you cross in the crosswalk).
Be a good citizen of the running community.
Acknowledge each other. Say Hi. Learn the names of the runners you pass each and every morning and greet them by name. Move over to let bikes pass, even when you have the legal right of way.
There is goodness to be found in the world, so take a few moments to find it, acknowledge it, and pass it on to others.
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