Why I Run: Meg O’Connor
Thought I would throw my sneaker into the ring and let you know why I choose to run. To be honest, I spent many months mocking you. I think I was secretly envious that somehow you found an inner drive to run while I battled (and continue to battle) the mental demons that tell me I do not enjoy running or that I am not a runner. In the midst of turning to your site out of mockery, I started learning that my negative thinking was not so unique. I was not the oddball out who somehow was born without the running gene. Women on your site were pounding the pavement in the midst of and in spite of their own inner/less-than-encouraging voices. Mockery slowly turned to enlightenment and inspiration.
I have found a way to begin to ‘like’ running (hoping love will come). Whether right or wrong, I do not fully run for myself yet (maybe I do and do not realize this fact). I run to raise money for projects in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is the birth home of five of my seven children. With its spectacular beauty and amazing culture, families in Ethiopia are in need of partners to help bring clean water, education, and many other resources. With running, I, along with those kind individuals who decide to run with me and/or donate to my races, become a life- changer for hundreds of people in Ethiopia. Hundreds of people. My role? Ignore the background noise in my head, put on the sneakers, and run for something bigger than me. Oh, and keep going back to that silly site called Another Mother Runner for a healthy brainwashing …
We are building a school in Ethiopia and using running to help make that happen. Running has turned out to be a group effort and a great way for us to pull a group of people together for a great cause. Twelve of us completed Reach the Beach in September, running from the mountains to the beach raising over $6,000. This run, like many of our runs, takes most of us out of our comfort zones. It takes me completely out of my comfort zone. Our nonprofit loves to bring families and mothers together and use running as a fundraising tool.
Many people ask how I can run with a full house of seven children. I could not train, sign up for the races I run, and travel to these events without the support, love, and encouragement from my family. My children see me running and encourage me constantly. They get to see me run, come in last and still get out there and run the next race (I participated in the running portion of the Aggieman Triathlon in 2012 in honor of our school building project and came in last!). My children are learning by my example; it is not the final numbers that count or determine our success. Tips and comments from Another Mother Runner have a ripple impact on my family. As I learn, they learn. And I thought this was just about running … it’s so much more.
Our plans to run for our school building project continue for 2013. In July, I have been invited by a powerhouse organization Mudula Water to take part in the Janus Charity Challenge Toyota Triathlon in Minnesota. Some of us are doing this race as a relay and some will complete the triathlon as single participants. We are always looking for some fun mothers to join our team.No ability required. Again, I am thrilled and excited to challenge myself (crazy scary) with a great group of mothers doing the same for a great cause.