Why I Run: Meg O’Connor

running 2Thought 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.

My family.
My family.

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.

Want to read more Why I Runs? Go here.  
Want to submit a Why I Run? Guidelines here.

11 responses to “Why I Run: Meg O’Connor

  1. Hi Meg~

    Thank you so much for posting your story. I also have a son from Ethiopia, who by the way is interested in running a 5k with me this spring 🙂 I’ll look around at the various highlighted “shares” that are posted… I’m particularly interested in the Mudula water project, since my son comes from that area. I’d love any tips you may have on how to combine fundraising and running, or to learn more about how to participate in the project you are involved in.

    Happy New Year,

  2. Your family is so beautiful! You’ve inspired me. I have four amazing children from China (three boys, one girl) and I can’t help but feel sad about all those left behind. I really need to get over my fear of being a serious runner because I can see how it can be used to raise money for the ones still waiting for their forever families. Thank you for your inspiring story and for caring enough to silence your inner critic and demons!!!

  3. What a great and inspiring story. It’s never a straight line, is it?! I have not been one to do running fundraisers, but after reading your story, I might be changing my mind… kudos to you and the example you set for your children!

  4. Fantastic story from someone who is doing good while doing herself good too! And I like the angle of how she originally read to mock and then came around. Most of us didn’t come to running via a straight path of love at first sight–nice to hear someone say so! Doesn’t mean the love isn’t true!

  5. Thanks for sharing your story Meg! If one happened to reside in MN and were interested in joining your team how might they do that? 😉

  6. Simply beautiful. Thank you for posting this!(tears of joy rolling down my face) GO Meg GO! Blessings to you and your beautiful family. 🙂

  7. I was fortunate enough to run with Meg on her reach the beach team–she is as kind and welcoming as she is inspiring! She rocked her 3 uphill legs of the relay without complaint, drove the van, and offered amazing support to her teammates? So happy to see her profiled here!

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