Yesterday, my friend Sam and I participated in (and finished) a 5 kilometer color run. The event was organized by Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together, an organization committed to the fight to end cancer.
A few months ago, neither of us would have ever considered running any sort of race, be it ultra competitive or just for fun. We wouldn’t call ourselves the athletic type, but we’ve been running together three days a week ever since the snow melted away from Pittsburgh’s sidewalks.
People always say college is a time for change, but I think any time is as good as ever to change. I’ve been making small, conscious changes for the past few years. One of the changes I’ve made this past fall was deciding to start getting in shape. Part of the reason was an attempt to avoid the freshman 15 everyone worries about. Mostly, I just wanted to get a bit stronger and a bit healthier. I don’t particularly enjoy being at the gym, but I like the feelings that come along with working out. I feel physically and mentally stronger now and have more energy. Each day that I stick with my goal, I gain more confidence in my ability to keep going.
Yesterday’s race began at the top of the hill in Schenley Park, overlooking the city. All the runners crossed over the starting line wearing white tee shirts, which turned to pink and yellow and blue and green as we blindly stumbled through clouds of paint powder. The mob thinned as the hills took the slower runners captive. Sam and I stayed in the middle of the pack, determined not to finish last. At four points throughout the course, volunteers tossed handfuls of paint powder in the air as the runners passed. We came out of the race grinning with blue in our teeth and pink in our hair.
Finishing the 5k was important to me not just as a test of determination, but as a tribute to everyone who’s been touched, in some way or another, by the effects of cancer. Yesterday, I ran for my niece. I ran for my aunt. I ran for my family and every doctor and researcher and fund-raiser who has joined the fight. Through the event, the organization raised over $6,000 for research. The volunteers and participants contributed to making small steps toward change, and I’m so happy to have been able to get involved.
Bright things lay in the future if we take the time now to start working toward change, both within our selves and for society.