I spent the past week in Cuba, running a half marathon for the first time legally in the country since the Cuban Revolution. However, the day’s events were tainted with the news of France. I couldn’t help but think of what could happen as I stood at the start line. I was lined up with thousands of people getting ready to begin the race and someone from France standing near me mentioned what would happen if a similar event took place now.
We all started to panic and I even thought about the Boston marathon bombings and how this could actually happen here in Cuba. Luckily, I made it through the race completely unscathed. However, I did think about France for most of the race.
At a half marathon I did the week before, I had a race director tell all the runners to think about how we could be better people as we ran the 13.1-mile endurance event. He said we should spend the race thinking about how to live life better and be better. We have time to kill out there running alone and it made the race really powerful for me.
Here are a few things I thought would be helpful:
1. Start running for charity. You don’t even need to ask friends to donate money (which I hate doing). You can join a website in which you track your miles and then those miles will convert to money to go toward various charities. It’s called Charity Miles and the website states:
Bikers earn up to 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn up to 25¢ per mile, all courtesy of corporate sponsors in accordance with our terms of service.
2. Donate your shoes. In Cuba, I had many people stop and ask if I would donate my running shoes. I did. I don’t need the shoes as much as they do. Running shoes were a luxury item to Cubans. I can get mine on FTTF website easily.
One World Running is one charity I found where you can donate shoes, but plenty of organizations do it. Their website states:
Donations currently go to washing, sorting, storing and transferring shoes to youth and adults in need, including the U.S.
Here’s to safe running!