I was unable to run the previous three years because of work, and finally running it Sunday made me seriously regret that decision. There are a few things that set Al’s Run apart from other races.
First, it’s a killer course through the city of Milwaukee. It takes you straight down Wisconsin Avenue onto the very beautiful Lincoln Memorial Drive, ending at the Summerfest grounds.
Second, it’s for a good cause. The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is unique. As the state’s leading hospital in pediatric medicine, the hospital handles more trauma cases than any other in Wisconsin and is host to various nonprofit health care organizations.
I first found out about the Children’s Hospital this summer during the Dave & Carole Miracle Marathon for Children’s Hospital, a two-day, live radiothon. Every year they put on a special where they share stories of hospital patients in a successful attempt to encourage individuals to donate. The stories are both heartbreaking and touching. It is impossible not to feel blessed. This year the two radio show personalities managed to raise almost $1.4 million.
When I realized I could actually participate in Al’s Run this year, I joined a team dedicated to an acquaintance who is fighting Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is found mainly in children and teens, and has unfortunately reoccured for a third time.
Runners and running blogs often discuss how running changes you. It makes you into a better, healthier person, and it can even become a bit of an addiction. When you’re in a race, it is the only thing that matters. Putting one foot in front of the next and getting to that finish line are your only goals, but Al’s run didn’t feel like that.
Yes, finishing is important, but in Al’s, the run isn’t all about you. For once when I was running I felt like I was part of a bigger cause. That the money I was donating to run with masses of people would go to make a difference for someone, somewhere.
In my three years running, I’ve run a plethora of races. I get a feeling of satisfaction seeing my times improve, and of course I like beating a bunch of other people, but running Al’s run was an experience that showed me that I don’t just have to run for myself. I can run to make a difference in somebody’s life.
I used to weigh 230 pounds which made me want to start running. I progressed from 5Ks to marathons in two years, and in a month, I’ll run the Chicago Marathon for a second time. Running has made me a better person.
While running does change you, I felt like I wasn’t the only one that had been affected after the race. Somewhere my money, and the money of the other runners and walkers, is going to help make a sick child’s day slightly better.
If that isn’t the embodiment of “Be the Difference,” I don’t know what is.