Although we live in Maine, far from Harvey’s path of devastation, we have close family and friends living in Houston. As the days of destruction unfolded while Harvey bore down on Texas, I found myself completely wrapped up in the events. I eagerly awaited the emails from family recounting their experiences. Facebook posts marking family friends as safe were a relief. Unbelievably, all of our family and friends escaped significant flooding to their homes. However, the impact of Harvey’s wrath continues for countless others.
One of the interesting outcomes from our quest to run a race in every state is that when we hear a reference to a place we have visited we have visual and experiential memories of the location. This is true for Houston. Amelia, Mike, and I ran the Houston Rhythm and Blues Half Marathon a few years ago.
We were treated to wonderful southern hospitality by all of our Houston family and friends and had an opportunity to experience the city, which we loved.
When this article from Runner’s World magazine showed up in my email yesterday I eagerly scanned it for ways to help people affected by Harvey. The article is packed with information and links to ways to contribute to the recovery efforts.
The Run for Texas virtual 5K or 10K idea caught my eye. If I signed up for every virtual race offer I get each week I’d be running a marathon. The promise of another medal for running at home has never tempted me to participate. However, this run felt different. The description states that 100% of the race funds from this event will go to the American Red Cross and the Texas Diaper Bank. I clicked the link and signed up. I was pleased to see there is an option to make an additional contribution beyond the $5.00 entry fee. I printed out my race bib, although opted not to wear it on my morning run. I think our neighbors already think we are a bit crazy so the sight of me running past with a piece of computer paper pinned to my shirt would probably have solidified their conclusion.
The skies were filled with dark clouds as I started out. The now insignificant dregs of Tropical Storm Harvey were due to reach us later in the day.
I went past the familiar sights along my route and used this quiet time to focus on the cause for this run.
Although I’m not in a position to physically volunteer to help out in Texas, running this virtual race did help me feel like I was “doing something”. Of course, me running 3.1 miles doesn’t make any tangible difference but pairing that with my donation to the cause somehow felt more significant.
I’m probably the only runner not using a Garmin to track my running but I liked having this visual of my run as I crossed the finish line (AKA stopped running at my mailbox).
Our good friend, Terry (who also happens to be Amelia’s mother-in-law) is a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo volunteer. She forwarded an email from this organization which provided additional links to ways to help with the Harvey relief efforts. I chose the Houston SPCA. As a family with our own small menagerie, the photos of animals caught up in this horrendous event were especially poignant. When we listened to stories of people needing to evacuate their homes we imagined what that might be like if we faced a similar situation. Thoughts of how we would deal with our dogs, cats, and pony made the scenario extra scary and daunting.
I’m glad we know people in Houston who most importantly are safe but who will also be able to provide us with personal insight into how we can continue to make meaningful contributions to the recovery efforts as time goes on.
Here are some links to just a few of the ways to help:
Have you considered making a contribution to help out with Harvey recovery?
Have you ever done a virtual race?