Traveling to Philadelphia to see our daughters when they were in college gave us an easy opportunity to pop over the border to New Jersey. Having visited them to see Hannah’s collection in the Philadelphia University’s fashion show on Saturday evening, we drove over the Ben Franklin bridge on Sunday morning and… voila, we were in New Jersey.
Although the race we signed up for was minutes from Philly, finding the exact location of the race proved more challenging. It started in a portion of a park which we could not readily find with our navigation system. However, after a bit of spirited conversation about which way we should go, we finally arrived in the correct area. The late arrival allowed us to combine our warm-up run and picking up our numbers in one fell swoop as we literally ran from the car to the registration tent. (Side note: we have since learned to confirm the exact location of the start of a race and not just the general description written on a race website. This has significantly reduced marital strife.)
Anyway, luckily the race was relatively small and quite low key. We had plenty of time to walk to the starting line with the other runners. The flat 5K course looped around a small but scenic body of water. We both felt strong and were happy with our run. I was pleased to place 3rd in my age group, only 8 seconds behind the first place age group finisher.
As we waited for the awards, we were so moved as we listened to the family members who had lost their husband and father to ALD talk about all that the foundation had accomplished. Run for ALD is a non-profit organization which was founded by John Kane who was diagnosed with ALD in 2001 and unfortunately passed away in 2003. The foundation has raised more than $200,000 to support the development of newborn screenings as well as research for treatment and a cure for ALD. It is reported that if the disease is diagnosed before symptoms appear there is a strong likelihood that the effects of the disease will be averted.
This race was only the seventh in our quest and we were truly struck by the fact that our small contribution to this race could help to have a direct impact on this fatal disease. Since that time, we have often opted for smaller races where we know that our race fees will be going directly to benefit the cause for which the race proceeds are designated. Although we have run in and enjoyed bigger, flashier races, we feel passionate about these smaller races that are so personally relevant to specific individuals. We left this race with an expanded awareness of the potential impact, albeit small, that our quest could make, one race entry fee at a time.
State: New Jersey
Quest Race #: 7
Date Run: 4/29/12
The Bottom Line: While the goal in signing up for this race had simply been to check New Jersey off of our quest list, we ended up with the greater reward of making a contribution toward an immensely important cause. This realization has driven a number of other race choices and will certainly continue to do so.
Have you been involved in a race where you felt your participation has made a personal difference?
Do you choose races based on the beneficiary?