Thoughts on Why I Run…

“Do whatsoever you will do, so long as you do it beautifully.” -Kahil Gibran

I started running when I was 10, in the middle of winter, and, feeling stuck on the little sand spit I grew up on in Southern New England.  I got outside, danced over snow and ice, felt the wind on my face, and let the winter sun slowly warm me, as I ran the entire 0.25 miles down the end of my street ‘and back’.  From that moment on, in mid February of 1988, I was in love.  Since then, running has led me to meet many of my closest friends, race cross country and track in high school, and in college, as well as complete 10 marathons, 3 of them at Boston!  My passion has always been, and continues to be, running on trails -whether the trail is on a beach, in the forest, or Rock Creek Park, in the middle of Washington, DC.  Any trail, anywhere, I am able to continually rediscover my bliss.

To me, running is a frame of mind more than it is a way to ‘get in shape’.  Consequently, you can definitely get in shape by running.  However, I find running is much more about mindfulness.  It is about having fun, playfulness really, and not worrying too much.  Running is also a place where I, sometimes, do a lot of thinking.  I have written poems in my head when I run (forgetting half of them by the time I got home) and made very important ‘life’ decisions.  Running is the place I go to, no matter where, how long, or how the weather is, and, I find the same thing -myself.  That much I know.

It was while on a run, up in the Green Mountains, when I came up with the idea to run the Long Trail.  At the time, I was living in Washington, DC and working in an Emergency Room up the street from the Lincoln Memorial.  I started thinking, for one, how much I missed Vermont, but also, how much I respect the work being done for preventative healthcare in Vermont.  In DC, I was constantly in the middle of the health care debate.  No matter what side of the aisle you sat on, I kept thinking, Stop talking, just do something.  Which, got me thinking about the Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB).  Having worked there in the past, I know first hand how exceptional the care is, how dedicated the providers and staff are, and, foremost, how much of the local community depends on CHCB for it’s services.  In other words, it is all about action, and, that is something I can support.

So, I am dedicating the 272 miles of the Long Trail to the Community Health Center of Burlington, and, everyone else out there that supports preventative healthcare… we are the ones that will make the difference, in the end.

See you out on the trail!! -Beth