Who Do You Run For?

“You can run for me anytime!”

In past posts, I’ve written about the sport of running.  Of all the sports I’ve played, it fits me best.  It’s solitary, but I consider that an advantage — no teammates messing up or referees blowing calls — it’s all up to you.  And so far (knock wood) I’ve never had a problem getting motivated.

Of course, that isn’t true for everyone.  If you’re just trying to exercise, maybe to lose weight or for general health reasons, motivation can lag.  When your body aches and the temperature outside is 20 degrees… well, you know the rest.

Plus, not everyone can run.  There are medical conditions and debilitating accidents that simply make running impossible for some.

But what if you put the two together?  Tim Boyle has found a way.  He began running for many of the usual reasons in September 2012 — to help shake a smoking habit, impress a girl, to smell fresh-cut grass (really!).  But winters in Minnesota get pretty harsh.  So in November 2012 when his motivation started to flag, he turned to the internet for inspirational quotations — “I run because I can.  When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted and I run harder for them.  I know they would do the same for me.”

When he posted this saying on his Facebook profile, he received the athletic equivalent of magic words, “You can run for me anytime.”  They came from Michael Wasserman, a young man who was wheelchair bound with bilateral hip dysplasia.  Longer story shorter, this led to a friendship under the slogan “I Run For Michael,” with the newly motivated Tim sending Michael running progress reports, then race medals.

A great idea?  Yes — it’s led to an organization called “Who Do You Run For?” with runners being matched with, and motivated by, buddies who can’t run for whatever reason.  I haven’t signed up yet myself, but it’s given me fresh energy as I train for my next challenge.

The “Who Do You Run For?” website is at  http://www.whoirun4.com/.  The Facebook page is I Run 4, Inc. – IR4.  There’s an excellent article about Tim and Michael in the November 2017 issue of Runner’s World magazine.  A similar article is “They Run: For Those Who Can’t” by Theresa Juva-Brown  at https://www.runnersworld.com/chatter/they-run-for-those-who-cant ; the photo (by Jodi Stoner) came from that website.

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