JUST THINKING: Race is just the start

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I’m going to run a 5K on Sunday — The Yellow Jacket Challenge. Well, run might be stretching it a bit. Last year was my first Challenge and while it was hard, I was in OK shape and finished in a decent time.

This year, however, I am not in shape at all whatsoever. But several months ago, I committed to running this race with friends and, by golly, I’m going to do it. Except that my group of friends who were going to run with me has whittled to none.

In the past couple of weeks, as my fellow runners dropped one by pathetic one out of the race, I found myself in that iffy space between “should I stick to it and run the race and follow through on my initial goal” or “should I bag it and save my muscles the strife and be a supportive, cheering bystander instead”?

Ultimately, I’ve come down on the side of trying to get this aging body back into shape and — most importantly — supporting the cause, which is the Education Foundation of Greenville.

I’ve actually done quite a few races during the past 30 years, everything from fun runs, to 10Ks to a half marathon and a marathon. I am not — I repeat, NOT — a marathon girl. A 5K is just my speed these days. I figure that even if you don’t cross the finish line a winner in this category or that, taking part in this race supports a winning organization working toward a top-notch cause. The Education Foundation is dedicated to supporting projects and programs that work hand-in-hand with what our schools already offer.

And what better way to raise funds for that mission than through an event that not only supports healthy lifestyles, but also healthy learning. I’ll cross the finish line on Sunday one-way or the other. It won’t be pretty and I might not be able to walk the next day, but I at least it’s a start.

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