Now that the Cooper River Bridge Run has come and gone once again, many who “got over it” will put their running shoes away for another year. One goal down . . . check it off the bucket list . . . boast about it to friends. For some it’s a yearly ritual, something to register for, train for (or not) for a while, and show up on race day with 30,000+ other runners, then heavily celebrate the accomplishment afterwards at the after-party in Marion Square.
Others make the CRBR an “A” race – one of many that they complete each year, but the excitement and scale of this particular race give it top priority on the race calendar.
I myself have run for many reasons for over thirty years …. Camaraderie in group runs, to stay in shape, and for the mental escape. I enjoy the competition and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with racing. I have volunteered at races, which brings about an entirely different perspective as an observer and cheerleader. For several years I served on the board of the Charleston Running Club, providing direction and leadership for the club which promotes running in our community. And now I have taken on the task of volunteering as a “run buddy” for the Meeting Street Academy’s Run Club.
Accepting the responsibility as a “run buddy” requires that I step a little out of my comfort zone. I run at 7:40 a.m. at the school, located downtown. (For those of you who don’t know me, I prefer to stay on this side of the bridge, and although I’m always up at the crack of dawn, heading downtown at 7:40 a.m. is well off the radar screen!). When I go, I’m surrounded by kids. (Another little peek into my personal life – little people scare me.) And I have to run . . . verrrrry . . . slooooowwwwwlllllly. At least for me it’s slow, although if you ask the kids I’m running with, we’re running as fast as the wind!
As much as the whole MSA experience is a little out of my box, I love it. Running with the kids, seeing them get excited about running just one more block than last the time, and watching them head into the classroom with enthusiasm at the end of Run Club, ready for reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic, brings me a sense of satisfaction and joy.
On Saturday, April 16, the Meeting Street Academy Run Club will be making an appearance at the 6th Run for Adela 5K on Sullivan’s Island. I’ll be right there in the middle of them, running with one or two of the runners. For once, I won’t be stepping up to the front, hoping to get a spot in the lead. I won’t be timing my splits (more on that in the next issue) or warming up with high knees and strides. Instead, I’ll be encouraging the kids not to go out too fast, reminding them to tie their shoes, and sharing in the excitement of running what is possibly their first race. For many of the kids, participating in races is too costly for the family to consider a priority or a regular occurrence. But Lori LaFevre, MSA’s Run Club Coach, has made it possible for these youngsters to participate for free (with a paying adult). And with the generosity of the race organizers, the runners’ companions may register at a discounted price.
So, if the idea of running for your own health and wellness just doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you could join me and consider running for the benefit of someone else. Another opportunity is with R U Running. The brainchild of island resident Skipper Condon, R U Running is a membership organization for runners that promotes awareness of the Disabilities Foundation of Charleston County. For a $20 annual fee, R U Running provides race discounts for signature races, a VIP tent at which you can store your gear, and a chance to win prizes at each signature race you attend.
Another organization, Racers for Pacers, exists to bring running to those who are unable to run. Racers for Pacers is dedicated to raising funds to provide running chairs for disabled individuals who cannot run on their own. Under the direction of Sean Glassberg, Racers for Pacers provides these individuals with the opportunity to “run” with an able-bodied runner, or pacer, on a regular basis at least once or twice per week and in local 5ks, 10ks or longer competitive runs throughout the Lowcountry. I personally have yet to actually run as a pacer, but PrimeTime Fitness has helped purchase a chair. I look forward to pushing a “runner” in the PrimeTime chair soon!
So whether you are running for yourself or someone else, don’t let the Cooper River Bridge Run make you a “one and done” for the year. Consider putting forth your efforts to help out someone less fortunate, and reap the rewards for yourself as an added bonus!
For more information about Meeting Street Academy, R U Running, and Racers for Pacers, check out the following sites:
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, began her running career in college thirty years and thirty pounds ago, and is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, Inc, in Mt. Pleasant. She still competes in 5K’s, 10K’s, ½- marathons, and stair races, and has completed six marathons. Next on Meredith’s bucket list is a 50K.
Certified through AFAA in Group Fitness, ACE as a Personal Trainer and Medical Exercise Specialist, and TPI as a Level 3 Golf Fitness Instructor, Meredith has been bringing fitness to the East Cooper area for over twenty years. Since 2000, PrimeTime Fitness has catered to the mature exerciser and offers personal and small group training, indoor cycling, yoga, golf fitness training, monthly gym membership, and more. Meredith can be reached with your fitness questions at 843-883-0101, or Meredith@primetimefit.net.