Running on Hope – Global Race for the Cure

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On June 6, 2009 I ran in the inaugural Global Race for the Cure in Washington DC with my mother. It was an amazing experience, nearly 45,000 people participated and the event raised $4.3 million to fund breast cancer programs and research. The race really put a face to the fact that the disease is a GLOBAL issue, there were teams from many different countries and that was kind of eye-opening. I’d always looked at the problem immediately as affecting my own small circle of family and friends, then moving out into a little more broad circle of the Las Vegas community and then in the back of my mind across the entire country. I knew it affected people everywhere and that raising money to find a cure, or better still – prevention, is vital but seeing the global aspect represented at the race really put a powerful visual to the issue.

My participation in this event all came together very quickly. About 2.5 weeks before the race, I didn’t have any plans to attend the race but one small phone call changed all that.

Screenshot from the New Balance Running on Hope contest web site
Screenshot from the New Balance Running on Hope contest web site

At the beginning of May I entered a contest from New Balance called Running on Hope. The entrants were tasked with creating a 60 second or less video on why the Race for the Cure is important to them. I simply sat down in front of my computer after a morning run and just rambled about why the race was important to me. Take 1 was about a minute and a half. So I tried again, got it down to around 40 seconds on my second attempt and sent it in. Later that day I sent the link to my mom and told her she should enter too. The grand prize was a trip for 2 to Washington DC, entry into the Global Race, participation in a documentary about the 20-year partnership between New Balance and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, shoes and apparel from the Lace up for the Cure collection and spending money. It was a pretty big prize and I never really thought I would actually win. I had daydreams that I might, but when the call came to inform me I had won, I really wanted to do that whole cliche of pinching myself to see if this was a dream.

The trip was one of the coolest and most memorable things in my life so far. My mom and I got to spend time seeing several of the sights; the US Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House…

Part of the prize was to be in a documentary about the event and the New Balance/Komen for the Cure partnership. Because of this, we also got to spend quite a bit of time working with the crew making the documentary. That was a unique experience unto itself. Did you know that you can spend a whole lot of time tying and retying your shoes in an attempt to get the shot just right?

The day before the race my mom and I were supposed to go out for a training run with our film crew. The word “training” is used very loosely here, which is good because in the real world I wouldn’t go out for a training run 14 hours before a race. But then again, I don’t usually run a block and turn around to run it repeatedly on training runs. Oh, and I don’t usually have someone waiting to apply more powder to my face each time I complete the block!

The day of the race we were supposed to do some light stretching pre-race while the cameras were rolling. So my mom and I got to stretch while cameras shot the whole thing and people passing by paused to try figuring out if we were “somebody”. Once the race started we had two different camera people running with us for a short stretch. We had a production assistant running the entire time with us, relaying messages to us from the production team about different things we were supposed to do.

My mom and I were supposed to run the race together for filming purposes. So I wasn’t getting any PR’s this day. But I don’t think I would have been allowed to do that even if I’d run by myself. The instructions were often to do things like, “Run this length a little slower.” or “Run along here, get 20 feet past the camera and turn to wave.” But I do wish that I had started my watch timer for the race anyway, since we missed my mom’s current PR by 10 seconds. We could have totally beaten her PR if we’d just paid attention to the time a little more.

But truly, the race wasn’t about times or PR’s. It was about being a part of such a large and significant event. Sharing the whole experience with my mom. Running past so many famous United States monuments. Being a part of something that I would have NEVER had the opportunity to do if it weren’t for this contest.

Post-race we didn’t get to really participate in the Race for the Cure activities like we would have typically done at this type of event. Normally we would get food and go walk through the booths for various vendors. But we had filming to take care of… meaning, we had to cross the finish line 3 separate times. Truthfully, I felt like a massive dork going back out on the course and running in again and again. And I’m sure each finish got lamer and lamer too. I know I hugged my mom after we crossed for real because I was so proud of her. But then we had to try to recreate those final steps and they just felt forced.

Then we were ushered away and still needed something to drink. I spent most of the weekend being very humbled to be in the position I was… I mean, they kept referring to us as “The Talent”. But when we didn’t get to go through the post-race food, I did exercise my diva rights a little and asked that they send someone to fetch us some water and food. And I felt slightly guilty for “demanding” something, but my mom really needed a drink and there was no way I was going to ignore that!

Finally we made our way over to sit by the reflecting pool at the Capitol and did post-race interviews. Of course, this meant we had to get our hair and makeup touched up. I think my hair looked kind of strange, very different from how I would normally wear it. And they had to use makeup to try to cover the line from my running hat that went across my forehead. I found that funny.

This interview was probably the only moment where we truly relaxed on camera. Much of being in front of the camera felt awkward, and I was a broadcast major in college and did the news/weather for my college TV station. But the act of saying forced lines about “I think I’ll wear this shirt tomorrow for the race” was very strange.

My only regret was that I didn’t get my hair cut BEFORE going to DC as opposed to after the trip. At least then maybe my hair would have looked a little more controlled.

I will let everyone know where to view the documentary when it is ready… unless I am mortified and then I’ll just let people stumble upon it on their own. 😉 This was such a cool experience and I am so grateful to New Balance for picking me. THANK YOU!!

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