I run for the joy of running. I also run when the conditions aren’t favorable. The itinerary, especially against the global wind of positive change, can be punishing. It’s as mental as it is physical, but the consensus is that pacing is necessary for the long haul. And that, incremental progress is well worth the effort.
With each passing distance, the show of solidarity injects renewed hope that even strangers can coalesce for the greater good. It’s the ultimate test of acceptance for nations fed up with the paucity of food and basic necessities. The 1985 charity song “We Are the World” came and went. Langston Hughes’ “I Dream a World” is practically forgotten, I presume. The many speeches that gave a voice to those in developed and third world countries received the customary applause with their meaning lost in translation, it seems.
As is often the case the positives get dwarfed by the daily nonsensical. The United States, for all its inadequacies, continue to be the land of opportunity. We forget that the impromptu group of Grammy Awards singers, USA for Africa, “raised over $63 million (equivalent to $138 million today) for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already donated significantly for humanitarian causes and scientific research worldwide. There are also those very American stories we don’t hear about.
I continue to be grateful to the retired couple whose philanthropy defrayed the initial cost of college. Unknown to me, on my lunch breaks they had been observing my genuine love for knowledge. They welcomed me into their home and gave me an opportunity to walk the storied halls of the University of Florida–where the hydration formula, Gatorade was invented.
I enjoy running for something, but some days I lack determination. Sometimes, the pressure I put on myself to realize the potential others had seen in me can take its toll. Still, I run especially for those incredible acts of kindness.
All told, I run until the pain of lactic acid buildup makes its presence felt. I often run until it hurts.