By Judy: Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta mom
An experience I will never forget; my first charity 5k run, Rock the House Run in support of Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta. What made it so special?
1) The house.
2) The people that work there.
3) The community coming together to support an amazing organization that helps families like mine.
Giving us a place to call home, when we can’t be home due to our child being in hospital. We have been staying at the house for 77 days already with another 49 days to go. The house has 4 major fundraisers a year and we happen to be here during the “Rock the House Run.” I have been a runner for fitness on and off for quite some time, never once entertaining the idea of participating in an organized run…way too overwhelming…I’m not good enough…embarrassment…the list goes on. But when I heard of the run in support of the house, I thought, what a better way to give back to the place that has been so generous to us. So I signed up for my very first race, choosing the 5k. My two daughters signed up as volunteers on the course as a way for themselves to give back. At first when I dropped Emily and Kariann off for their volunteer commitment and I saw the tents, the people and some of the runners, I felt my heart rate increase and wondered what have I done? After thinking about the reason why I am here and wanting to participate, it did come back into perspective. It’s hard to put the event into words for me as it was very overwhelming…but in a good way. The environment was welcoming and the volunteers were friendly.
The family 1k walk was up first and it was wonderful to see so many families participating and having fun. As the 5k run/walk and 10k were about to start, I started to get nervous, but then thought why…you do this every day, today is no different from the rest. As I continued that thought and heard the countdown, my thoughts quickly switched to the course I had heard so much about…the many volunteers and entertainers lining the course, what was in store for us. I was excited and off I went with over 1,000 other participants.
What can I possibly say, except that it was nothing short of amazing. The volunteers lining the route giving encouragement by cheering, waving hand clappers, offering high fives as we ran by…but by far the best encouragement by them was the holding of motivational signs…my most favourite on the course at about the 4k mark was something like…”you may be slow but your faster than someone sitting on the couch”…that one sign put the biggest smile on my face cause I was just thinking, I must be the slowest person on the course, but that sign made it all ok and gave me the motivation to want to finish strong. The entertainment along the course was unique and fantastic. It made me want to keep going to get to the next station to see how we would be entertained as we made our way through the course. I don’t have experience in running races, and I don’t train or keep track of how long I run for or my time for a certain distance…but at the beginning of the race a fellow house family asked me how I think I’ll do. I said I’d be happy with 35 minutes. Well, I completed the course, didn’t come in first nor did I finish last, and my time..35.04,… must have been a fluke. I was so pleased with myself for my individual accomplishment and my daughters for their part in cheering and motivating participants along the course.
I want to thank the team of organizers who put on such a wonderfully amazing event, the numerous volunteers who helped make the event such a success, and the sponsors, without you this event wouldn’t be possible to people like me to have such an amazing first time experience…thank you. Thank you for letting me share my story with you.