Today marks two months until the Chicago Marathon, which simultaneously feels like tomorrow and forever. So much time and not enough.
Even though my IT Band is still giving me some issues, I feel good psychically. The rest of my body is eager to run and feels at ease out there on the trail. I know that the next five-six weeks will be the toughest, but I am OK with it because I also know that once I am out on the streets of Chicago all will be worth it.
My nerves are a bit more touch and go when it comes to the fundraising.
Yesterday, thanks to an anonymous donation (whoever you are, I love you), I was able to hit the halfway mark of my goal – 13 people who don’t have access to clean water will now thanks to some great humans I happen to know.
However, I still have about $700 to raise, which seems doable but not without some uncomfort and awkwardness.
Other members of Team World Vision, those who have run five, six, seven, races with TWV, say that the running a race that the first person who tried it died is the easy part. It’s the asking your friends and family to give some of their hard-earned money to a cause (not just a cause, though, YOUR cause) that is the excruciating part.
When I was about nine years old, standing in front of a cement stoop and trembling with a Girl Scout cookie order form, I decided I would never sell, seek donations or do anything that involves me asking for money ever again. I hate asking people for money because of the awkwardness it imparts on us both and I try to never put myself in that kind of situation.
This past year I’ve thought a lot about the things I am afraid of in life and how that fear paralyzes me. I don’t want to avoid being vulnerable and in turn risking who I want to be. I want to be the person who does things and does things that help other people, not the one who talks about it and says some day. And, as a dear friend once advised me when I was contemplating all the reasons I shouldn’t do Peace Corps, sometimes the reasons why we shouldn’t do something are the reasons why we should. Because I am afraid of asking people for money to support something I truly believe in is the exact reason why I should run this marathon and fundraise along the way.
World Vision is not just a charity I chose because it’s one of the biggest or because they have the brightest jerseys. A lot of people run for TWV because someone spoke at their church or they know someone who has done it for years. For me, it was personal.
Along the road between Maseru and Thaba-Tseka, the road I ran hundreds of times while training for the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and trying to find some kind of normalcy in my life, there is a World Vision sign. WV had worked with leaders in the area to form HIV/AIDS support groups that not only taught prevention but also helped those impacted by the disease, whether it was them personally infected or a family member. The WV team did such a great job integrating people from the surrounding villages in their efforts that they deemed the project sustainable and stepped away from it, allowing villager leaders to be the driving force. What I liked about WV wasn’t that they were dropping in and giving a bunch of things to needy people, rather working with people in those areas to develop sustainable solutions. They also hired Basotho to run the office, not expats.
World Vision, like any aid organization, isn’t perfect but their approach to development, on the ground in Lesotho, wasn’t about giving to feel good, rather being an active member of society to help find solutions because that is our duty as humans.
I wanted to be apart of that, even if in a little way and even if these efforts aren’t directly related to WV’s HIV work in Lesotho. Clean water is still a worthy issue to bring attention to, another firsthand understanding I received in Lesotho and Niger.
Sometimes I wonder if I am not fundraising enough. Today I saw the donation page of a someone trying to raise $10,000 with the marathon right after raising $7,000 for a triathlon. But, just like a marathon, fundraising isn’t about sprinting to the finish or trying to be the best. It’s about exploring the different ways to get to my goal, the fears behind them and then unlocking the courage to be vulnerable and awkward as I ask a friend to give a little bit of their income. Because I may just reach the finish line or I may just find a whole new journey and path.
Yes, raising the second half of my goal is scary and I do worry about it, but sometimes we need to do scary things because we are called to do them. Sometimes we need to face our fears because hiding behind them hurts more than just us.
Please consider helping 1,2 or 3 people get access to clean water. Donate here.