In just under one month, I’ll be running my first 10K – the Old Wethersfield 5K & 10K, part of the Hartford Marathon Foundation series. I’m excited and also nervous… at this point I still haven’t run much more than 4 miles, so 6.2 seems a little intimidating. Plus, picking August for my first “long” race might not have been the best idea, given my intense dislike for running in the heat. Why wouldn’t I have picked a cooler month to tackle my next race distance? Or, you know, run the 5K part of this race so that I could still check Connecticut off my list?
I’ll be running the Old Wethersfield 10K for a bigger reason than just getting one state closer to my goal of running in all 50. What really caught my eye about this race was the charity beneficiary – InterCommunity. According to the race website, InterCommunity is an organization with a mission “to help people living with mental illness and/or addiction disorders improve their quality of life by providing opportunities for healing and recovery.” In the past year, this is a cause that has become very close to my heart.
One year ago today, my cousin Ashley died. It’s still really hard for me to wrap my head around that, and it still doesn’t feel real even when I write it out. She was my first friend, born a few weeks shy of my first birthday, and we grew up together, remaining close into adulthood. Despite her being one of my best friends, there was a part of her life during the past few years that I didn’t fully know about, and I didn’t realize just how much she struggled with addiction until she was gone. It re-breaks my heart every time I think about it, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve wished I could go back and do something to help her.
When I heard about the Old Wethersfield race and learned about InterCommunity, I finally felt like there was something I could do. Even though I can’t help Ash, I can run for a cause that helps people who are struggling like she did, and hope that they can make a difference in someone’s life and prevent their story from ending the same way. I chose to sign up for the longer distance because the 5K felt a little too easy… maybe not easy but ordinary, since I’ve run so many 5Ks at this point. Somehow I felt like it would mean more to me if I ran a tougher distance; I wanted to dedicate this milestone race to my cousin.
I contacted InterCommunity to see if I could fundraise for the race, but they replied that the only fundraising they really do is through the race registration or direct donations. Without their direct involvement, trying to set up my own fundraiser through websites like JustGiving seemed a little too complicated. If you’re at all interested in donating to InterCommunity, or learning more about the organization, please click here.
Though I’m nervous about tackling a new distance in what could be relatively intense heat and humidity, I like knowing that part of my registration fee will go to a cause I care about, and knowing that I’m running in honor of my cousin will be amazing motivation for me to grind out the miles and finish strong. This race is for you, Ash. ❤