The Casual Runner

Run to Your Safe Place

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You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet here at Casual Runner. Following the excitement of the 2016 runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend and Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, we have tons of great stories to share with you all. However, we decided that those stories might get lost as the American Presidential Election would dominate, well, everything. So we decided to hold off for a few days. But we could not expect what was to come.

This past week has been, in a word, tumultuous. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, Libertarian, conservative, progressive, liberal…or if you are a citizen of another country who was nonetheless paying attention and interested in the outcome of the vote…this past week has been a difficult one. It is hard to remember a time where everyone – both those whose candidates came out ahead electorally and those who did not – were faced with such mixed and difficult emotions. Whatever elation and hope was experienced was certainly met with, and even overcome, by fear, despair, hopelessness, and confusion. These are certainly trying times. Not only can some not bring themselves to watch the evening news, but others cannot even turn to their own social media without rekindling feelings of anger and divisiveness.

So, we the Casual Runner Team were left wondering: “what are we to do in these tumultuous times?”

Simply put, we must run to our safe place. And it turns out, that safe place was in front of us the whole time.

It is running itself.

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You see, running IS and always should be a safe place. A place where we can come together, support one another, and celebrate a shared sense of personal and collective accomplishment. Running is a safe place where we can escape the trials and tribulations of the world, and become one with ourselves, and at times, with nature itself.

Keep Running Real & Pure

This is not to say that running is immune from outside influences, it must be guarded and protected as a sanctuary for all. I was recently reminded that, when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I shared this particularly unfortunate incident:

Rant alert: There was one exception where a gentleman decided that he was going to use the turnaround to stage a political protest. Now, I will not give him the pleasure of naming his cause here, but suffice to say, any race, let alone one staged to honor the Marine Corps, is not a place for you to make a political statement.

To this idiot, I say, way to try to take the focus off of the corps and the runners and try to make it all about you. What a jerk. As you can see, this really bothered me, and still does. Even if you don’t care about the runners, the [Marine] Corps deserves more respect than that.

When Candace and I ran the 2016 runDisney Disneyland 10k, we found ourselves confronted with a vocal and ignorant spectator who decided to sullen the joyous event by displaying a sign filled with such hate and vitriol that I refuse to dignify it by reprinting its message here.

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When confronted with such situations, we must abide by our time-honored running mantra: Accept. Adjust. Advance. Well, we must accept and overcome them as unfortunate obstacles, not accept such behavior as prudent or, pardon the unfortunate pun, acceptable. 

Be Inspired. Be The Inspiration.

When I was struggling to find words to share some insight with our readers, Nick reminded me of the words of Kathrine Switzer, the remarkable trailblazer who, when women were prohibited from running the Boston Marathon, secretly registered under a gender-neutral name and then conquered, not only 26.2 grueling miles, but the stench of ignorance, discrimination, and oppression, en route to becoming the first female finisher of this celebrated event. Switzer reminded everyone that: “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

img_0368And so it is, often the greatest inspiration can be found by the simplest acts of courage, commitment, and dedication of our fellow runners.

Casual Runner knows that inspiration and hope should be shared and celebrated, and we remain committed to always being a safe place where runners of ALL political, ethnic, religious, and ideological camps can find solace, refuge, and even escape. Running is a safe place, it is our safe place.

When you need to know where to turn, turn to Casual Runner and we will be here to help you. We can all provide hope for ourselves and others by simply going out and running our FIRST MILE. Whether you run solo who come together with your family, you are never going at it alone.

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No matter how hopeless life may seem at times, never, ever give up. Instead, remember to always run to the finish, because “just” finishing can be all the inspiration we need to endure and to inspire others. There are no shortcuts in life, so always be honest with yourself and keep running real and true. Celebrate this great shared endeavor, honor it, and let it carry you to a better and brighter tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a new day, and there will be another one after that. Through it all, keep running, and keeping inspiring yourselves and one another. After all, we are all in this great adventure together.

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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