As a staff of Wander Project, I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a caring community. Over the past 3 months, as the new executive director, I have watched as athletes work to support each other during race events, where volunteers show up (sometimes as early as 3 am) to help set up, and stay long after the event to break down. There are volunteers that make sure that registration and bib pickup are as easy as possible, and they support and encourage runners at various aid stations along the course.
I have had the opportunity to work with charity bib participants who share amazing stories of personal challenge, and how running has inspired them to keep going. Athletes that have overcome physical challenges and serious injury. Others work multiple jobs, are single parents, or are taking classes to create a better future for themselves and their families. While others have registered for a charity bib because they know that engaging with local community organizations can change lives.
Over the past 3 months, I have seen this community engage and support through the online platforms that have been created, our social media sites, and Friends of Vacation Races. These communities share stories, suggestions, and even training tips for some of their favorite races across the country.
During these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to continue to build this community of hope. This community that shares joy in sharing our passions with each other.
I know that at some level, we are all going to be or have already been affected by the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown our way. I also know that not all of our challenges will be felt at the same level. So I am reaching out to ask for support for our community and the communities that inspire us to run.
I believe that each of us can contribute something to enhance our community right now. This might be as simple as reaching out and sharing your story of hope. It might be creating something beautiful that you can post on your social media page, or even in the window of your home so that people that are out running can be inspired. And, if you have the ability to give financially right now, that would be a wonderful way to ensure that the places we love will continue to survive during this financially hard time for many.
Bill Gates recently wrote about the important lessons COVID-19 has to teach us: “It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another.”
Let’s commit right now to remembering this and to help make sure that the effect we have on one another is a positive one, filled with inspiration, engagement, and support. Let’s treat these upcoming months like one of our endurance racing events, and be there for each other just like we are in person.
To make a donation directly to Wander Project please visit our website:
If you would like to direct your support to your favorite race community or to an athlete that is working to raise funds for their charity bib, please make a note in the “leave a comment” section of the donation form.