Bringing Together My Two Loves For One Grand Adventure

I did not go into 2015 with the intention of running so many races.  I knew that I would do a spring and fall marathon but all the in betweens just kind of happened.  Running can be an individual sport but also very social.  Given an opportunity to travel with running friends and run my first Ultra was too good to pass up!  AND I have no regrets in doing so.  I found out that my mental strength was quite strong.  This of course boosted my confidence for bigger goals.

I remember just prior to running my Ultra I thought I was going to take it easy in 2016.  Allow myself to recover fully and give my body a rest.  If I could just get through running this race then I would likely slow down for a bit.  Ummmm, so that didn’t happen!

I managed to work through the lower leg issues I had been struggling with, however, by September I seemed to have lost my motivation to get out and run.  After travelling for holidays (including a race) I had lost the fun in getting out.  Life was getting busy and my runs became “I had to” and not “I want to.” I was losing my reason for why I loved to run.  It was just another thing that had to get done.

I still had my fall marathon to get done and I was doing a half marathon 2 weeks after that.  I enjoyed these and the 10K that followed but truthfully my schedule had been so jam packed with racing in 2015, that I think I was losing the simplicity of running.

Perhaps that is why I started questioning why I run.  I knew I usually enjoyed it, it gave me a sense of accomplishment but I wanted to do more, to “be” more.

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I did not always love running, in fact I wasn’t a runner until I was in my late thirties.  I just evolved into a runner through life’s experiences.  One thing led to another and before I knew it I was passionate about getting out for runs, challenging myself and setting new goals.

The same can be said about my heart love for young people.  It happened over time.  Growing up was not easy.  When I was born my father was absent, leaving my mom to raise me and my brothers on her own. My childhood consisted of regular moves, meaning I was not able to establish roots anywhere.  By my early teens I was asking about my father, eventually discovering he was in prison, where he had been since months prior to my birth.  I had started regular visits with my dad in prison, writing letters and letting him take a place in my life. During my preteen/teen years I experienced so much tragedy in my life.  Multiple family members died from cancer, murder, a plane crash and suicide. Perhaps it was all the loss in his own life (his sisters, brother and mother died) but my dad chose to leave one day, rather than stay and be involved in my life.

So why do I share this?  Because I think it matters, I think young people need to know that even though we may not choose the lives we are born into, we can still overcome the challenges we go through.  Our lives do not need to be defined by our circumstances.

Since my early 20’s I’ve been drawn to young people.  My heart aches for them at times when I see them struggling.  Through my own children’s teen years we have had many young people through our home and so many of them facing unbelievable challenges, again my heart aching, wanting to make things better.  Some have suffered loss, others dealing with very negative family dynamics, some have almost no positive support or role models.

I don’t know why but I have always been a cup half full kinda girl.  To my own detriment at times (people can take advantage of you), I have always seen or looked for the good in people. I love discovering the story behind the person.  I want to encourage and I cheer people on and say “Don’t give up!  This too shall pass, you can survive this and have an awesome life.”

I decided that I wanted to combine my two loves – running and young people.  I wanted to do something big GRAND to encourage others that they could accomplish big goals for their lives. if they set a goal and then worked hard to complete it.  To stop limiting themselves based on what they perceived to be their limits but push past their perceived limits and dream bigger.  I decided to run Grand to Grand Ultra and use the training/race to raise money and awareness for causes close to my heart.

I2PProfileThe first commitment is to i2P where I have committed to raise $5,000 US, you can donate here.  You can also view my fundraising page for items for sale as I will update it to keep it current.

The second is to the Ottawa Children’s Aid Foundation.  The message is most important to me, however, it requires funds to allow these organizations to continue doing the amazing work that they do.

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My Grand Adventure is a 170mile (273km) race over 7 days (6 stages).

Would you consider partnering with me?  You can donate here (note it will convert to US dollars) or you can send a donation through paypal using leannerichardson13@gmail.com.  Would you also consider sharing my message with others to raise more awareness? Together we can send a message to young people (all people) that we can rise above our perceived limits and accomplish some pretty remarkable things!

Keep Chasing Dreams…..

xo

 

2 thoughts on “Bringing Together My Two Loves For One Grand Adventure

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