Race #5 – Running for the Homeless and Hungry

Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, PA

Race #5: The Harrisburg Young Professionals (HYP) 5 Miler for 5 Charities

The Cause: The race benefits 5 different nonprofits every year, including Downtown Daily Bread which serves a hot lunch to the homeless every day out of the Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg.

There are few causes more compelling than those that help the homeless or hungry. The statistics are crazy:

  • Every night in the U.S., more than half a million people are homeless.
  • On any given night, 15,000+ people are homeless in Pennsylvania.
  • Worldwide, 1 out of every 9 people do not have enough food.
  • Poverty, hunger and homelessness often afflict people in tandem.
  • In Pennsylvania, 1 of every 8 households struggles to put food on the table.
  • Downtown Daily Bread began serving meals to Harrisburg’s homeless in 1983.

For this race, my dear friend Mary joined me. We met through running but have much more in common, including a Christian outlook on life that directs our steps to help others. We have both, in different times in our lives, volunteered, hands-on at soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.

Proverbs 22:9

This race followed one of my favorite Harrisburg area running routes, incorporating City Island, the Capital Area Greenbelt and views of the Susquehanna River. Mary and I have run these paths and bridges a million times with the Fleet Feet Running Club and/or Harrisburg Area River Runners.

Mary must have brought me good luck, because I placed 1st in my age group–a wonderful bonus which earned me a bottle of wine during the awards ceremony. I even broke my 5-mile PR from two weeks ago at the York White Rose Run, by almost 3 minutes–probably because this course was mainly flat compared to York’s hilly course.

So far, turning 50 has been a bit of an age-defying experience for me! A lot of people have asked how I’m training and/or taking care of myself in between weekly races. So, I’m trying to be very careful about balancing and mixing several weekly runs (1-2 easy runs of 3-6 miles, 1-2 tempo runs/speedwork, and some weeks I incorporate a long run) with 2-3 days of yoga/pilates/ballet work and 1 day of strength training.

Every week, I focus on the cause or location of the next race while I’m training, which makes each experience even more rewarding.

That being said, as of right now, I have a little gap in my upcoming race schedule because I’m waiting for some travel plans to shake out. So stay tuned…

For more than three decades, I have believed and written that running brings together mind, body and spirit better than any other activity I have researched or experienced.

Jeff Galloway, “Mental Training for Runners”

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