Running for the Tatas {and other Women’s Cancers}

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On Saturday my friend T and I got up bright and early to head downtown to join the throngs of women, men, families and children to join the fight against women’s cancers in the annual EIF/Revlon Run Walk for Women. This was our second run together – the last one back in November.

The event was hosted downtown by the LA Coliseum and was a 5k through downtown and the USC Campus.

The race started much later than I’m accustomed to – 9am – so we arrived around 8:15 to huge crowds of people. It was very atypical of the races I usually sign up for and attend.  In fact I’d venture to say it wasn’t a race at all.  There were no timed start corrals, no timing chips, no elite runners, no one was in “the zone”, Gu and gel wrappers were not strewn across the ground, nor did you get the sense that anyone was out there for anything other than a good time.  The beauty of this run/walk is that it brought out people in support of women’s cancer vs. the people ready to dominate a race.  There were strollers, wheelchairs, large packs of families and friends, parents lined up to run with their young children and more – far different from the crowd of PR focused runners at a road race or marathon.

The event kicked off right around 9 and while we were probably only 50 yards back from the start, it took us a good 15 minutes to get through the gates.  With a cast of celebs including Mario Lopez,  Matthew Morrison, Stacy Keibler and Halle Berry kicking off the event, many participants were very interested in snapping photographs with them before they crossed the start delaying movement forward significantly.   We planned on ‘jogging’ the race to the best of our ability knowing that we had no idea how crowded the course would be with walkers and strollers.  Turns out VERY.

As we made our way through the start, we started to jog {if you can call it that} – for those of your who are runners, this was every race pet peeve gone bad.  Packs of walkers lined up horizontally in a group, people stopping in the middle of the street to tie shoes, I even saw a woman changing her son’s diaper in the middle of the road! However, we put that aside – this wasn’t about racing or getting a PR.  This event was MUCH BIGGER than how you got to the finish, it was about the fact that all of us came out to walk or jog or stroll a 5k to kick cancer in the face.

As we started off, and pretty much the entire course, we did the bob and weave thing, navigating our way through the crowds. There were quite a few moments of inspiration along the way.  Many women walking with scarves on their heads – evidence that they were still fighting the battle with cancer, people with signs on their back stating how many years they’d been a “survivor” and those that had signs in memory of the many women they’ve loved that did not win the fight.  We saw a father running with his daughter who looked to be about 7 or 8 years old and considered what a special memory it will be for both of them to remember in the future.

As we hit mile 3, we turned off the streets and headed down the tunnel into the Coliseum.  At that moment T pointed out a woman who was running with her Mother who was a survivor.  As they entered the tunnel, they grabbed each others hands and ran the last .1 together hand-in-hand – not only a celebration that they were finishing, but a celebration of the life and memories they would be able to continue to share together because she had won her battle against the deadly disease.

talk.about.emotional

We finished in just under 30 minutes and as we were walking out of the Coliseum and back to our cars, we recounted all of the incredible memories and stories that we’d witnessed in such a brief time.  Once again, I was blessed and reminded of my goal to Do.More.Good – to put my body, my strengths and my energy towards making an impact in the world and community around me.  Saturday I was able to do this once again,  running and raising money in support of the fight against Cancer – and this time, to be able to do it alongside one of my best friends!

One day, we’re going to kick this thing for good.

{MF Dre}

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