We’re all busy these days. Swiping, typing and hyping ourselves. We have work and super-duper important stuff to fill the hours. We are taking on more gigs, contract work and side jobs. Even our fitness is organized into perfectly origami shaped segments. One hour. 15 minutes tread. 15 minutes floor. 15 minutes tread. 15 minutes floor. This is fun right? I mean I have to create something to post, swipe and type about. Left, right, left, right, left. It’s all about boot camp busy life and we keep taking on just a little more.
Last summer I didn’t want to take on anymore. I was plenty “busy” and I like to surf and I even like to read books that have covers and I actually like to garden and yes I realize that I just turned into my father in one sentence. The point is I thought I had a full plate. A healthy diet of cool projects, annual events, everyday struggles, and all of it amounted to a subtle foundation of bubbling anxiety. It’s a proven fact that if you own your own company and that company produces events and you’re not anxious…you’re probably not in business. I don’t care how much Headspace meditation you do…if you’re not freaking out inside then you’re not doing it right.
Long story short, I didn’t want anymore. I was busy.
But, last summer I also heard a story. I have an amazing human of a friend named Heidi Boynton. Heidi is the Founder of the Mini Mermaid Running Club and she engaged me with a tale of her recent trip to Uganda. Heidi told me about a 5k in a refugee camp. Immediately I was all ears. 5k run/walk…different place. I’m intrigued. She talked about the excitement of the refugees running from their homes to the starting line. She spoke of their energy to run, dance and laugh on the day. It was World Refugee Day and one of the supporters of the camp, the American Refugee Committee was hosting their annual World Refugee Day 5k in the settlement. Over 1000 refugees and visitors would join together for the event.
One of the coolest parts is the entry fee. Every participant has to provide a “changemaker” idea for the camp. Provide an idea and you get an entry. It could be anything. Maybe it was a way to raise money for your camp basketball team. Propose a new art mural on a community wall. Build a better pedestrian bridge over a dangerous trench. Propose anything that would improve life in the settlement and then you get to run. Free t-shirt and everything. Then 365 of those ideas are chosen to be put into action by the ARC over the next year. Come on, that’s freaking cool. Like one of the coolest things ever. You want to run and celebrate? Then make your community a better place. We run together, we live together.
The day sounded beautiful. Young, old, men and women. Fast and slow. Dancing and warming up before the race. Just a simple and modest event, but everyone was fired up. You have to understand that one of the biggest struggles of a refugee (beyond the obvious basic needs of food and water) is that there is little to do. There is little to look forward to and few opportunities to celebrate. These events mean a lot. It means change.
That’s when Heidi told me that the ARC was considering cancelling the 2019 World Refugee Day 5k. It costs significant money for transportation, security, shirts, messaging, staff time, and just a lot of things that we take for granted in our first world society. While there was never a question posed to me… my answer was no. Heidi said what do you mean, I said they can’t. They can’t cancel this. This is what we do. We provide opportunities for people to run. To move, to laugh, train, be inspired, something to look forward to and if we do it right then we can create something to look fondly back on. This is what we do and it’s what we’re going to do, but this time we’re going to do it in Africa. And we’re going to do it for free.
I’m busy, but I can do a little more. You’re busy, but you can also do a little more. We all can.
Many of my values are based on our companies“run local” philosophy. Supporting my region and trying to inflect my influence on my community has always resonated with me. I believed that if we all took care of our community then the world would be fine. Focus here and on the achievable. I now believe that ethos derives from my personal love of “home.” I love coming home from a trip or just from work. It feels good. Maybe my parents made it feel safe or maybe it relieves some of the previously mentioned bubbling anxiety. The point is that I truly value the power of home. I think that is why the struggle of the refugee hits me so deep to my core. They literally don’t have a home. They were forced to leave. They didn’t choose to leave. They would love to be home. Borders are closing faster and harder than ever before. The world seems less welcoming than ever. Maybe it’s the news media, but earth feels less just. And I just I want to help those humans. So this is what we’re going to do…we’re all just going to do a little more.
We’re going to produce a global event. Yes, WE.
On June 20th 2019 we’re honoring World Refugee Day. I’m headed to Uganda to support 1000 refugees in the production of their 5k. You’re either going to run virtually or join a shadow run. If you’re one of my friends that directs races or you always wanted to put on a small fun run, then you’re going to host a shadow run in your town. We’re doing this. We need to keep this event alive and we need to blow past that finish line. We need to support refugees everywhere and non-profits like the ARC that support refugees. We’re going to create home. Let’s make this planet a better place. Let’s go world. Let’s go team humans. Let’s give just a little more.
(Authors note: And you get a free hat. So that’s chill)
Donate to my personal fundraising campaign page Here: https://raceroster.com/events/2019/23485/world-refugee-day-5k-virtual-run/pledge/participant/6065255
Register for the World Refugee Day 5k Here:
Sign up to host your own World Refugee Day 5k Shadow Run Here:
Learn more here (but what else do you really need to know?): Ok, fine here: https://www.worldrefugeeday5k.com/