Do something…to close the gap.

So it’s 5:17AM and I’m getting ready for my third “race” in 3 weeks. I put it in quotes b/c they’re not really races in the sense that I’ve trained diligently….or that I have any expectation of winning….but there’s a starting gun and people with numbers/bibs….and someone somewhere is running a clock….so they’re races.  In endurance parlance, one might call these “B” or “C” races (“A” races being the one your training plan is geared toward)…..and as I flick through twitter — my source for the news I care about from the people I care to hear from — I see another bit of evidence that adds fuel to the fire of health disparity…..and it pisses me off and makes me want to blog.  I don’t really have time to….but, I vent.

The essential message? “Rich people can afford to exercise while those lower on the socioeconomic ladder are falling off.”

It makes me question myself.

  • 3 weeks ago when I participated in a race that charges the standard $2-3/mi run – was that a luxury buy?
  • 2 weeks ago when I dropped $50 so I could ride my bike with other “guys in ill-fitting spandex outfits” over the hills of NorthWest Jersey – how accessible would that be to others?
  • In a few hours, when I run my 2 legs of the 91 mile relay that will cross from one side of NJ (River) to the other (Sea) and get the >$100 experience I’ve paid for to hangout with some running buddies in a smelly car for the day – is that the new “bling”?

Holy Shit I think – Maybe it is.

I find I’m a little sick to my stomach…..and it has nothing to do with the arugula-smoothie I drank for its impact (dietary nitrates > beetroot juice) on performance….rather, because it’s another reminder that my stresses of the day (arugula smoothie problems…seriously?) are really a set of luxury stresses….

Perhaps not ironically, yesterday as I met with my partners and discussed the charitable arm of our organization (BaseCamp31 and BaseCampAC) for a bit we talked, as we often do, about how we can best leverage our strengths for the greater good; and, as it often is, using exercise as a tool for personal-growth with high-risk individuals in neighboring communities, some of which struggle financially more than ours, was near the top of the list. It dawns on me there’s something easy here.  Something ANY of us can do…..and more than likely someone (somewhere) is already doing it.

Help me start/expand a list of races that are willing to donate a few entries to financially distressed youth or families.  Let’s get some training plans and support and maybe even a few pairs of running shoes in the hands of folks who can REALLY benefit from starting an exercise habit. If it makes a difference in one life, it’s making a difference.

We can do better.  We must.

Better Health, Every American, THIS lifetime.

Now my mind is racing today too.

Mike E.

490 words.