Bigger: Why I Choose to Run for My Nonprofit Running Club, Silverdale RIOT

12669624_10208733045383345_351622919268119351_n-1

It’s important to find something bigger then yourself in life.

In a world full of social media selfies, it may come as a hard shock to learn that some of us do things for a larger cause. From the latest fashion statement in shoes, the most beautiful running photo, or the fastest course time on Strava, media is flooded with those who are stronger, faster, wealthier, luckier…perhaps just cuter.  In the endless stream of one-upmanship, it can be hard to breath.

Silverdale RIOT is a breath of fresh air.

I haven’t talked about my club much: this rag-tag, goofy, noble, and brilliant set of athletic friends and humans that make up a little nonprofit running club in Washington State called Silverdale RIOT, or simply RIOT.   RIOT stands for “running is our therapy”.  Silverdale RIOT is one of the reasons why I run.   I’m not sure I would still be plugging away at this crazy sport so diligently if it weren’t for these lovely people.

Silverdale RIOT is about support and inspiration inside of the context of running.  Our members come from every walk of life, representing every type of athlete. Some wouldn’t even call themselves athletes, although I would beg to differ.   Despite their differences, all of our members have a similar trait: caring for fellow runners. Had a bad day? Someone is there to listen and lift you up. Need a late night running partner? You can probably find one in RIOT. Need someone to travel to remote places for days on end and support your insane attempts at 100 milers? Silverdale RIOT members will volunteer without hesitation. They have your back. They pass no judgment on how fast or slow you are, how your arms flail out a bit when you run, or your bizarre eating habits. They love you for all of your uniqueness. RIOT members are always there and they are not just hoping you complete your race, they are there training with you. They are understanding if you faultier but they know you probably won’t.

IMG_3594

It is important to find things that are bigger then yourself in life. Why do I choose to wear my club shirt to every race I run in? I run not just for myself, I run for these awesome people. I know that I am carrying their strength with me at every footfall. For those that haven’t tried their first mile, I am running to show them they can do it. For those that are working up the courage to enter their first half marathon, I know my success and that of all our club members will drive them forward. My steps are their steps. We come from different places but running brings us the same trials. We all suffer; we all earn every step. I feel their triumph and I feel their pain, whether it is a race or a training run. We run for ourselves and we run for each other. We run because we love running. Silverdale RIOT has brought the “we” into a solo sport. With every photo of my teammates crossing that finish line, I feel such pride. They’ve done it again! They’ve proved to themselves that they could make it. They have made themselves epic. I am so proud of my friends. I choose to wear my club shirt in their honor. My only hope is that I will be able to do my fellow RIOT’ers justice.

12829034_10208944330985353_766429816163843227_o

The Phoenix, Silverdale RIOT team member