I had a different idea planned for today’s post but due to some pretty incredible happenings over the last few days – that post can wait! You are going to want to hear about this if you haven’t already!!
On Monday morning December 17th, one local triathlete Robbie Bruce sent a text to two of his friends and fellow runners. Troubled by the shootings in Newtown and senseless lose of young lives just 3 days earlier, they hatched a plan to show their respect and make a small donation. They decide to do a 26 mile run – one mile for each victim. They also hoped they could recruit enough friends to have 26 people or teams of people running as relays complete the 26 miles. Each life would be commemorated with their own 26 mile run and each runner or relay team would run on behalf of one special person. The ask – donate $1 per mile run. And the run would take place on Saturday at 8am … just five days later. The run was named 26-4-26.
Each friend posted and shared the make-shift event on Facebook, twitter, email and by word of mouth. By Wednesday morning, what was expected to be a run with 30 or so people had 400 people committed to participate and $10,000 in pledges!! By Thursday the local news got wind of the event and started promoting. And the city called and asked if they would need to shut down any roads. If you have ever put on a race, you know it can be difficult to get permission to close roads and can take months to get approval.
And here was Metro Nashville calling and offering to help in just 3 days! LP Stadium where the Titans play offered free parking for the participants. Companies donated water, tents, designed shirts, designed stickers and helped spread the word. Those who couldn’t run offered to volunteer. One anonymous donor, even offered to fly Robbie Bruce – the originator of the 26-4-26 concept and leader of the movement, to Newtown. Connecticut to personally deliver the check of monies raised.
By Saturday morning more than 1000 people showed up to run and more than $30,000 was raised in just 5 days because three friends cared and wanted to help.
I had the honor to run on behalf of Victoria Soto, the young teacher who lost her life but saved all of her students. While the reason for our run was sad and the event emotional, the power of seeing so many strangers hundreds of miles away from this tragedy show up on a cold morning so close to
Christmas to do what they could be it one mile or 26 miles was so heartwarming and overwhelming. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Nashville is a city full of kind, generous people who pull together when there is a need. I saw this personally after the floods of 2010 and it should not have been a surprise to see it again this Saturday.
So my Christmas message to you is this… dream big. Next time you think – what can one person do or what impact can I have – try anyway. Love fully, give whole-heartedly, show up, appreciate and cherish what you have. And have a blessed Holiday!