It all started with the perfect parking spot, just a half a block from the meeting spot and completely free, a rarity in downtown Toronto. Today was the big day, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the event I, among many, have been training to run and fundraising for since the end of July.
My wife, sister and me feeling pretty awesome before leaving our house.
I truly did not know what to expect. This was my first 5km and my first foray into group fundraising for a large-scale event. But with my sarcastic sister eager and ready to kick my butt and my cool as a cucumber wife looking pretty dashing in her running gear and CIBC Run for the Cure UrbanMoms t-shirt, I was pretty sure even my nervous stomach could handle whatever was around the pink corner.
First, the fundraising. UrbanMoms managed to raise $4373 dollars for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Money that will go towards new investments in innovative and relevant research, advocacy and education initiatives. It is an awesome accomplishment from a mish mash of wonderful women and three or four men thrown in there for good measure.
Now, the actual CIBC Run for the Cure. Beyond the bottlenecks at the beginning and at the end, the run went pretty smooth. My goal was to do it in less than 30 minutes and I knew because of my recent training it was going to be awfully close. There were a couple of really inspiring moments looking down University Avenue or St. George and seeing the thousands of people, walking or jogging (or sprinting, crazy freaks) all dappled in white or pink (lots and lots of pink), all with inspiration scrawled on the front of their shirts, all with their heads held high in pride or a bit low in crestfallen memory of someone they lost to breast cancer.
I saw many of my teammates among the throng of people, but mostly I kept to myself and my music. It was challenging at times to deke and swerve between some of the walkers or the slower runners, but the faster ones must have felt the same about me. When I hit the 4km mark, my body went from oh my god please stop running to holy moly I think we can do this. I even picked up my pace because a quick glance at my watch showed that I was going to be very close to my target time.
I had looked at the map prior to the race so when I turned left at College Street, I knew the finish line was very close. One more turn and I saw the big sign and the huge mass of people lining the street cheering their loved ones on, including my mother, stepfather and my two sons.
And then I was there. The finish line. Stopping and clicking to stop the time on my watch.
Just missed it!
And then to top it all off, my sister beat me!
To pay her back, I am posting this picture of us. Looking good Mitch!
I was proud to captain this team and just when I didn’t think it mattered that much, I quickly realized to do this as a team, both the fundraising and the actual run, was much better with a group than trying to do it on my own. I felt like I was part of something, my own little estrogen-based community, and what more fitting of a cause than trying to find a cure for breast cancer?
Consider me a yearly participant.
UrbanMoms founder Jen and I on our way to the start.