I counted down to Sunday, Sept. 23, like I was counting the days until Armageddon. I woke up before my alarm that morning, laying in the dark and searching for a really great excuse to not get up and do what I had already committed to doing.
The week before, my coworkers told me about this run they were going to do in solidarity with our friends and volunteers in the Netherlands. It just so happened that, on the same day as a large 15K race in Amsterdam called Dam tot Damloop, there was a much smaller 15K race right here in Antigua, Guatemala. Everyone was enthusiastic about signing up, and as the newest NDG employee, I thought I should probably join in with my new coworkers.
What I failed to remember in that moment was that I hadn’t run more than probably 2 miles since 8th grade cross country season. To my relief, there was the option to split the 15K with another person, and I got to team up with one of our awesome school volunteers to complete the relay. Still, I had serious doubts that I could run even 7.5K without keeling over.
I gave a half-hearted commitment to training in the 10 days leading up to the Big Day. I was more successful at fundraising, reaching out to friends and family in Minnesota for “encouragement gifts.” Overall, our NDG Antigua team raised Euro 2,650 (130% of our goal). That’s nothing in comparison with our Dutch counterparts, who raised nearly Euro 30,000!
In the end, we all finished the race without incident…including me. More importantly, we raised a ton of money that will directly impact the lives of hundreds of extremely poor children in Guatemala. Knowing the good we were doing for the kids convinced me to get up that morning, and carried me through to the finish line.