Running for more than a medal

Jamie gets his hustle on at the Yorkville Run to benefit YWCA Toronto shelters.

Jamie gets his hustle on at the Yorkville Run to benefit YWCA Toronto shelters.

What makes a 5k race the greatest race ever?

To be honest, I was not expecting the emotional and inspirational journey that I experienced while participating in the Bang & Olufsen Yorkville 5k Run in support of YWCA Toronto’s Women’s shelters. But by the end of the day, I realized the event made me even more committed to helping YWCA Toronto’s  mission. Although I have only been an intern at YWCA Toronto for a short amount of time, I have been blown away by the positive impact the organization has on the lives of women and our community as a whole. When you work in a positive and fast-paced atmosphere, like the one at YWCA Toronto, you always feel as if you just want to help more. This feeling played a large part in why I decided to try my hand (or in this case my feet) at running in the B&O Yorkville 5k Run.

I am in no sense of the word a “runner,” and I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most physically fit person in the world, so I knew this would be a challenge for me. Going into the race I knew that I would not be the fastest runner nor would I raise the most money in donations. However, I felt that my participation and modest donations could in some small way help YWCA Toronto keep doing the great work they do for our community.

I was amazed by so many things about this race. To start with, the sheer number of people that came out to support YWCA Toronto. I’m not just talking about all the runners and volunteers (who did a fantastic job) but also the crowds of people who came out to cheer on the runners. While I was running, there was never a large gap in time when I was not being cheered on by enthusiastic well wishers. I have to say after the 3k mark, this not only helped me get my second wind, but it also gave me a much needed extra boost in morale.

Another thing that stood out to me was the generosity of the event sponsors. All of the organizations (a list of which can be found here) donated both a great deal of their time and resources, which helped make this event one that will be long remembered by those that attended.

Finally, what really made this race great was just the amount of positive energy that I experienced in the crowd of people there. When I was standing in the starting position everyone around me was just so upbeat and full of energy that it was impossible not to smile.

Everyone’s generosity showed me what we can accomplish by working together to raise awareness about the programs and services YWCA Toronto provides to women fleeing violence. For me, seeing how strong this community is was the best part of the race and it meant more than receiving a medal.

This was the fourth year that the event was held. This year’s donations doubled last year’s with a total of over $102,000 in support of YWCA Toronto’s Women’s Shelters. This just goes to show that a little pain you may get from running is well worth the gain. The only downside to this event is that now I’ll have to wait another year to do it again!