Running with Purpose by Harry Kelly
Running with Purpose
by Harry Kelly, RUNegades Group Leader
I was a late comer to the running world. Quit smoking and started running at the age of 52 in 2008. Running always interested me but I spent a large part of my life dealing with addiction and mental health issues. After being sober for some years, it was time to get rid of my last addiction, smoking, and start my new love, running. I was very fortunate when I started running to have some great running mentors. I learned much from them about the technical and physical aspects of running. But with them I learned even more important aspects of running—the joy, camaraderie, giving and sharing of running. I was the new guy in the club, slow, feeling a bit out of place. There was always a runner to slow down so I wasn’t alone. Runners who went out of their way to make sure I felt included, passing along tips and suggestions as we ran. All these things were part of my running education. All those things for me were part of being a runner.
Today, I try to be the type of runner that mentored me. For me, all those soft skills are a big part of why I run. I feel honored when I can give back what was so freely given to me. Running for me has become a Spiritual activity as well as a physical one. Keeps me centered, grounded, and gives me a chance to give back and be part of life—things that for many years I was not capable of doing.
The first time I ran with the RUNegades, I felt like I was home. I felt so welcomed. The ideals important to me in running were very evident. I knew I found a group of people who not just cared about being a good runner but cared about being a good human being. People who cared about the community and others. People who go out of their way to be helpful. And people I have learned much from about the physical part of running.
I started this adventure 13 years ago just wanting to finish a 5K. Since then, I have completed a number of marathons, met more great people that I can count, and have grown much as a person. Running is so much more than what I thought.
If you’re looking for a club that is more than running, please join us. If you are new to running and feeling a little hesitant, please join us. Myself and others would be happy to make you feel at home.