pound the pavement, not your head against the wall.
Turning the big three-oh-no can be a tricky milestone. Too many women anticipate their thirtieth birthday with dread, expecting their youthful glow to wilt into an elderly mess at midnight– rife with wrinkles, steely grey hair, and a sad set of saggy boobs. Worse, the landmark date can amplify those unfulfilled accomplishments you’d hoped to have reached by that age. But with her thirtieth fast approaching in August last year, my good friend Nia wanted to embrace the occasion and saw it as an opportunity for genuine growth. She launched a campaign and companion blog she’s simply calling 30 Races, running thirty 5K races throughout the year she’ll be thirty years-old to raise charitable donations for her local community center.
The idea came together when she was working with the Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center
in St. Petersburg, Florida, which provides services and support the region’s young people in need and their families. “I really fell in love with the kids and I fell in love with the community spirit at the center, people who dedicate their lives to children,” she told a Tampa Bay news affiliate
who spotlighted her story.
While working with the kids was rewarding, she found the LANFC’s youth sports program was underfunded and needed to be supplemented. “It’s one of those programs that every year the budget falls short on”, she said. “I knew that I didn’t have to have a lot in order to be able give back. I run every day, I have my running shoes, and I can use what I have to give back to my community.”
Another, perhaps unintended, benefit of Nia’s project is its capacity to motivate new runners, or even those striving for personal betterment outside of heath and fitness. The 30Races blog shares her hard-earned triumphs but also candidly relates her struggle to keep training, continue improving, and reach her goal. “I slept in through A LOT of tomorrows”, her newest post reads, “and now I find myself with a lot of ground to cover between tomorrow and August 2nd, 2013.” But with one fifth of her races under her belt and a quarter of her fundraising goal reached (she’s hoping to break $1,000), she’s on track to honor her commitment to the LANFC and show those twenty-somethings timid about turning thirty how to begin to age gracefully by giving back. —Casandra Armour