Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why I'm Running The Boston Marathon

My favorite thing about running is that it's the most egalitarian sport in the world. You can start at any age, it requires minimal equipment (just some shoes and clothes), and you don't need a team, but it opens you up to a community of athletes, friends and neighbors you never were aware of before.

When I was 15 and a freshman in high school, I'd just moved to Westborough Massachusetts, which neighbors the marathon start town of Hopkinton. I didn't know anyone, and how I was going to fit in to yet another new town was totally beyond me. My Dad, both worried about me and absolutely tired of my TV domination, suggested that I follow in his footsteps and go out for Track.
It did not start well. I was terrible. I was slow and pudgy and tired extremely easily. But I didn't quit. I kept at it, I kept doing the work and I kept showing up.
Then something happened. I got good...well, less bad. I found my race and I found friends and found that I had learned to love the sport of running. Running made me feel a part of my team, my school, and my town.

Running isn't about winning races or collecting medals or even earning marathon jackets. It's about believing there's a stronger you out there and going out and finding him. That's why I've chosen to run the Boston Marathon for WalkBoston.

WalkBoston is a charity that is designed to make the city of Boston more pedestrian friendly. I'm proud to be part of a team dedicated to making the city of Boston safe for everyone to run, walk, explore and travel around one of the greatest cities in America. In a world where we're constantly told that people are obese and isolated, I have the chance to help make a difference. It could be the kid who just wants to walk a little further today or that person who decides today is the day they change his life, lace up his running shoes and jog that excruciating, horrifying, exhilarating first half-mile (three-quarters if he's lucky).

I remember last year, after everything that happened, I just wanted to run. After all of that, being able to run was a way to tell the world I wasn't afraid, that I was free, that as long as I had some good tunes and a pair of shoes I was in charge of my own destiny. I'm excited to run the Boston Marathon for WalkBoston so I can help make the city safer for everyone in Boston to do the same.

I hope you'll consider donating to my fundraiser (if you do you get a personalized thank you note from me!): http://www.crowdrise.com/walkboston2014bostonmarathon/fundraiser/ryanharnedy1. Thanks for donating!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I Do Movember

I have no memory of my Dad without a mustache.

He started growing it sometime after high school and, while he has added and removed the occasional beard, goatee and sideburns his upper lip has remained comfortably, albeit creepily, covered. Fashions change, ties became skinny, then fat, then skinny again but my Dad has steadfastly refused to remove the push broom that has given our family photos that special panache cousins and friends have come to expect.

Looking back, so much of what defines me as a person and a man comes from my father. He taught me how to throw a baseball (poorly), how to ride a bike (acceptably) and the best way to make a cocktail (inside of a pineapple). Dad taught me the joys of running and of sitting on the couch watching movies, he taught me that people are to be respected and life is not to be taken too seriously. Dad taught me that what defines you as a man isn't how strong or smart or rich you are, but treating people right even if it does you no good.

I sometimes wonder what life would be like without my Dad. So much of what I think of as "common sense" are really things I picked watching my Dad. It scares me to think what I would be like if I didn't have his (and my Mom's) examples to follow. One of the reasons I do Movember is because everyone deserves to grow up with a healthy, energetic Dad and testicular cancer, which will kill 370 men this year and prostate cancer, which affects someone new every 2.2 MINUTES are an affront to a world where every kid deserves to learn how to throw a baseball, tie a knot and dismiss the Eagles as "Corporate Rock" from their Dad.

I'm taking a stand. I'm growing a mustache, albeit a substantially less impressive one than my Dad's in support of Men's health. I'd really appreciate it if you could donate to my campaign here