This past Sunday I went for run—it had been nearly two weeks since I hit the trail. Usually the towering trees and tranquility of Forest Park keep me centered and on track, but my mind was elsewhere. I was focused on my phone. I was nervously watching a tennis match. My favorite player, Rafael Nadal (affectionately known as Rafa), was playing a tight match at the US Open and I couldn’t take my eyes off the phone.
I can only imagine what people thought as they ran past me on the trail huddled over my phone (probably similar thoughts to what I’m thinking when I see people doing the same thing). Anticipating he would lose (he did) I cut my run short so I would have fewer miles to sulk as I made my way back to the car.
Despite not ending up the victor, Nadal’s passion for the game—for every point—is evident. It’s part of why he’s so adored by fans everywhere. Driving home from my run (calling it a run is probably a stretch), I started thinking about passion—what it is and why it’s such a source of strength and frustration for me—for a lot of people.
In July 2014, I started this blog, fueled by my passion for trail running and adventure travel. If you’ve been following it with any consistency, you know there’s more to the story than writing about running. As part of my blog, I founded Small Change, an initiative to encourage donations to nonprofits in the places we visit for our races and adventures. The idea is small change, be it $5, $10, $15, or more adds up to big impact for organizations taking on issues important to us, be it environmental conservation, animal rights, or food recovery and assistance, among others.
After working hard for over two years, I thought I’d be further along with Small Change—more traction and more dollars raised for nonprofits. I wrote about my frustration this past July when my blog turned two. My conclusion is it takes time and perseverance for passion to evolve and amplify; it rarely happens overnight. Instead I’m thinking of it as a journey with many detours along the way. Destination unknown, but I will continue undeterred and steadfast in my resolve to keep moving forward with Small Change.
A good sign – in the last several days, I’ve had three people share their Small Change donation stories to support the following organizations:
- Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: Childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer
- Pacific Wild: Canadian nonprofit protecting wildlife ad wild spaces of Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and beyond
- Friends of Casco Bay: Dedicated to improving and protecting the environmental health of Casco Bay
These three runners are dedicated to their sport and through it have supported organizations that fuel their passion and interests. I’m incredibly grateful they’ve embraced the spirit of Small Change.
Today I’m off to Montana for Running Om, a trail running and yoga retreat through Molte Wellness & Adventure. I first connected with Turi, the founder of Molte, shortly after I launched my blog. Her passion for sharing the mountains and beauty of Montana with others was immediately evident, and I knew I’d join her one day at a retreat.
I approached Turi with the idea to partner around Small Change and after a few conversations, we had a solid plan. She would choose three local nonprofits as options for retreat goers to donate to as part of the Running Om experience. Those who donate $25 or more get a signed copy of Finding Traction, a DVD about Nikki Kimball, an accomplished ultrarunner who leads the trail running workshop. A great incentive no doubt, but the real reward here is giving back to the community.
I selected Montana Wilderness Association as my Running Om retreat beneficiary. If I’m going to be running and adventuring around Montana for several days, it seems only right I support an organization dedicated to protecting the area’s wildplaces.
What’s your passion story?