Last Thursday morning, my husband and I drove over to Oak Bluffs, a town on Martha's Vineyard, for their annual Thanksgiving day 'fun run'. We showed up and for a moment thought maybe it wasn't happening, but then we saw a handful of people heading into the local police station. It was windy and a little chilly, and we quickly realized why no one wanted to stand around outside. We signed the forms and headed inside to get our numbers. The woman at the table handed them over in addition to the ribbons we (along with all the other runners) would be receiving at the end of the race. She told us she had decided to reward us with them ahead of time so she could avoid standing out in the cold all morning. Made sense. At first, it was looking like maybe only twenty of us were going to run, but slowly, several other groups began to trickle in. I heard someone ask, "is there a clock for this race?" to which the race organizer answered, "there is if you are wearing a watch." That got a lot of laughs. It was getting close to the start and everyone started to gather. The organizer stood in front of us, smiling and very excited. He mentioned that this race, which started not many years ago, helps to raise money for the elderly in need who live on the island. He said that we were just out there to "have fun" and there would be no official clock, that it wasn't an official course, there were no mile markers, and that there were no prizes at the end. He did let us know that we could all join him for a swim in the ocean after the race if we were interested. As someone who races often, part of me was wondering what the he-- I was doing there when I could have run 3.1 miles in my own neighborhood. But that wasn't the point. I looked around in awe as I realized that 250 of us, a record number of participants, came out to support this great cause and there was absolutely nothing in it for any of us other than some exercise and a good time. "It's a fun run, people" he said, "and that's all we're out here to do." That was the point.
Listen to this:
Dropped - Phantom Planet