“HAPPY NEW YEAR!” Another year had come and gone, as I watched my 2013 resolution escape out the window. While I hugged and kissed my extended family members (all 50 of them), I thought to myself: This is the year. I was going to run the Chicago Half Marathon but — then again — that’s what I said in 2013.
Five months later, I saw a Facebook post from Bright Pink about competing for Team Bright Pink. I had been following Bright Pink for a few years, simply because I applauded their mission and enjoyed reading up on tips and tools for taking care of my breast and ovarian health. Both cancers run in my family: My maternal grandmother battled breast cancer in her late 40’s, and my paternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer eight years ago. They continue to be the strongest women I know.
I thought — If I am going to run a half marathon, why not do it for a charity I admire? About two minutes later, I was finalizing my fundraising page. Little did I know that I was signing up for one of the best experiences of my life.
The people close to me have heard this phrase hundreds of times, and it’s true, “If I didn’t sign up for the marathon with Team Bright Pink, I probably wouldn’t have accomplished my goal.”
Team Bright Pink supported me the entire way — they helped me train with other Bright Pink runners through Fitness Formula Clubs (FFC), sent me countless encouraging emails up until the day of the race and connected with me after the race with thankful and congratulatory praises.
While I had an amazing experience training for the half marathon, and I continue to wear my neon pink shirt as often as possible, the best part of my experience was the inescapable and comforting feeling of being part of the Bright Pink community on race day.
My stomach was twisting into a tight ball of knots as I walked to my starting corral — the only race I had done before this was a 5K — could I really run 13.2 miles? As I plugged my headphones in and prepared for the 13.2 miles ahead of me, I was startled when a neon pink shirt ran over to me and wrapped me into a hug. She was a veteran Team Bright Pink runner and could probably tell that I was a bundle of nerves. She assured me that I would do great and told me to focus on having fun — my nerves immediately started to diminish and my excitement soared. Best friends? Yes.
Along the course, I ran a little faster to high-five the pink shirts in front of me and smiled proudly as I passed each mile-marker. When things got hard, and my legs begged me to walk, I thought of two women — my grandmothers. Then I thought of all of my young female cousins, sisters and friends and remembered why I was running this marathon and why I knew I would finish strong.
Bright Pink is a special community. It’s connectivity is something that I don’t think anyone can understand unless they immerse themselves in the optimistic, loving and forward-thinking environment. Team Bright Pink turns strangers into friends and doubters into believers.
Do you want to make a difference with Team Bright Pink? From marathons to mud runs to Crossfit competitions and more, Team Bright Pink does it all. Guaranteed charity entries to the 2016 Chicago Half Marathon now available! Learn about all of our events here.