Developing a Passion, the RunningBrooke Story.


Hello Friends near and far!

I'm often asked how my passion for running developed.  People scratch their heads and try to figure out why, and how, a mom of three wants to, or finds time to, run so much.   It was innocent enough, and happened over a number of years.  

You see, I never ran in high school, even though I always came in first or second -- only sometimes behind Susan S., not that I remember, or anything! -- in middle school running races.  But,  I was never encouraged to do anything more.  To take it a step further.  At this time, girls' sports weren't really that big but, HEY,  I went to an ALL girls school!   I wish that there had been that 'push' here, that encouragement there.  That teacher or that person who had said "Hey Brooke, you're kind of fast, come try out for our team."  I surprise myself that I still harbor this little bit of resentment...  Maybe some of you are thinking, gee Brooke, maybe you would have gotten burned out if you ran track or cross country in high school and then maybe college.  Or maybe you wouldn't be doing what you're doing now if you had run then.  Well okay, maybe, but maybe not...

Anyway, back to the story.  I made it though high school and college, water and snow skiing. Pretty good at those too.  And, and it is had to believe and harder to admit, picking up a cig habit...  Remember, I'm from Richmond, VA.  We used to go on field trips to Phillip Morris, cigarette manufacturer of the world.  Think 40 elementary school girls (all dressed in skirts and dresses because pants weren't allowed), going to a cigarette plant!  Marlboro, Merit, Virginia Slims.  I even have this memory of the plant manager giving each of us a carton of cigarettes to take home.  But this couldn't possibly be right...  I picked up this cig habit in high school, and was up to a pack a day in college.  Embarrassing, disgusting, unbelievable.  

Fast forward.  Came to my senses at 21 and quit cold turkey.  Fast forward.  Am thirty, Am married to my favorite husband, Am an occasional exerciser, and I have three little kids.  

Now look.  I love my children and I chose to stay home with them, to not work outside the house.

BUT and this is the important part here...

I started to run just to GET THE HECK OUT OF THE HOUSE!  To be alone.  To think.  To be outside.  To be where no one could follow me.


I felt myself fading into the woodwork.  I had bought MOM jeans.  I had tummy-control underwear for god's sake.  But, I also had this 'life list' of things I wanted to do before I croaked, forming in my head...  And running a marathon was on that list.  9/11 happened.  I could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon.  I figured that I'd better hurry up!

Like I said.  Running a marathon was on my 'life list' of things to do.

A friend, who knew of this list, got me into the Marine Corps Marathon.  I remember my initial goal was just to finish without hurting myself.  And I remember finishing that first marathon with 'gas in the tank' and a desire to run another marathon better and faster.  And I did.  Then the goal was qualifying for Boston, and then re-qualifying for Boston.  And I did.  Then it was to break 3:10.  And I did.  But, then I began to look for a new reason to run.  To put meaning and passion back into my running.  And that was where the seed idea of RunningBrooke came.

Since 2002, I've run the Marine Corps Marathon twice, Richmond, VA, Boston 4 times, Chicago, New York, Steamtown, PA, the JFK50 miler, Memphis, TN, the Goofy Challenge (Disney - 1/2 marathon Saturday and a full marathon Sunday) and Sedona, AZ.  And two international ones, Berlin and Easter Island, Chile.  Yeah, baby, I broke the tape in Easter Island, as I was the first female finisher!

The inception of RunningBrooke.

With all those miles and all that time to think, I decided to pair my passion for helping others, with marathoning.  And this is what I decided to do.  First, I decided to run a marathon on every continent.  Then, I figured that that wouldn't take me too long, so I decided to throw the 50 states in there.  And then I figured, while I was at it, I might as well run the 5 marathon majors.  The question I kept getting was, so Brooke, "how long is this going to take you?" and I said, " I dunno, as long as it takes me."  But all these people were right, I needed to put parameters around how long this was going to take.  And that is where the one-a-month came in.  I made the mistake, haha, no not a Mistake, of asking new-friend Mike W. what would impress him.  He said "a marathon a month would impress me."  So, I thought about it for maybe 5 seconds, and said DONE!   And that is how it happened.  That is how I committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month.  And I'm totally pumped!

I am doing this for me (putting meaning back into my running) and for at-risk youth and their families in Alexandria.  I am doing this to bring awareness to, really what we could all be doing (being philanthropically-minded), and to raise money for these kids and their parent/s.  Every dollar I raise goes back to the city.  I pay all of my travel expenses and associated fees.

From May of 2009 (birth of the RunningBrooke Fund) to December of 2009, I raised over $20,000.00.  Last month, I granted that money to Child and Family Network Centers  That means that 36 children, and their families, will continue to receive services through the end of 2010's school year.  FREE preschool.  FREE ESL classes (English as a Second Language), FREE job training and FREE social services, including hearing and vision screening.  It was incredibly satisfying to me to touch so many lives, and I have never had so much fun writing a check so big!

My goal is to 'do good' and to inspire those around me to find their passion.  So, come follow my journey around the nation and around the world.

Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run!



Anonymous said...

love the new look of your blog. party sounded like a big success. kuddos to you and your hard inspiration for all. keep up the good work and keep on running.

runningbrooke said...

Thanks my friend. Don't know if you know it but you've inspired me. Your sense of adventure, and quest for something different, will be a lifetime of learning for your family and kids, all crammed into one year. Too, too cool.

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