Why I Run : Using My Passions to Serve Others by Emily Korosec

With the recent events in Las Vegas, the question "Why do I run?" seems so petty to ask. In a world of so much pain and

chaos, why does running even matter to me? To anyone? I'm still wrestling with this as I sit here, but I cannot deny that I

still love to run. The desire to lace up my shoes and get lost in the metronome of my feet on the pavement still exists. It's a

love affair I cannot escape.

 

But Why do I love to run?  I’m asked this question pretty much on the daily. It’s an understandable question, because

sometimes I ask myself the same thing, particularly during the 25th mile of a marathon; “Why do I keep torturing myself!?”

And then something funny happens; I cross the finish line and I’m flooded with an overwhelming love for running all over

again. My mom friends and I joke that it’s just like childbirth. You tell yourself (and often times your significant other) that

this will be your only child because you will NEVER voluntarily go through this insane misery again! And then the doctor

places a tiny human in your arms and you can’t even begin to describe the love you feel for someone you just met,

forgetting every ounce of pain you just experienced for hours on end. Running is pretty much just like that.

I grew up a sports junkie and began participating in organized sports at a very young age. My first love was soccer, and I played the sport into my college years. Running to me use to mean conditioning for soccer and nothing more. And trust me, conditioning drills in practice were not particularly enjoyable. When soccer was said and done, I still longed for a physical, emotional and competitive outlet that organized sports had brought me for the last 20 years. I also had just gone through a difficult break up and I needed that emotional outlet as a way to process (or sometimes escape) my thoughts. In comes running. Even though it wasn't something I necessarily loved at the time, it was simple, it was accessible and it was something I knew how to do; plus, it filled all of the holes that sports once occupied.

Right : Happy and proud to have accomplished half marathon number 10 at the Youngstown half marathon in June

One 5k on a cold and rainy November morning in 2009 was all it took to get me officially hooked. I absolutely loved the race atmosphere and that I had a purpose to push myself past my physical limits again. I loved that I had a tangible (and socially acceptable…) way to release that competitiveness inside of me. Since that fateful day 8 years ago, I have completed (2) marathons, (14) half marathons, (6) 5ks, (2) 10ks, (2) 5 milers, an 8k, 3 miler and 4 miler.

Above: A very long throwback to my high school soccer days. Pictured here are my parents and me on "senior night".

Right : I love my kids like crazy, but sometimes they also make me crazy. Running gives me a physical and mental break from motherhood and helps me remember I have an identity outside of being a stay at home mom. 

Below : My friend Kelly and I after I had the privileged of hand delivering a $2,300 check that was raised to go towards her medical expenses. 

In different stages of my life, running has taken on it’s different roles. It has been my form of weight loss when those newlywed pounds crept up on me and after I had each of my children. It has been a form of structure during major life transitions. From the moment I became a mother, running has taken on the role of “therapist” as I try to maintain some form of sanity amidst the whirlwind of being a stay at home mom to three small children. More recently, however,  running has taken on a role much larger than I ever would have imagined.

 

A little over a year ago I got a crazy idea, almost out of nowhere. I decided that I was going to run every half marathon in Ohio (there are over 90) while also raising money for local charities. Quite frankly, I was tired of running only for myself and my own personal gain. I wanted to use my passion of running to do something bigger than myself and thus Running Across Ohio was born.

On September 29, 2016, I started the blog "Running Across Ohio" to document my journey of running every Ohio half marathon, and also to shed light on local Northeast Ohio charities. Since then I have run 11 half marathons and raised over $3,700 for charitable organizations ranging

from pregnancy help to cancer treatments and research, and now for athletes with special needs. Running Across Ohio (or RAO) has done so much more than raise awareness and money for charities. It has made me love and appreciate running in a whole new way.

 

As a stay at home mom, I have to wake up EARLY if I want to get my run in. My alarm, most days, is going off at 4:30, and yes that’s in the AM. Sometimes even earlier. I would be lying if I said there weren’t  mornings of wanting to whack the snooze button and snuggle right back into bed, but something is different now. I’m not waking up just for myself, I’m waking up for the people that I am running for. Every training run, painful foam rolling session, yoga dvd and strength class has a purpose because if I’m not running, I’m not bringing awareness.

 

One of the fundraising campaigns through RAO was for my friend, Kelly, who had Ovarian Cancer. She had been through so much physically; between the radiation therapies and surgeries, the recovery was grueling. There were many days she was not even able to go watch her kids sporting events because she felt so ill. So, when that alarm clock would go off and I would start complaining in my head, I would instantly think of Kelly and how she would have probably given anything just to be able to do normal day to day tasks without pain or illness, let alone go for a run.  It made me realize how much I had taken my healthy body for granted.

Of course I’m still human and I still complain to myself now and then  when I don’t feel like going for a run, but those moments are fewer and further between. Now, when those negative thoughts run through my mind, I think of Kelly and the others that I have had the privilege to run for. What I used to take for granted, I now thank God for. I have the amazing gift of a healthy body, and one that has the ability and opportunity to run. Without RAO, I’m not sure I’d fully appreciate this gift.

 

I have never been so committed to running as I am today. What used to be a random run here and there with some races dabbled into my life, has become weeks of logging 30-50 miles and signing up for races (particularly half marathons of course) as often as possible! Every run now has a purpose and it drives me out the door!

 

I am quickly learning that life can change in an instant and I want to use this passion I have been given to do life changing things! So when I see tragedy in the world, whether it is lives lost through thoughtless violence, a mother or child with cancer, or even from earth shattering natural disasters and I start to wonder how can I take action? How can I help? Running is my action, it's my outreach to others. Don't let tragedy or the chaos of life take from you the things you love and enjoy. Instead, let it drive you to use those things for good. We all have different passions, interests and hobbies and they're not petty or worthless even in the midst of sadness and sorrow. I truly believe we were given these passions and desires for a reason, it's how you use them

that matters. What are you passionate about? What do you love? Find a way to use it for good and to make a

difference in the world! Even the smallest act of kindness and love can have a huge impact on someone's life,

and if nothing else, it truly will bring YOU great joy to think outside yourself and serve others with your gifts and

passions!


 

So I run because I love it, because I want to bring light in the midst of a dark world

and because I want to love others.

Right : This photo is from the hardest race course I've ever run, but you wouldn't know it from this picture! This was half marathon number 11 at the Matchstick Half Marathon in Wadsworth, Ohio. One thing I've loved about my goal to run every half marathon in Ohio is that is has allowed me to see and explore parts of the state I would have otherwise never discovered!

Hi! I'm Emily Korosec. I'm a wife and a stay at home homeschooling mom to 3 little people. I'm also a coffee addict, wine lover, wannabe crafter and a sports enthusiast. I founded Running Across Ohio to combine my love for people with my love for running. I have lived in Northeast Ohio my entire life and have a passion to give back to the local community while running over 90 half marathons all across Ohio. You can follow my journey on my personal blog: www.RunningAcrossOhio.com, on Instagram @RunningAcrossOhio , Twitter @RunningAcrossOH, and Facebook @Running Across Ohio .

www.RunningAcrossOhio.com

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