Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why I Run for the Red Cross

Photo by Syncere Zakee
Chris Busbee, unofficial coach of Team Red Cross, talks about his ING NYC Marathon experience this past November.

How many marathons have you participated in?
Thirty-seven; this was my 14th NYC Marathon.

Why do you run marathons?
Marathons are one of the few things that you get more out of it then you put in. They are the ultimate test of courage, character, dedication, perseverance, willpower. A marathon truly tells you “who you are.” My life has changed for the better because of the people that I’ve met by running for others and for charities. Running marathons makes you feel young. I’m running towards something and contributing to something at the same time.

Why run with Team Red Cross?
The Red Cross mission and brand is so unique. Red Cross is like a great work of art; we don’t notice it’s there are all the time, but we would notice if it were absent. What’s more, how can you not want to provide basic services to those who need it most? The organization’s mission represents a kindness and service to your fellow man that truly encapsulates the meaning in life. I’m proud to tell people to donate to the Red Cross.

What is your relationship with Patrick Durkin, a NY Red Cross Board member, and with Clay Sell, who came from Texas, as you did, to run in this race?
These are my friends who I am drawn to. I get so much out of my relationship with Durkin. We have a great bond. We met in Paris on a ridiculous biking tour of the Alps. I work with Clay and love challenging him, so I twisted his arm into coming to NYC and running this marathon with me.

Describe your experience crossing the finish line.
It was a weird mix of pleasure, joy and relief. I tell everyone that the last two miles of the marathon are the best two miles I run all year. It’s hard to sift through all of the pain and everything that’s going through your body, but it’s really joy and relief. It was emotional when I crossed with Shay Grinfield because it was his first marathon.

What was it like being a leader for Team Red Cross?
I felt like I was truly helping people by sharing my personal experience. I read this great quote that I’d like to share with you:

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or gazelle—when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

I like this quote because it reminds me that it doesn’t matter if I’m in first place or in last place—all that matters is that I run. We’re running for the people of New York—the people whose lives have been altered because of a disaster. We run because when we do the American Red Cross is able to give them food and blankets, and provide a safe, temporary place for them to sleep free of charge. It’s not just the Red Cross’ one hundred year-old mission, it’s our team’s as well.

What advice do you have for first time marathon runners?
Running the NYC Marathon will change your life, and not in a small way. It’s impossible to describe what strengths and confidence you will get from successfully running this. It’s unfathomable for a first-time marathon runner to understand until they are in it. It’s a privilege to be surrounded by so many passionate people on that starting line—to know that there is more to life than the normal routine.

Chris Busbee, Boerne, Texas

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