It was a beautiful late winter afternoon at Hunting Island — sunny but cool (read: no noseeums!) — perfect for a long walk on the miles of wooded trails.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one with this great idea. As a small family group approached from the opposite direction, I noticed one of the men looking at me with a fixed gaze, his lips moving slightly as if reading.
His face suddenly lit up with a smile as he exclaimed, “Right on!”
I looked down to see what could have caused this reaction and realized I was wearing the T-shirt from the Race4Love 5K held at Cat Island just a few days earlier. Emblazoned across my chest in big white letters on a teal background were the words, “Kiss Abuse Goodbye.” With a giant purple lip print for emphasis.
I smiled back, appreciating his appreciation. I mean, here was a man — and from his accent he was, as we say, not from around here — voicing his support to a total stranger about putting the hammer down on domestic abuse. (And let’s face it, the vast majority of domestic abuse is committed by men.)
It was only later that it struck me how far my small investment of money and time had gone to promoting this important message. The $30 entry fee for the race and the hour or so I spent running and then hanging around enjoying free goodies were only the literal first steps. Wearing the T-shirt after had helped spread the word even further.
True confession time: I’ve run this race several times, originally signing up because I can stumble out my front door and walk to the starting line in five minutes. When it’s that convenient, there’s really no excuse not to participate. Then I met some people involved in Hopeful Horizons and learned more about the important — often life-saving — services it provides. Now, I’m a committed regular. My husband has even gotten on board as a volunteer.
Which leads to … you don’t have to be a veteran runner to have a great time at Race4Love. Run, walk, skip or volunteer. However you participate, you’ll be supporting a vital mission.
And to that I say, “Right on!”
The 2020 Hopeful Horizons Race4Love is Saturday, Feb. 15 at Cat Island. To sign up, visit https://www.race4love.com/.