Running at its essence is an individual pursuit. A runner can ultimately be responsible only for moving himself or herself forward, for living in each moment of exertion, and for ascribing meaning in his or her own way to the entire act.
All of that is girded by a strong sense of running community. A trusted partner, clubs, teams, a cyber-network of folks you like but will likely never meet - these imbue the solitary with the social. Running then becomes a tool to take on a more global sense of purpose, something outside the personal. One need only look at the money and awareness raised by different runners for a multitude of causes and charities to understand this need to make connections where once there were none.
Last week I read on Jamie Donaldson's blog that she had chosen the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association as her charity of choice in the run-up to Badwater in July. I have been reading Jamie's blog since her huge Badwater win last year, and had a chance to sit and chat with her husband David in October, as Jamie braved the heat and horrendous air quality that day to finish fifth in the 24 Hour World Championships. Reading about Tay-Sachs, and specifically about Elliott Schotz, the adorable little gaffer with an ultrarunning dad, moved me considerably.
Nothing beyond the idea stage yet, but look for the SBRC [Far East Chapter] to host some events in the near future to raise a pile of money for Elliott and NTSAD.