There are many compelling reasons to run – fitness, fun, friendship. There are equally compelling reasons to sign up for a race – to compete, to challenge yourself, to keep motivated. Almost every runner’s reason to be in San Francisco this summer is some amalgamation of the above factors. For my first marathon, I wanted to prove to myself I could make it to the finish line. In the second race, I wanted to prove that I could make it to the finish line without cracking. When the time came to run a third, I found the need to run for something other than myself.

Berkeley

How Berkeley can you be?

My wife and I have owned greyhounds and been involved with greyhound adoption since we got our first in 2003 while living in Berkeley. Upon moving back to the east, we adopted our second, a beautiful blue fawn boy from Connecticut Greyhound Adoption, who we named Berkeley for obvious reasons. Unbeknownst to us, Berkeley would live up to his name. He was a free spirit who loved and loved to be loved. At much too early an age, Berkeley contracted osteosarcoma, which is unfortunately prevalent in greyhounds. He underwent an amputation of his affected leg and received chemotherapy to slow the spread of cancer. His chemotherapy drugs were provide free of charge by the Greyhound Health and Wellness Program at Ohio State. Dr. Guillermo Couto who ran the GHWP has since moved to State College, PA to continue his work as a private consultant and veterinarian. Since greyhounds are one of the few animals other than humans (primarily children) that are susceptible to bone cancer, Dr. Couto’s work may someday identify both the cause of and treatments for osteosarcoma in both man and his best friends.

Shirts

Running for Racers team shirt.

After Berkeley lost his battle with cancer, my wife and I wanted give back to the program that helped prolong and improve the quality of his life. We used Crowdrise to create a fundraising website for our next race. We even had special “Running for Racers” team shirts made for race day. Like many races, the San Francisco Marathon has official charities and select charities that need runner-fundraisers. All are worthy causes, but if something more personal inspires you, Crowdrise is also an excellent option in San Francisco. It’s easy to build a personal fundraising site and add members to your team. Crowdrise charges a small percentage, so my wife and I made an additional contribution so that GHWP received the entire amount given by our donors.

In the Newport Marathon, I wore my “Running for Racers” shirt and carried one of Berkeley’s tags in my pocket. Running the race was therapeutic and when I crossed the finish line, it was definitely more meaningful than the time on the clock.