Spectating Report: W.A.R.T.S. (We All Run Together For Sandy) 5k!

It all started, as  these things often do, with a group of friends and a fridge full of beer. We were converged at Lisa and Carrie’s for a girls night dinner and were up to our eyeballs in all things XX (as in the chromosome, not some watered down version of XXX, lol). The conversation rolled around to Lil Sis’ 12 Running Goals of 2012 (click here and here for previous adventures), where she told us that November was “run with someone new” – they could be new or old to running and new or old to her, but they had to be someone she had never shared miles with. She was told us how she planned to do this on the morning of November 24th with a few friends from work.  Moe (of my very-favorite-and-should-be-yours -too The Sneaker Shop) had recently received an email from a  woman named Cindy Bradley, who was wondering if someone could organize a charity run for Hurricane Sandy victims. Moe did the “people who want to help Sandy survivors” and “people who have running goals to complete” math and VIOLA! WARTS was born! (hmm, are warts born? or is it more like they are contracted? poor WARTS already suffers abuse from its fellow acronyms – ohh, SCUBA and LASER, you think you are so chichi! – and “WARTS was contracted!” is only likely to garner further teasing, so let’s stick with “WARTS was born!”, mmmkay?)

We had a good laugh, one of many that night, when Patty came up with the WARTS acronym, but when you stop to think about it, it’s kinda perfect. It concisely states our intention: “We All Run Together for Sandy!”. And although warts are not really anyone’s favorite thing in life to deal with, so too are they a fact of it. They share this distinction with hurricanes – no one wants to live with or through hurricanes, but they are simply a part of living in a coastal system. Like warts, some will be worse than others and Sandy certainly was a doozy. We hope to never see the likes of her kind again in our lifetime, but if we do (and as a scientist I am sorry to say that  at the very least it is likely we will deal with more flooding than we have in the past simply because of sea level rise – not gonna get all climate-y on you because no one really knows what the impacts of climate change will be, but now is probably a good time to pull our heads out of the sand and make some plans on how to adapt to our ever changing environment) we know that the runners among us will come together on a bright, beautiful morning and do what we do best:

I think the saying goes “never doubt that a small group of runners decked out in brightly colored technical clothes can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” Or something like that 🙂

Lisa gives the pre-“race” directions – run down to the music pier and back and try not to get blown away by the wind!

Some of the kids tore out of the fitness center, intent on making good time to the boardwalk. And who can blame them when this view awaited…

A breathtaking day on the boardwalk – and breathtaking not only for its beauty, but also for that cold wind! Apparently Sandy-like winds also thought they were invited. “The more the merrier”, the runners said, gritting their teeth, grateful at least for the ample sunshine and uncrowded conditions.

Here comes our fearless leader, Moe!

And check out this cluster of WARTS! Nothing can wipe the smiles from their faces, warts and hurricanes be damned!

Here comes Running Momma and two new buds! Love how easy it is to make friends when you are pounding the pavement… er, boards.

Bel and Laura looking strong! This was Laura’s first 5k, CONGRATS LAURA!! She liked it so much she is going to do another with Bel next weekend *heart flutters in happiness*

Observant eyes will recognize OC fixtures Sue and Terry from the boardwalk where they log many, many, many miles. With their speed and dedication, they are both inspirations to me.

The brain trust behind WARTS! L to R: Carrie, Janet, Moe, Patty and Lil Sis. I have known these women for going on a decade (well, a hair longer for Lil Sis!) and they have been instrumental in my growth as a runner and a person. These are some of the faces I miss the most when I set out on solo runs in Cape May. Love you ladies!

Two sets of Sissies!! But the reason is really important because of the sissy in the pink zip up – that is Heather, Carrie’s sister. She spearheads a chapter of Girls On The Run in Pennsylvania and her “girls” donated a SUVload of food to the effort!

Heather’s daughter and nephew, Emma and T.J., hold up a poster the New Garden Girls on the Run sent along with their food. If the idea of 8-13 year old girls gaining self-confidence through running and then being big-hearted enough to donate food to people they have never met from another state does not sell you on the benefits of running, I am not sure anything will. THANK YOU HEATHER AND NEW GARDEN GOTR!!!

And here are what some of those Girls On The Run might look like in 10-50 years. Talk about advertising for how healthy, happy and generous running will help make you (cute socks optional)!

One windy but beautiful run and piles and piles of food/cleaning supplies and $800 (!!) later, our WARTS 5k came to a close. Ocean City again showed it’s unwavering ability to seek out the good in the face of disaster and my heart hummed with pride for my old home and the friends who make it such a special place to live. Congrats to everyone who spent a little bit of time and a little bit of money to show Sandy what Jersey Strong looks like! And extra thanks to Moe, Patty, Janet, Bridget, Lisa and Carrie who showed us all just how fun WARTS can be!

PS I did not run since I am still nursing my groin injury –  I expect to be running this week, yay – but I did enjoy my time as staff photographer, which distracted me (almost) from how sad it was not to run!

PPS Thanks to Lil Sis for making her 2012 Running Goals, they have all been a blast! What will you do for 2013??

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