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Staying Strong- How Active Communities Can Help Heal the World

For many people, a Marathon is a tough goal to achieve. Months and months of hard work and training go into preparing the body to run 26.2 miles. For some, it is "just another marathon" but for others, it's their very first one. No matter what the case, the 2013 Boston Marathon will be one that the American and Running community will never forget.

Yesterday, Monday, April 15th, 2013 was another dark day in American and Sports history. Two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon around the 4 hour mark. 3 bystanders were killed and hundreds more were injured, lost limbs, or were in critical condition following the incident.

The people running in the marathon were a community. A family of sorts, all competing together with one common goal. Bonds are made both on the course and off. Strangers running next to each other become pacing partners and talk along the way, families cheering on the side share inspiring stories with others about their runner. Its what brings our nation, and the world, together. Americans were not the only ones running in the second longest continuously running footrace in North America, 74 other countries were represented as well. It really is an event that brings the world together, much like the Olympics.

Community and kindness are two huge positives that came out of yesterday's events. This is what needs to continue in order to help the world heal in times of tragedy, and thrive in everyday life. Do you belong to one? Sure, we all "live" in one, but I challenge you to really take the time to think about your community. It can mean so much more. Start small. Do you know your neighbors? What about people on the next block? Can you name fellow parents of kids that attend your child's school? Now take another step. Active communities. How many do you belong to? Do you go to a gym? Do you attend a social run, ride or hike? What about training, do you have a group that you train with? Do you sign up for athletic events such as running races, bike races or other local athletic events?

If you only answered yes to a few of these questions, I challenge you to become a bigger part of your "communities". Many times, our active "families" come together in times of need and sorrow. I've seen it happen over and over. Complete strangers offering help to someone in the group that lost a loved one or is struggling themselves. Races ran to help raise money to pay for medical bills. Group rides in honor of a friend lost. For me, being in an active, social community is the equivalent of going to church on Sunday. My friends are there, they are supportive, we care for each other and around and around the cycle goes. Now think of your children. Encouraging them to partake in these environments fosters a sense of belonging and respect for others. Children meet new friends and learn to interact with not only peers of their age, but also adults. Allowing them to see you and other adults being active, having fun and enjoying the company of others, will create a positive and permanent memory in their brain. This type of camaraderie allows adults to share experiences and knowledge, providing a monumental source of valuable information and professional opinions. The support system that can stem from this sort of environment is strong and will challenge any person, thing or event that tries to break it. Sometimes, just simply belonging to a group can help with tough issues going on in a person's life.

UpaDowna helps create a supportive and fun community environment.

Here are some resources for active communities in your area.

Colorado Springs:

-UpaDowna Joy Ride. and other events. Talk about a supportive, fun family!

-Weekly Social Runs, click on "Running Clubs"

-Weekly Bike Rides: CSCC, WMBA of COS

-List of more groups from Pikes Peak Sports

Other areas:

Check Meetup.com and MapMyFitness for the majority of active communities.

Adventure On, and take care of each other!


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