I Run Because I Can
I have never been into running, really. I was getting a stitch after a few hundred meters and I found it boring anyway. Then, back in 2013 I decided to give it another try. During my third run I had completed a 10k, which was quite impressive. I must stress here that I was not a couch potato, I was fit, have been exercising, and teaching fitness classes, so my form was already good. I do not recommend doing a 10k run if you’re just starting up. I didn’t have proper running shoes, so I bought them in and signed up for a half-marathon in a beautiful seaside location in the United Kingdom in five weeks’ time. It was quite a short notice but, with a good training plan, I knew, I could do it.
My first half-marathon was not just a physical challenge for me, I was also raising funds for a good cause. My chosen project was Basket Brigade, an initiative started by Tony Robbins over 40 years ago where we prepare and personally deliver food hampers to families in need around Christmas and Thanksgiving. Inside the hamper there is a Christmas card saying: “This hamper is from someone who really cares about you. The only thing he asks is that you look after yourself in a way that you’ll be able to do something similar for someone else in the future”. Signed “A Friend”
When I first heard about Basket Brigade in 2011, I was so touched and, together with my husband, we decided to bring it to Poland. We started small with 10 hampers with a total budget of £20. The next year my sister and brother-in-law got involved and we managed to do 20 hampers.
In 2013, I wanted to play a bigger game, so I set a target of raising £800 and my first half-marathon ever was a way to do it. I’ve managed to raise over £1100 and I was hooked for good – both into running and into expanding Basket Brigade in Poland.
Since then I completed many races, including 2 marathons - 2 of the World Marathon Majors – London in 2016 and Berlin in 2017. The first marathon medal was on my neck when my baby boy turned 7 months. Training for it alongside breastfeeding and sleepless nights was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. Totally worth it. Year after year Basket Brigade Poland got stronger.
I run because I can. I’m fortunate enough to have 2 legs and 2 arms. I am healthy. I have food on the table, and a loving and supportive family, but there are many people out there who don’t. I feel that it is my obligation to help the ones in need.
I believe that the secret to living is giving and we’ve already experienced magic many many times. What you give, comes back to you tenfold.
I didn’t realize that what I do would have such a ripple effect. My family members went for it too. My sister, husband, brother-in-law, even my mum in-law started running, completing first a 10k, half-marathons, then marathons, triathlons, tough mudders, and rat races. We do many races together, we keep motivating each other and holding each other accountable. Every year we go for a bigger challenge, training hard, pushing ourselves to the limits on race days but that’s where magic happens, right?
We decided that mission of Basket Brigade Poland would be combining healthy lifestyle with the idea of helping others, so each race and fitness challenge is for a good cause.
My sister got more and more of her friends involved too. They run, they train, take part in indoor cycling marathons, and crossfit challenges in their local fitness clubs. All of this is to help raise money for our Christmas hampers.
Each year, we also manage to inspire more family members, friends and friends of friends who want to be a part of Basket Brigade, helping us change people’s lives for the better. Watching the transformation of those around us when they understand that the “SECRET TO LIVING IS GIVING”, is unbelievable. Friends I haven’t seen for years, colleagues from primary or secondary school are coming with their kids to pack the hampers. Kids love it, they put their own toys inside the hampers hoping that “this little girl will love this teddy as much as I did”. It melts my heart. Oftentimes the person who is touched the most is the one who delivered the hamper.
I read a little poem many years back. It was called "Day's End" (by John Hall) and started with the lines, "Is anybody happier because you passed his way? Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?”
Last year, despite tons of challenges, together with my sister, we managed to deliver over 220 hampers and the feedback we got from people involved was so touching. People were crying delivering the hampers, families who received them were crying with disbelief that someone cares. In a moment like this all the hurdles we’ve gone through to make it happen disappear. Seeing that sparkle in someone’s eyes, feeling that gratitude, love and connection with another human being is priceless. That’s why this idea is so close to my heart.
I run because I can…
I run because I can inspire others to run.
I run because I can make a difference to a stranger who has no idea we’re coming.
I run because I can inspire others to make a difference too.
I run because I can see the transformation with people around me.
I run because I can…
About the Author:
Aleksandra Grzybek – mum, fitness coach, runner, marathoner. She completed her 1st ever marathon and tough mudder obstacle race when her baby boy turned 7 months. Founder of Active Happy Mama where she inspires mums that they can be fit, healthy and happy. When mum looks after herself, she will not only look better, she will feel better, she will be the best role model for her child and the strong foundation for the entire family.
"Active lifestyle doesn't end when you have a baby. Staying ACTIVE and looking after myself helps me being a better mother, a better wife, and a better person. Happy Mama = Happy Child."