by Olympian Jeff Galloway
Director of Training, 26.2 with DONNA
Traveling to another city requires making a commitment. By setting the date aside, making travel plans, coordinating family and friend activities, you become more mentally focused on training, making the event more meaningful. Several surveys have shown that simply writing the race date on a calendar will reduce the number of missed training sessions leading to the event. When one enters the event and pays the entry fee, adherence to the training moves up another notch.
Travel enriches learning and life for runners, family members and friends. So you want to choose a place that has a lot of things to see and do. My February choice is Jacksonville and the 26.2/13.1 with DONNA. Here’s why.
Because of the beaches, the beauty of the river and marsh areas, the arts, museums, etc. Jacksonville offers a lot of interesting things to do. In February you can run on the beach and enjoy the restaurants and shops along the beach and along the St Johns River which flows through Jacksonville. You’ll see race banners everywhere because this event makes a bigger impact on the community than most big city marathons.
The Cause: Training for 26.2/13.1 with DONNA, and then running one of the events, has given meaning to the challenge of loved ones who have struggled with Breast Cancer or other cancers. Suddenly the tough days don’t seem so tough. Each week, I hear from a number of Galloway Training group members who said that the only thing that kept them going during a hot/cold/snowy/rainy run (or got them out the door during a stressful day or week) was the commitment to support the cause in Jacksonville in February.
Some cities support causes more than others. Promotions throughout the city, news stories, special promotions show the Jacksonville pride in this special event. The community recognizes that 26.2/13.1 with DONNA changes the quality of many lives every year in a positive way.
The Crowds! I have never been thanked for attending an event as I have during the 26.2 with Donna. The special energy of the spectators along the course result in many chill bump moments. Citizens of Jacksonville line the course, cheer you on, and tell you how much they appreciate your travel to their city.
Running with others who support the cause is a special experience. Many participants begin their motivation journey by entering one of the events. But being around thousands of others throughout the weekend bestows a special level of belonging and purpose, with a lasting glow afterwards. When you see the women running/walking wearing their “chemo wigs” it’s hard to complain about some passing ache or pain.
Travel is a reward. Family members have to adjust to your training schedule leading to an event and it’s great to reward them with a trip. There are so many interesting things to do in the Jacksonville area that almost everyone can find something really fun to do.
Out-of-town events motivate friends/family members to start running. When you’re running a race in your home town, many family members will stay at home and wait for your return. When traveling with you to another city, they are more likely to go to the finish or cheer you at various points on the course. Thousands have told me that they were inspired to run when they saw runners in their 80s, obese runners, physically handicapped and blind runners—all crossing the finish line with a smiles on their faces.
Then there’s the medal! Runners love the marathon or half marathon medals at 26.2/13.1 with DONNA. This commemorates the training journey, the trip, the challenges along the course—and bestows bragging rights.
So sign up, buy your ticket, reserve your hotel. You’re in for an amazing experience!