If you have run any kind of road race in the past 20 years, you have probably come across a group from Team in Training (TNT). Their purple singlets stand out along the race course, as do the pom poms, signs, and cowbells that their supporters always seem to wave. I know that public opinion of the group is mixed. For everyone who loves the organization and what they stand for, there are others who believe that the group is a nuisance in a variety of ways. I respect that difference of opinion, but I must say that for me, after 12 years of involvement with the group, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
For those of you who don’t know, Team in Training is a division of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), and one of the first ever fundraising endurance training programs. Team in Training participants agree to raise money for LLS, in exchange for coaching to help them complete a road race, cycling event, or triathlon. When I first signed up for TNT in 2003, I was a running newbie who relied heavily on my coach’s advice to make it through the race. I have stayed involved over the years because I truly believe in the amazing work the LLS does.
I could probably write a whole blog about my varied TNT experiences, and over time, I would love to share more stories with you. Today, however, I want to share my reason for mentioning Team in Training at this point in time. After several years away from fundraising, I am rejoining the Team as a participant in this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Our school just lost one of our 7th grade students to complications from leukemia two weeks ago. Whenever I hear of a child who is plagued by cancer, I find myself feeling angry and helpless. Signing up with Team in Training is a way for me to counteract those feelings and move into action. Over the years, I have been fortunate to raise more than $20,000 for the society, something that would have been nearly impossible for me to achieve without my involvement with TNT. As I have sat this weekend, printing out fundraising letters, and writing out envelopes, I felt hopeful. Hopeful that one day, the work that we do and the money we raise will prevent another family from having to face the heartbreak of a cancer diagnosis.
I will continue to share my Team in Training experience this season on this blog. If you would like to support my fundraising, please travel to my TNT webpage here.