It was crazy that just one talk with Mark Haugen would change everything.
Mark Haugen is the Head of Development at ENLACE, and when he mentioned to my mother and me about running a half marathon in October of 2019 to raise money for poor communities in Central America, everyone thought it would be crazy for us to run. But Mark didn't. Mark believed that the race wasn't just about running. It was about the change and difference we would make for communities in need.
Talking to Mark helped me to see myself and those in poverty using a different lens. I learned about the vision ENLACE has for these communities in Central America. And it made me think about myself differently. I began to ask myself, what can I do at the age of 18 to make a difference?
Revving the Engines: My Motivation
Every year our church builds displays in its lobby to show how poor people in Central America live and ways in which we can contribute to helping these families. We build examples of the homes they live in and how they make their food. In fact, I had volunteered in different ways with ENLACE for about five years while being a part of my church. My family and I have made tortillas for the event and helped to demonstrate the cooking methods people use in Central America that cause a lot of damage to the health of mothers and children due to smoke inhalation. I also helped to pack seeds to help impoverished farmers. Families often survive on the corn and beans they produce for parts of the year when work is impossible to find.
And so when Mark talked to us about running, I felt a very strong motivation. I could visualize these families and their incredible need. And so even if everyone thought I couldn't do it--I've never been a runner!--I felt that wasn’t the point. The cause was motivation enough.
I found myself thinking, Central America is so close to home. Knowing there are so many kids and families without a home made me ask myself, What am I doing to be the change in other communities?
Preparing for Race Day Brings Big Surprises
We started preparing for the run in late June of 2019. Going to the first meeting before training began was a hit! Seeing the diversity of a group coming together for one vision was amazing. The love and passion each of us brought to the group was indescribable.
The change in me was also incredible. I never thought I would love to run on a Saturday morning every week. But Thanks to ENLACE I have made forever friendships that I would never have met if it wasn't for ENLACE. I have made friendships that I could now go to for advice and encouragement. These new friends are people who I can surround myself with to keep alive the vision of helping our friends in Central America.
There are many races going on in 2020, from 5Ks to half marathons.
Join Marisol and the Run for Central America Team!