In his song “Savin’ Up” Bruce Springsteen sings, “You better start savin’ up for the things that money can’t buy.” The Boss has a point.
I thought about Springsteen’s message last weekend when I was in Los Angeles attending the Rock ’N’ Roll Half-Marathon in Los Angeles benefitting the ASPCA. Approximately 8,000 runners participated, many of whom were there to support causes important to them. They did not just give up a Sunday to run. Instead, most of them had trained for months or longer in order to promote their causes, improve their health, lose weight or simply to prove that they could do it. None of these outcomes could have been bought, which made them more special.
I was there to cheer the hundreds of people who comprised Team ASPCA, a group running to benefit animals. Going into the race, some of our runners were nervous because they had never run such a long distance. In fact, some members of Team ASPCA had never been runners at all before they committed themselves to training for this race. But these same people who had shared their concerns with me before the race crossed the finish line with huge smiles because they had not only achieved a tremendous personal accomplishment, they had also promoted a cause in which they believe.
As part of the ASPCA’s involvement in the half-marathon, we distributed $280,000 in grants to Los Angeles-area animal shelters and rescue groups. Some of the fans who cheered on Team ASPCA from the sidelines (or the nearby Bark Park) were homeless dogs from Bark Avenue Foundation. Rock star Bret Michaels, an animal lover who was performing at the event, met some of the dogs up for adoption and even named one “Little Bret”.
I’ve never run a marathon, so I didn’t know what to expect at the event. I came away inspired by the participants. If you think that you might like to participate in a Team ASPCA event, please go to www.jointeamaspca.org for more information.