One of my favorite races is coming up: the OTMH (Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital) 5K on Father’s Day. This was the first race I ran when I moved to Oakville, and Skipper sat in the baby jogger; a few years later, this is where he ran his first 1K. Similarly, Little Ironman spent his first race eating Cheerios in the baby jogger while I ran and, now, he also participates in the Fun Run. At the OTMH 5K, I have earned age group medals and, for the past two years, I’ve finished as the top female master.
I can’t forget the real reason that I love this event so much. It supports our local hospital, the same hospital where I took 5 year old Skipper when he was sick, subsequentlly diagnosed with a brain tumour; the same hospital where I delivered Little Ironman; the same hospital where my fourth toenail was pulled out less than a week before I headed to Boston. In my eyes, this is one event worth supporting.
Last June, I set a goal for this year’s race: to come out as #1 Master again. In the fall, I added to that goal – to finish under 21 minutes. Both of these goals went spinning around in my mind while I was running in Boston and, believe it or not, achieving them is more important to me than taking home a Boston finisher’s medal – so important that my drive to meet them was one of the factors that pulled me off Boston’s course.
Over the weekend, I sat at the computer to register and was shocked by the change in the fee structure. This year, not only do individuals have to pay $35 to run, they also have to contribute a mandatory $50 in fundraising. That means that I have to pay $85 to run 5 kilometres. That’s $17 per kilometre. Heck! I can spend that much on gas for my car and drive 850 kilometres. Suddenly, my big hairy goal – a sub-21 5K and Masters title – was chopped.
Obviously, the race director has changed the goal for the event. It seems that its purpose is to make money; encouraging running and active lifestyles no longer seems to be in the picture. Nor does promoting the OTMH 5K as a family event seem to be important as the cost for all four of us has increased from $100 to $210. This will most certainly be a community affair now as I can’t imagine many runners from the GTA, from Toronto and other suburbs outside Oakville, will want to spend $85 to run; sadly, that will likely mean that the numbers of competitive runners will significantly drop.
As I thought it through, though, I remembered why the hospital is important to me. Perhaps I will give it a go. I can hold a raffle at work to raise some money; I might be able to find a team of runners to join so that my costs are reduced. Or, perhaps, I’ll simply pass this year. What would you do?
How much would you pay to reach one of your big hairy goals?