A few months ago I mentioned the Nun Run to a friend who was looking for local races, and she signed up right away. But I am not the most organized person and I never know what our weekends will involve, so I didn’t register.
I’ve also never participated in any kind of running or walking event, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I imagined people who go to this type of thing wear sleek running outfits as they sprint past carrying aerodynamic water bottles. The image in my mind was a little intimidating.
But I also love the Little Sisters of the Poor and I’m so grateful for the beautiful work they do. Even if we didn’t have cool running outfits, I figured we could certainly walk a mile.
So, when we woke up Saturday morning and our children seemed to have their usual limitless energy, I announced that I was going.
Our older son only wanted to go if he would be able to participate—and I couldn’t promise that. The run started at 8 a.m., and it was 7:45. We hadn’t even started the car, or hit the ATM for our racing fees, and we don’t exactly live around the corner from the Cathedral, where the race was starting. I didn’t know whether we were too late to register, or whether we would even make it in time to start the race.
Still, our younger son is almost always up for an adventure, so we jumped in the car, stopped for cash, and drove to the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen—and the starting line.
As it turned out, we did have time to register and do either the 1-mile walk or the 5K run, but our younger son didn’t want to walk or run without his brother. So instead of participating, we hung out in front of the Cathedral.
Archbishop Lori led us all in prayer, and my son nudged me to take my hat off like the Oriole Bird, who was standing next to the archbishop. After the prayer, we shook the archbishop’s hand, and he complimented my son on his Orioles hat.
When we donated our racing fees to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a man at the table said, “I’m sorry that I don’t have a receipt for you.”
“If I were that organized,” I told him, “we wouldn’t be arriving now and asking you to take our money.” We laughed, and then Daniel and I wandered around.
We chatted with some dogs who were standing around, found a snack, cheered on the runners and walkers, and took a few selfies. We even got a free balloon sword from a clown. And we saw a few people we knew, including one of our parish priests who ran the 5K.
And, of course, we cheered for my friend, who ran the whole 5K and was smiling as she ran across the finish line.
It was a beautiful start to our weekend, especially as we chatted with a few of the sisters who were there and enjoyed a sunny summer morning in Baltimore.
Next year I am determined that we will actually walk or run. I was surprised how easy and fun the whole experience was. Although there were some serious runners there, there were many families walking and running, and it was overall a very low-key event. Just our speed.
If you’re in Baltimore or not far away, maybe you’d like to join me next September? Of course, there’s no need to commit too far ahead of time. We can always decide that morning. Maybe I’ll see you there!