Sunday was an overcast and humid day. Looming rain clouds threatened to dump cascades of water on us at any moment. The trail on which we ran was quiet, the water beside us was peaceful. We pointed out turtles to each other and the brilliance of what little sun there was reflecting on the water. We laughed at the angry geese charging down our path and teased each other along the way. We ran by choice, therefore we could relish in nature’s beauty. We ran by choice, therefore we didn’t feel desperate when we grew weary and hungry. Our run, this challenge by choice, would end in celebration. We would have a fun meal with my parents and daughter at a trendy brunch spot. We would be able to soak in a hot bath, ice our aching joints and spread tiger’s balm over our sore muscles. We would fall asleep safely and securely in our homes.
It hurts my heart to imagine how desperate refugee mommas must feel as they endure dangerous and exhausting journeys to safety. Their treks do not end with a family celebration, a delicious meal, and a hot bath. Their children are not waiting for them at the finish line, happy and healthy, cheering them on. I will be forever grateful for the encouragement, prayers, and financial support friends, family and strangers provided for Maria, and for other refugee women and children like her. It was an honor to run for these brave women, for these momma bears, for these heroes.