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  • Amber Howland

“Why are you doing this?”

“Why are you doing this?”

I was asked this question a few times this week. During every run, this question crossed my mind. I would task myself during the run to come up with an eloquent answer that would leave everyone happy and content. Yes, I am doing this for the Food Bank of CNY. Yes, I am doing this to showcase small businesses in CNY. If I am being honest, though, my reason for doing this started with the dreaded word, “quarantine”.

I quarantine alone. I don’t tell you this for pity but rather to further explain my need for purpose. For 8 weeks, I longed for purpose. I am fortunate enough that my job allows me to work from home so it is really business as usual for me, with the exception of being told that I can’t leave my house or see my favorite people. For 8 weeks, I let this get the best of me. I struggled. I tried to maintain normalcy. I went through all the stages of quarantine - the baking stage, the YouTube workout stage, the deep cleaning stage, the painting rooms stage, the do absolutely nothing and mope stage. For 8 weeks I was in a mindset that this awful thing was happening to me. This is where the OneNY 1000K Virtual Challenge stepped in.

What if life was happening for me? What if this race popped up on my feed between the cat videos and makeup tutorials to get me off my couch and tell me to pull it together and get moving. I saw a few friends had signed up, but I was not ready to pull the trigger. This was a lot - a lot of miles, a lot of time, and a lot of commitment. I finally did sign up after a friend sent me a promo code to use in her final push to get me to sign up. It was done.

Now, I’m sitting at my sister’s dining room table telling her the mileage of this feat and I say, “I have an idea. What if I partner with small businesses and showcase them daily, since I will be out on the road every day?” We quickly got to brainstorming and made a list of our favorite eateries, bars and establishments around town. That evening, I called a close friend that I knew would NOT talk me out of this and I said, “I have an idea and I need to talk through this.” This is where the virtual fundraiser for the food bank was born. Ideas were flowing, big and small. I needed an organized plan. My first call the next morning was the Food Bank of CNY. I had a big idea and 2 days to execute. You read that correctly. The race began in 2 days.

Thank you to Lynn Hy, the Chief Development Officer, at the Food Bank of CNY for fast tracking a dedicated donation landing page and providing me with my first piece of swag, a food bank t-shirt. Constant calls, texts, figuring out a website, more calls and texts took a dining room table idea to an executed movement that I can only hope will leave a mark on our towns.

Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please. As promised, here are the stats from week 1:

Total miles run: 50.69 miles

Small businesses showcased this week: Original Grain, Orangetheory Fitness – Clay, Cantina Laredo, Salt City Coffee and Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub, Anything But Beer

Total amount raised for the Food Bank of CNY to date: $803.95

Thank you to every single one of you who listened to my “crazy idea” and got on board. Thank you to every single small business owner I pitched this idea to that immediately jumped on board. Thank you to every one of you who liked or shared my posts. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has donated thus far. You are doing this. I am running the miles but you are pushing the needle. And for that, I am forever grateful. Let’s go!

Sincerely,

Amber

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