viraj patel

How My Running Journey Reflects My Philosophy on Change

By Viraj Patel, Community Director at Georgetown University

“Write a piece about how and why you are creating change.” Eleven words, and I scratched my head for days about the topic. Sometimes it’s the most simple questions that can be the most difficult to answer. I won’t cut myself down by saying I’m not impacting change (clearly I am to someone, if I’m being asked to write about it), but I’m also not leading protests, drafting legislation, or doing other things that come to mind when we think about change. I am, simply put, just being me…and I suppose that is making change.

So I went running. Running is new for me; for 25 years, I staunchly believed that I was not a runner, nor could I be. I didn’t really know anyone else who looked like me that ran, I didn’t like feeling out of breath, and, frankly, it was really hard. Then something magical happened – I woke up one morning and just decided I wanted to start running. I’ve had friends who are runners, always training for something with a whole wall full of medals. I didn’t get it and I wasn’t very private about that. But there I was one February morning, at age 25, bouncing out of my bed at 6 am, downloading a running app, and heading to the gym.

It’s been about 7 months since that day. I can still only run about 3 miles with only a couple short pauses, and I’m waiting to run my first 10k in about a month. I can’t say it’s been easy, and there has been more than one run I’ve ended frustrated, tired, ready to call it quits, and considering a Zumba class instead. I’m incredibly proud of where I’ve come, and, during my run I realized that this whole journey, and my new personal connection to running, is the perfect allegory to the question posed at the start of this post.

Here are a few of the ways and reasons I run, and how they connect to making change – maybe they will be of use to you on your journey, as well!

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