You probably shouldn't run unless Michele Bachmann is chasing you...
By Douglas Byrne (Occasional Activist)
"The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again." - Erma Bombeck
I am a firm believer that one shouldn't run unless something or someone is chasing him.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself registering to participate in a 5k this past weekend. A momentary lapse in sanity, I guess... but it was in support of a cause I truly believe in, and all enthusiasm and proceeds went to benefit Minnesotans United for All Families. The goal, simply, is to get registered voters to vote no in November when it comes to the proposed Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, which would define marriage in our state's constitution as being between one man and one woman.
So... I decided to run. In The Big Gay Race.
The night before the Race, however, I began to have second thoughts. I mean, what was I thinking?!?! I hadn't run (aside from trying to chase down a wayward bus) since I was in high school. Much like Sweet Brown, I only run for my life. Did I really have it in me to run? I hoped so, and turned to my friend Liz for support:
Me: I'm an idiot. I agreed to do a 5k tomorrow in support of your right to marry a girl.
Liz: Big gay run? I hope there's a bear chasing you... and not the gay kind.
Me: Nice. I'm more of a Cubs fan anyway... and I'm not talking sports.
Anyway, the next morning I woke up at the crack of dawn, threw on my rainbow-colored towel pants and size-seven sneakers and made my way to race. I got there just in time to hear Senator Amy Klobuchar give a speech. She's such a passionate speaker, and it's always nice to have a politician in your corner.
Just as we were ready to start, a gentleman by the name of Michael McConnell, had been invited to the front to sound the starting horn. Even though he didn't speak, it was great just to have him be a part of the event. They say that we don't know where we're going until we know where we've been... and in 1970, Mr. McConnell had applied for (and been denied) a marriage license. That single event is what started us on our current journey.
The horn sounded... and so did "Eye of the Tiger"... and we were off.
(We are nothing without our clichés)
I finished my fast-paced walking 5k in just under forty minutes. When I got to finish line, I asked a stranger how I did. His reply, "Well... you didn't finish first."
My goal wasn't to finish first. Out of six thousand people running, I knew that wasn't going to happen. My goal was to finish. And that I did.
My goal was also to raise a little money and support to help defeat the Marriage Amendement. We'll see how successful that was come November 6, 2012...