When I heard that Black Lives Matters was planning a “disruptive” protest at this weekend’s Twin Cities Marathon, I decided to write this article to members of the group, hoping to offer an understanding of the impact their actions will have on runners and to extend an invitation to them:

I understand and support the cause of Black Lives Matter. I understand the right to organize and protest. That’s why I’m inviting you to come down and join the cheering. Make your statement heard in a new, positive way. I’m writing this as a runner, a nurse and a mother, hoping that I can speak some change into the mind of the organizers of the protest.

As a runner, I speak to you for the dedication. I can tell you personally that the amount of time, energy and pain we have put into the training leading up to this race has been nothing short of agony. This is a sport where we support one another through muscle cramps and blisters. We realize that the pain the winner endures is no greater or less than the pain the last person to cross the finish line experiences. Running requires no physical contact; we have no enemies except the clock. We’re pretty nice people who are just crazy enough to endure the blisters and the elements for 26 miles. We’ve gone through months of training for one night of caloric overindulgence. Come support our dedication so that we can support yours.

As a nurse, I speak to you for the cause. I choose to run for team SuperStar this year to raise awareness and money for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Children’s takes care of some of the sickest, yet strongest, kids and their families in this state. All the kids who come through its doors matter, no matter their race, religion or sickness. As a nurse who works there, finishing this race matters to me and to all kids I’m trying to raise awareness about. All of the runners on Sunday are running for a cause, whether it is to raise awareness for the YMCA, Susan G. Komen, Defending the Blue Line, Children’s Hospital, or many other worthy efforts and organizations. Others are running for their own personal cause of strength and endurance. Come support our causes so that we can support yours.

As a mother of four small kids, for me, this marathon means more than just a run. It’s an educational experience for my children. It’s a pretty scary world we’re raising our kids in these days, and it needs to change. On Sunday, my husband is going to bring all the kids up to the marathon to cheer on the runners — all the runners. They are going to cheer on the “boys and girls,” the young and old, the fast and the slow. They will see that pride takes pain. They are going to learn that everybody in that run matters and that we all need support. Come and add to this positive educational experience for all, especially the young people, and teach them that we can change minds without negativity.

I realize that the protest is in reaction to current relations with police. I realize that you want to make your statement and have your voices heard. We saw you at the State Fair. We saw you at the Vikings game. I think it’s time to see a new version. Bring your group, bring your T-shirts and your megaphones, and cheer us on. In turn, we, the runners, will cheer and support you as well. Trust me when I say we all want to make a statement on Sunday. Let’s make it a positive one.

 

Anna Molinaro lives in Mendota Heights and will be running in the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday.