Gifts of Giving

To: Santa Claus, North Pole
From: Running Life
Re: Wish List

Dear Santa –

Hi! It’s your favorite Monterey County running columnists again. You’ve been great at giving us the stuff we’ve asked for in years past.

Honestly, Santa, we know that 2008 has been a brutal year. You’ve probably got people asking for jobs or retirement funds that have vanished, or for help paying mortgages and medical expenses. So we understand if the requests of two crazy runners fall pretty low on the list of priorities.

But you know what, Santa? The two of us are actually doing OK. We’re fortunate to still have those things that are most dear to us, and we’ve enjoyed another healthy year of running. So we thought we’d help you out by sharing in the gift-giving this year.

Under the right circumstances, runners can be a pretty generous group – but we sometimes need a little bit of help. This year, the following gifts would allow runners to help others:

1. Continued success for local races

Almost all of our local road races were created as fundraisers for charities or nonprofit organizations. The more successful the race is, the more the charities benefit.

Unfortunately, in tough economic times, it gets harder to justify paying $30 for a 5K or $80 for a half-marathon, so a lot of races struggle to survive. We hope that more runners can still afford to help these races stay successful in 2009.

2. Second life for old shoes

Santa, we don’t have to tell you how quickly runners go through running shoes. The two of us are ashamed to admit how many pairs we wore out in the past 12 months.

However, just because a shoe is too broken down for training doesn’t mean it’s not good for anything. Most of the shoes we discard can still be used for many months by people less fortunate than us.

Luckily, both of our local running stores – The Treadmill in Carmel, and Fleet Feet in Monterey – accept used running shoes, which they redistribute to charity organizations. We’d like for those old shoes to serve others for as long as possible.

3. A Just Run program in every school

You know all about our Just Run program – right, Santa? It teaches elementary students all about healthy eating and exercise, and is an easy way to promote fitness and combat childhood obesity.

The program has had great results, but we’d like for it to do even better. Could you please help the adult volunteers in each school get the support they need to succeed, and help any interested parents to implement the program in schools that don’t have it yet?

And if for some reason you don’t know about Just Run, go to and learn all about it.

4. Shared blessings

New running programs aren’t just about kids, though – and we’d like to see the gift of running shared with more people next year, Santa.

Like we said before – running has been good to us. And since Christmas is supposed to be about giving, here’s what we’d like most of all: to inspire one person, or maybe two, or even 100 (but we don’t want to seem greedy) to start a running program for their own health and enjoyment. If you could somehow help us to do that next year, Santa, you will make both of us very happy indeed.

Thanks a lot, Santa. Best wishes and safe travels next week!


Mike and Donald
Monterey County, CA


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