Last summer, I took up running. The habit started in August of 2011, which was approximately 11 months after I began to lose weight (to date, I have lost nearly 100 pounds). Despite immensely enjoying my early-morning runs along the glistening Hudson River, this is all still so new to me. Even now, almost a year after starting, I cannot help but feel like a person playing the part of a runner. This was especially true when I ran my first race just last month. (My second race — NYC’s Gay Pride Run — is coming up tomorrow!) Now, for some inexplicable reason that I have yet to make sense of, I am training for a half-marathon. Lucky for me, vegan ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek was on our podcast a couple of weeks ago offering some pointers.
So to say that PCRM’s new program, VegRun, came at the perfect moment for me, would be a gross understatement. VegRun is a training program specifically geared toward those who embrace a plant-based lifestyle and are training for a marathon or half-marathon. Though I find it unethical that PCRM has managed to read my diary and answer all of my secret questions, I am still thrilled by this new comprehensive resource that offers recipes, training plans, and — my favorite part — an online community forum. (It should be noted that I wrote the very first question on the forum, and it was a doozy. If you printed it out, my post would probably have taken up 5 pages. When it comes to my running, I’m apparently a tad needy.)
The celebrity vegan coaches who offer advice on VegRun include Scott Jurek, Brendan Brazier, MacKenzie Green, Lani Muelrath, and Matt Frazier. This kind of top of the line personal attention and advice is totally worth the required $50 donation fee that goes to PCRM (an organization for which we have deep respect, which is why we interviewed their head honcho, Dr. Neal Barnard, last year).
Aside from the incredible wealth of resources, I must commend PCRM for this extremely creative way of raising funds. Beyond the $50, folks who join are encouraged to raise funds for PCRM’s campaigns, and they even offer some sweet incentive prizes along the way.
In addition to making me happy, what else can we, as activists, derive from this terrific program that can be applied to other activist endeavors? I love that it creates awareness of the benefits of veganism; offers resources and information that will come in handy; ties in a fundraising component; and keeps it positive and accessible. VegFund has also tapped into a very specific demographic full of people who are craving information and support (me included). These kinds of successful tactics are — drum roll please — replicable for each of us in our own advocacy pursuits.
Thanks to mainstream successes of sports champions Scott Jurek, Brendan Brazier, and Rich Roll (who will be on our podcast next month) — to name but a few — the number of vegan athletes is growing by leaps and bounds (in some cases, literally).
Wish me luck tomorrow!