Guest Post: My Rocky Relationship With “Running” and Running for a Cause

On Again, Off Again

Ah, running. How you and I seem to find each other every few months. And it’s always the same ol’ story. I’m taken by your charm, your charisma, your appeal. Pretty soon (maybe too soon?), I believe it’s love. For awhile, we’re getting together nearly every evening: We meet up at the gym or along the picturesque waterfront. We become inseparable for a month. “I’m committed to you,” I proudly proclaim one morning. “You’re my one and only.” You don’t say a word. I guess you know what’s coming. You’ve seen it too many times before.

“I have to work late,” I hurriedly say to you a couple weeks later. “What?!” I ask defensively as you silently stare back at me. “I have a deadline!” I explain with conviction. “Besides, the weather’s kind of damp. If you and I hang out tonight, I may catch a cold. And then I’ll be out of commission for days!”  Yes, that’s it. Even if I was ABLE to run tonight, I shouldn’t. It’s better this way. (Justification is a funny little thing.)

The next night, it’s something else. A dinner date with a few close friends. You gently remind me that that I don’t have to be at work until 9:45. Why not consider a jog before work? “You make a good point,” I admit. “A morning run is totally feasible.” And I do it! I really, really do it. In fact, I like it so much that I excitedly announce to you that a.m. jogs are going to be the new normal.

That lasts for three days.

Over the next month, our get-togethers wean down to about once a week. Then to once every 2 weeks and before long, you and I are history. It’s a fairly amicable breakup, but no one here is a winner. I feel like a failure; you feel used. For a couple months, we have no contact. Then we bump into each other one Sunday morning and start up our rocky relationship all over again…


Running for a Cause

Last spring, I was in a really good place with running (we’d been hanging out religiously for a good month and a half. Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t last. I’d do the breaking up for sure, but I was enjoying things while they lasted). The reason I was feeling so committed was because I was training for the Phillips 5K Run/Walk, an event put on by the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation. The Foundation was started in July 2011, when my dear friend Sharon Phillips experienced the most unthinkable of tragedies: She lost her mother Susan (64) and her brother Chris (27) within days of each other.

As Sharon waded through her grief, it became clear that their deaths could not, would not, be in vain. And so, the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation was born, with a single, solid mission: To help others. It just made sense—Christopher was studying to be a nurse and had also volunteered  as an EMT; Susan was a Pharmacist Technician at Walgreens for nearly two decades, and customers used to ask for her by name.

Sharon Phillips and her boyfriend Geoff Lenat at the Wine Tasting Fundraiser at Villa Rose Winery in Madison, NJ (October 2012)

Sharon Phillips and her boyfriend Geoff Lenat at the October 2012 Wine Tasting Fundraiser at Villa Rose Winery in Madison, NJ

Since its start, the Foundation has hosted a multitude of fundraisers including the Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser in both 2012 and 2013—each year, the event drew hundreds of people, and the money raised helped go toward scholarships for two graduating students of Jonathan Dayton High School—the alma mater of the entire Phillips family.

And the 1st Annual Phillips 5K Run/Walk was held last year at Watchung Reservation in Morristown, NJ . On a beautiful June morning, friends, family, and complete strangers took to the trail while volunteers and supporters lined the route, the starting line, and the finish line.

Sharon Phillips gets the runners ready at the Phillips 5K Run Walk at Watchung Reservation (June 2012)

Sharon Phillips gets the runners ready at the 2012 Phillips 5K Run Walk at Watchung Reservation

That day, I ran well.  Not my BEST time ever, but when you factor in the typical trail obstacles (sticks, stones, hills, and the risk of spills), I did A-OK. This time, I wasn’t running for any type of fickle reason. I was moving and sweating and breathing and believing—all in the name of Chris. And Sue. And Sharon. My dear friend Sharon who, even on days when it feels nearly impossible, continues to put one foot in front of the other.

Frank Phillips, Sharon's father, awards a medal to one of the winners of the race.

Frank Phillips, Sharon’s father, awards a medal to one of the winners of the 2012 race.

On June 9, 2013, the Christopher and Susan Phillips Foundation will host the Phillips 5K/10K Run/Walk at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown, NJ. To register for the race, get a map of the route, and see a schedule of the day, please visit

To learn more about the Foundation’s initiatives, visit or


Jodi Rigotti is a Senior Editor at QualityHealth, a consumer health website based out of Jersey City, NJ. Her hobbies include exploring new neighborhoods in and around New York City, trying her hand at new vegetarian recipes, and working out when she feels like it. She currently lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband (and college sweetheart), Dan.

7 thoughts on “Guest Post: My Rocky Relationship With “Running” and Running for a Cause

    • Thank you for sharing your story and letting our readers know about the Phillips 5K/10K Run/Walk! I wish I could be there this year – I’m going to try to aim for 2014.

  1. Great job, Jodi…you *ALMOST* make me want to run!! And great job to Sharon, too…what a great accomplishment for a great cause!! Best of luck at your event!!

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