There are typically thousands of people who participate in the annual Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton, Massachusetts. The event raises money for Safe Passage, which serves survivors of domestic violence; this year, the run raised $632,000. Each year, our Community Service Club organizes a group of supporters to volunteer to cheer people on.
It was in the low single digits (that’s Fahrenheit - it was negative double digits Celsius) when I left to pick the students up, and not much warmer when we left together. They were in good spirits despite the cold, but once we were there and awaiting the first of hundreds and hundreds of walkers and runners, I did notice that one of the kids was scrunched down and huddling with her jacket pulled over her knees and, I’ll admit it, I got a little worried.
But the moment the first lead cars came in sight, she was instantly on her feet, and the students literally didn't stop cheering, or singsonging their chants, or actually singing their own personal race-focused take-off on Journey’s "Don't Stop Believing," for more than a few seconds here and there for the whole next two hours (bathroom and staggered brief warm-up breaks aside).
They did cheer extra loudly when the chase car finally came in sight, and after it passed and while we were picking up various tambourines and such, only then did one of them say, "I've literally never been so cold in my life."
We started back to the bus... and suddenly encountered a few stragglers who had somehow ended up well behind the chase car. At which point they instantly started cheering again.
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