Why I Love the Sport of Running

Frosty Fifty on Saturday, January 4, 2020, at Salem Lake in Winston-Salem, NC. (Photo by Robert Hill)

When I was applying to Wake Forest, I was asked to give a Top 10 list in my life. Naturally, mine were my top 10 favorite moments about competitive track and field.

However, when I left the days of competition behind and stepped onto Wake’s campus, I gained a new sense of appreciation for running, simply for the sake of running. I fell in love with going the distance beyond what I ever thought I was capable of. Reynolda Gardens runs became my safe haven, taking away the stresses of college. And now, eight years after my first run in Reynolda, my love for running has only grown. My reasons for why I love it may look different now, but I am the person I am today because of all that running has given me in life and the doors it has opened up. Let me break down my current Top 10 reasons why I run. 

  1. I get to run, I don’t have to run. When I began running for the joyful feeling it brought me, I rode that wave and I haven’t looked back. In November 2014, I ran my first marathon (Philadelphia). Seven years later, I am about to reach my 26th. None of this has felt mandatory. Every time I lace up my shoes, I am filled with gratitude that this is something I am able to do. Gratitude is key. 
  2. It’s both mindfulness and mindlessness that help me clear my head. It doesn’t take long for me to reach flow. I dream big crazy dreams, but I have become great at creating tangible challenges for me to work toward. Running is my time to reset and connect with myself to clear my thoughts or process my days.
  3. I am my best self because of running. I used to feel a bit lost after a particular race was run or time was hit. What next? There can always be next times or next races, but those will always end. I have learned to not focus as much on a particular race or time, but rather to continuously just focus on being a better version of myself. I am the friend, daughter, teacher and coach I am today because running has helped me always strive to be better than I was yesterday.
  4. I am a small piece of a huge, impactful puzzle. Everybody has different reasons for why they run, but at the end of the day, we’re all out here working. And that’s awesome. Someone’s story can impact another’s. Running changes perspectives. Knowing that I am just a small piece of the puzzle that can make a huge difference in someone’s life is rewarding.
  5. Investing in your passion is worth it. We all want to do more of what makes us happy. Signing up for race after race may seem crazy for some, but I love it. The energy at races is everything.
  6. Oh the places you’ll go! Everywhere I go, you can almost guess I’ll make it out for a run. I’ve been lucky to race in Italy, Germany and, soon, Spain in addition to cities and communities across the US. Running is the best way to see it all!
  7. Between the start line and finish line, the unknown is a beautiful and terrifying place where we learn more about ourselves. You never know what race day is going to bring, and I think I’ve grown to embrace that unknown. Because I get to do this, I know that each race serves a purpose, and not all of them are about getting my fastest times.
  8. I am more resilient and full of grit. Running has taught me that I can do so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I’m tough and don’t see setbacks as failures but rather as learning moments. I owe a lot to this sport!  
  9. It brings me closer to the Light on those darkest of days.A run has the power to turn my day around. It’s a way for me to come back to what’s most important, especially on the days when my “why” needs some clarity.
  10. It was never just about me; running brings people together. Before I joined Twin City Track Club, I ran mostly on my own. Running became a lot more enjoyable when I was welcomed into such an awesome group of like-minded people all out here for different reasons. It’s made Winston home, and I have so much gratitude for the club that keeps my love of running and community going!