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RUNNING IN 2020 – A year to reflect on our love for the sport.

Thank you to our Fall Marketing Intern for writing this piece. Nicole Sciorilli is a Senior at Providence College and we wish her well in her next steps.

It is clear that 2020 has not been the best year for most of us; it has challenged many both physically and mentally. However, with hardships come the determination and hope to keep going and continue to push forward. In times like these it shows what is truly important to each and every one of us; it challenges us to determine what truly matters in making us happy.  For many the answer to happiness may be loved ones, a safe place to live, or a fresh home-cooked meal. However, here at Rhode Races we discovered that many of our runners found this happiness in one of their favorite hobbies: running.

We have talked to a number of different runners and asked them questions that made them question who they are not only as a runner, but as a person. We wish to help spread the holiday cheer and show to other runners that you are not alone. There are many others, like you, fulfilling their passion for the sport. So in times like these when we feel so far apart, let us be connected by something that we all can truly share a love for: a love for the sport of running.

WHAT DOES RUNNING MEAN TO YOU?

Based on our discussion with our runners it was clear that each and every participant has a story of his or her own. Whether running helps to relieve stress, fulfill healthy habits or becomes a “driver to push (yourself) to never give up” (Kate Wilson Somers), it is evident that running can help be an outlet for further success. As one runner emphasized after starting the sport,  “I think it’s safe to say I’m officially hooked” (Danielle Trial Lucini).

“I found strength in running. It gave me a space where I could go with no judgment, no one telling me I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, strong enough, fast enough. I could think about everything or nothing at all. It was ‘My Time’.” – Lynn McElroy

WHAT WORDS DESCRIBE YOUR RUNNING?

  • Smooth, Calm, Content
  • My Happy Escape
  • Fun, Tourist, Daydream
  • Slow, Cathartic, Invigorating
  • Therapeutic, Fun, Challenging
  • Joyful, Easygoing, Scenic
  • Steady, Slow, Resilient
  • Work In Progress

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HOW OUR RUNNING STORY BEGAN

” I started running in high school as a short distance sprint and hurdler. Running the 1 mile warm up at track practice was a daunting task. I would’ve much rather run 50 yards at all out speed than consider anything even remotely long. In college, I discovered the Color Run 5k’s. These untimed fun-run’s got me hooked. After a few years of running 5k’s sporadically, in 2018, I discovered the Pell Bridge Run. I was intimidated by the idea of 4 miles and decided to “trick” myself into training by making a New Year’s resolution to run one 5k every month, leading up to the Pell Bridge 4 mile. When that year was over, I decided to try for something that would actually require some training, and set my sights on running the Providence Half Marathon in 2019. I thought it might be a one and done kind of resolution, but I fell in love with the 13.1 distance and ended up running a second half marathon that year. My 2020 resolution was to complete the Rhode Master’s series, and I thought that completing 5 half marathons would be a real challenge, but I ended up running 7 half marathons this year! I think it’s safe to say I’m officially hooked.” – Danielle Trial Lucini

“When I first started running, I had no idea what I was doing. As a kid, I was a mediocre athlete, at best. Every year when we did the “Mile Time Test” in gym class, I always finished last. It bothered me. A lot. But I didn’t give up. What I lacked in athletic talent, I made up for in stubbornness and determination. ?As a teenager, I spent years in an unhealthy and emotionally abusive relationship. ?A couple times a week I would jog 2-3 miles through my neighborhood. ?I found strength in running. It gave me a space where I could go with no judgment, no one telling me I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, strong enough, fast enough. I could think about everything or nothing at all. It was ‘My Time’. ? I was slow. I had no idea how to breathe. My form was probably terrible. But I kept going. By the time I was in college, I was a “casual runner”. I had no plan, I simply ran for the exercise to elude the “freshman 15”, to get away from my books and six roommates for a while, and to clear my head. This casual running continued into my twenties, when at the age of 22, a friend of mine suggested that we run a 5k. I was filled with overwhelming doubt about my ability, but I trained and toed that first Start Line with the only goal being to finish. ?When the start gun went off, my stubbornness and determination kicked into high gear, and with adrenaline rushing through my veins, I ran that race as fast as I knew how. It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line that I realized what I had accomplished. I had not only run the entire race and crossed the finish line…I had placed 4th in my age group (13-24) That was the first time I felt like a “real runner”. I have since completed 29 half marathons, 6 marathons, 7 Obstacle Course races, 2 Ragnar Relays, and numerous 5 & 10k’s- many of them run by Rhode Races! I am now an RRCA certified running coach and have an amazing group of running friends who share a passion for running and the mental and physical strength it gives us.” – Lynn McElroy

“My running story began the summer after I graduated high school almost 18 years ago. I was feeling generally unhealthy and wanted a change. I lost 20+ pounds and discovered a piece of me that was missing. It really changed my outlook on my body and my abilities. Throughout college it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to run 5-7 milers but running took a backseat to heavy drinking. In 2013 I started taking my running more seriously when I trained for and ran my first race – the Providence half marathon. I fell in love with running all over again. That fall I ran the Philly marathon, and soon after I quit drinking for good when I realized it was too hard and too hypocritical to think I could devote my time to both. I’m happy to report that I’m still sober and still running marathons.” – Kristy Wang

“I spectated the Boston Marathon back in 2006, when I was in high school and knew then that one day I wanted to run a marathon. I was never a runner, and in the years following that day I would go through spurts where I would run a mile or two for a few days in a row and then become unmotivated, convinced I would never be able to run more than a mile or two. I finally signed up for the Providence Half Marathon in 2011, with the mindset that signing up for a race would leave me no choice but to start running consistently. There were many days when running 1 mile seemed impossible, let alone 13.1, and 26.2 was just ludicrous.  As I slowly but surely increased my mileage, I proved to myself that impossible things are happening every day. I now have 6 marathons and numerous half marathons under my belt, and am looking forward to more!” – Katie Weygand

QUIRKY RUNNING HABITS

  • Everything must be just right.
  • Having to run in a loop.
  • Running as a means of meditation.
  • Memorizing license plates on the cars that drive by.
  • Tapping each mile marker/ sign.
  • Listening to music circa 2008.

“I am forever retying my shoes.  I’m like Goldilocks – not too loose, not too tight- they have to be just right!” – Kristy Wang

FEELINGS ABOUT VIRTUAL EVENTS DUE TO COVID-19

These unprecedented times challenge activities to be done in unique ways, that includes running races. With some more free time, runners have the ability to improve their running, fitness, and meeting goals. Many runners have shared how they felt more connected to people virtually through longer challenges, virtual apps, and social media. Although virtual races take away from some of the beautiful scenery of the state, runners like the flexibility of being able to set their own route and run on their own time.

“Virtual racing has provided a way to continue the camaraderie of a community and reaching goals together while doing what we have to in order to stay safe. Some race companies have definitely done a better job than others, Rhode Races topping that list! I am so grateful for the communication and care you have shown to our running community. I have always felt a personal connection to Rhode Races and our RI running community and in a year as challenging as 2020, I am forever grateful for that. I ran 5 virtual half marathons and 2 virtual marathons this year and the 2020 Virtual Falmouth Road Race. I miss the energy & excitement of in-person races- the start line, runners warming up, the national anthem, the cheering and the energy. I miss seeing the finish line in the distance and pushing just a little bit harder to reach my goal time. So many things have been out of our control this year, so I am holding on tight to the things that I can control: my mindset, my goals, and my running. #runningisnotcancelled” – Lynn McElroy

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR RHODE RACERS WHO PARTICIPATED IN OUR BLOG! WE APPRECIATE YOU!

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