I was never a terribly physically active person during my youth. I played tennis and rode horses, and this was about the extent of it, aside from a brief spat of interest in joining cross country after my junior year in high school. After my freshman year of college I started running with my roommates. We were all new to the endeavor, so we were able to progress together at about the same pace. I really started to enjoy the great feeling I had during and after a good run, so I took off with the hobby. Less than five months after my first run, I completed my first half marathon in October of 2010.
One of my long-term goals is to complete a full marathon. My busy schedule hasn’t allowed me the 12+ hours per week I expect to need for proper training, so I have stuck with half marathons for the time being. I ran the Liverpool, England Half Marathon 2011, the Des Moines Half Marathon four times, and a trail half near Seattle in 2013.
I was a proud member of the University of Birmingham’s social running club, Cool Runnings, during my semester there. It’s a fantastic group of supportive and active students. One aspect of British running culture that I wish existed in the US is the Parkrun. Every Saturday morning, free 5k runs are held at dozens of parks across the country. I attended them each Saturday that I was in town. They track your times and accomplishments and reward personal record and completion milestones, all while providing you with an age-percentage ranking against other Parkrunners.
While living in Olathe, Kansas during the summer of 2012, I ran five trail races with the Trail Nerds, a group of trail running enthusiasts. These trail runs are run on single-track, unpaved, rocky, and very hilly trails. My crowning running achievement for that summer was completing the Psycho Psummer 10 mile race, which has been one of the most challenging mental and physical accomplishments of my life. You can visit the Trail Nerds’ website at www.psychowyco.com. I highly recommend their races.