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Solo runner finds herself inspiring others

June 9, 2011 at 1:09 a.m.


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By Jerry Allison

When I first got into running, I did it to lose the freshman 20 that I had gained.

Then, the beginning of my sophomore year, a close friend died and my world exploded. I began running not to lose weight but to get away from my grief, my heartache and my tears.

Always running solo.

Soon, I channeled everything into running my first marathon. It was a crazy idea, I knew it, but if other people could do it so could I.

I ran my first half marathon in 2:10:31, my fastest in the six years I've been running. I ran my first full marathon for my 21st birthday.

I continued running with blinders on. Oblivious to the world around me.

Then I went home for the summer and met my high school friend, Elizabeth, for dinner. She admitted, she planned to run a marathon because I inspired her to do it.

I was taken aback.

I had always thought of running as my own. Never did I think I was influencing the people around me. But I was.

Later, another friend admitted she started running because I was so passionate about it.

And I am.

I love running. It's my therapy. A $100 pair of shoes a couple of times a year is less expensive than lying on a couch talking about my feelings.

Not only that but I love talking about the sport. I have no problem going up to a runner in a grocery store and asking about his or her marathon T-shirt.

But this is something that has evolved. In the beginning, it was me and the pavement.

Although I'm still the solo runner from 2005, I have a bigger support base now. Something I didn't have when I started.

I have running friends on Twitter that I tweet with almost daily. I've joined a running social network called Dailymile, where I log my daily mileage.

And these people inspire me every day.

Like DMer Linda, who just lost her husband in Afghanistan, and her posts about his death and her grief often bring me to tears. Despite her loss, she's continued running and has finished two marathons in the past three weeks. Her story inspires me to continue running and for a bigger cause than myself.

Elizabeth, my friend who says I inspired her, motivates me. She's running, working and getting her Ph.D. in audiology to become a doctor. If she can juggle everything and still run, then I can too.

You see I don't see myself as an inspiration. I run because I love it.

But if I've inspired you, then let me thank you because you've inspired me and welcome you to the running community. The more the merrier.

Jerry Allison is assistant presentation editor for the Victoria Advocate and avid runner. She can be reached at jallison@vicad.com.

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