Every runner has a unique personal biography. It reveals the get-up or give-up moments. It shows the light-hearted and fun side of running. It displays motivation, courage and willingness to improve. Most importantly, it explains how lives are forever changed by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
These are the untold stories of local runners. Grab a seat. Stick around for a while. Read on, and be inspired to run.
Andrew Knight | Red River Runner | Music Therapy Assistant Professor
My wife and I went to Barnes & Noble one day. She was looking for yoga books and I, tagging along, saw a book in the next section called “The Non-runners Guide To Running A Marathon.” I thought ‘I’m not a runner,’ so I bought it and followed a plan to run a marathon.
Early on, I learned how awesome runners, as a cross-section of society, are. If you are looking to hang around the best people in the world, join a running group. We’re super fun, usually extremely good looking (especially our toned legs…), and are not ashamed of discussing blisters, sweat, smells, body things, etc. since it’s all a part of our running makeup.
I am not sure what I am capable of, so running is a constantly evolving goal to see what my body can really do when I sign up for events. When I don’t have events, I find running is my reset button to clear my head, move my body, and better focus on being a good husband, father, and guy-that-you-might-run-into-and-enjoy-talking-to-for-a-few-moments.
Sarah Exner | Clinic Office Nurse | Mom of Two, Soon Three
In the fall of 2010, I attempted to run. Shortly after, I found out we were expecting our second child. I quit.
In June of 2011, our son was born. He was colic and only seemed happy in his stroller. We put on a lot of miles walking! I decided to give running a try again. If I could make it past a certain landmark, great! If not, I kept pushing. Before long, I could make it around the whole bike path (.75 miles).
That spring, the high school was sponsoring a 5K fundraiser. The race was 1.5 miles one way; then you turned around at the halfway point and ran back to the start. I ran (more like a slow jog) all the way to the turnaround point. I rested for thirty seconds then ran back. It was amazing! That’s when I became hooked.
Since, I have made some great friendships and completed numerous 5Ks, two 10Ks, a half marathon and, most recently, Fargo Marathon relay (at 15 weeks pregnant). I ended up losing 60 pounds overall with running and portion control. And, I have more energy to keep up with my busy boys.
Holly Benjamin | Pediatrics Nurse | Fargo Half Marathoner
I have always disliked running. As a kid I would avoid it as much as possible. The “mile run” in elementary school was torture. As an adult, I realized many people love running. I have coworkers who talk about how great if feels afterwards, especially a race. I also needed to become more physically active. So, I tried running…. I still hated it… But I tried again… And again…
In January 2012, a friend of mine told me I need to try again. She had a great plan that she was sure I could do. It worked! I went from not being able to run for two minutes to running my very first 5K.
I have one person with me on every run: Brianna. She is my I Run 4 buddy. I have never met her, but we message back and forth several times weekly. When I am struggling with a run, I focus on her. It gets me through every time.
I love running because I can! And because it is a good stress reliever. I love the feeling I get after a run, whether it is a great run or a rough one. To me it is huge to say I’ve run a mile, much less 10 miles.
Brad Larsen | Computer Nerd | 5K Challenger to Regular Runner
The genesis of the running occurred when my friend and I were bantering one day, and we ended up with a friendly bet that I could not get within 9 minutes of him in a 5K race. I was 35 years old and was carrying the “residual self-image” that I was in the same shape as I was in college. The truth: I was 80 pounds heavier than when I entered college.
We executed our bet at the Cat’s Incredible 5K on August 11, 2007, and I lost badly. I lost by more than 3:30…per mile…over a short distance of three miles. Yikers. Something had to change.
I like the discrete nature of the workout. I’m going a set distance or a set time. When I have achieved that distance or time, I’m done. I like the feeling of having the workout be over and having completed something tangible that I can write down (example: I ran 3 miles). I like the numbers and the statistics and the raw data I get from my GPS watch/phone—computer nerd through and through!
Jess Brammer | Stay-At-Home Mom | Morning Runner
I live in East Grand Forks and I’m a stay-at-home mom of two active boys ages four and 19 months. When I’m not shuttling my kids around town, you can find me at the gym, running outside, reading or enjoying a girls’ night.
I started working out my sophomore year of college to get into shape. At the time, I could only walk on the treadmill. When I started to become more fit, I was able to give running a chance. Running was something I found that I enjoyed and was a great cardio workout.
Running is my “me time.” I get up early every day while the family is still asleep in order to complete my run and to make sure I have no excuses later to skip it. I try to get a workout in daily because it allows me to recharge my batteries. I find it hard to take a day off. If the weather is nice enough, I enjoy taking my kids out in the jogging stroller and incorporating some family time into it.
Want more? Read the first batch of Untold Stories of Local Runners from 2013.
#30DaysOfRunning is a great way to start your own running biography. Everyone has a different reason to get their run on, so discover yours. There’s still time to commitment to the movement and get involved.
Be happy. Be healthy. Be a runner this month.
What’s your running story? Share it here.