All month long, we’ve been proudly supporting and celebrating Women’s History Month and honoring amazing women who have made an impact on Harlem, NYC, and even the world. Women like Natasha Hastings, Tiffany Dufu, and Bevy Smith are all individuals who have taken the initiative, broken the mold, and pursued their passions in a world where they have often been told that they could not.
As a fitness group that strives to empower people to make positive changes in their lives as well as the community at large, we value the tenacity and strength that women show everyday. No one can deny the impact that well-known women have made, but we also want to honor the women that you pass everyday on the street or sit next to on the subway that do so much for our community. We also want to take a moment to honor the women at Harlem Run who work day in and day out to make this movement happen.
Alison, our fearless leader, founded Harlem Run over two years ago. Her passion for running and her belief in using sports as a tool for personal and social change gave way to this incredible movement. Alison works around the clock to think of new and exciting ways to engage people in the community. Warmly greeting everyone with a hug on Monday and Thursday nights, she makes sure that everyone feels at home. Perhaps most importantly, she has been very open with her vulnerabilities and has shared her story with thousands of people, encouraging other women to share their own struggles, insecurities, and dreams.
Raydime, HR Captain, has lived in Harlem for her whole life, and knows all the ins and outs of the neighborhood. When she joined Harlem Run, she knew that it was more than just a weekly run for her; it was the chance to be a part of something larger than herself and a way to give back to the community that means so much to her. Raydime works tirelessly to promote the group. Whether she’s organizing the best cheer station in NYC at any given race or posting quirky, yet inspiring posts on social media, nearly everything she does is with the goal of making Harlem Run a loving space.
Kayla, HR Captain, joined the movement when she moved to New York and was looking to meet a few people while getting a workout in. Instead, she met her running family and instantly fell in love with a neighborhood that she had never explored before. Kayla started the HR blog that you are currently reading and knew that this was a powerful way to allow people to tell their stories in a way that feels comfortable to them. Kayla speaks openly about her body image struggles and weight loss story with the hopes of encouraging other women to begin to feel comfortable talking about these topics.
Lisa, HR Pacer, loves to tell the story of how she got involved in the group. She was recruited by her cousin Raydime, and was reluctant to begin running. That reluctance quickly turned to love and passion, as Lisa is now known for leading the Run/Walk group every Monday night. Lisa’s kindheartedness can be felt (and heard!) from miles away. She makes everyone in the group feel welcome and confident, no matter what their pace or ability level may be.
These four women don’t even begin to scratch the surface of incredible ladies that can be found at our twice weekly runs… But we wanted to highlight their abilities this week because they are great examples of how women can take their passion and light it on fire. Even if they are scared. We hope that that may encourage some of our fellow ladies to do the same!
-The Women of Harlem Run