I started running in 2012, but it was purely by accident. I was working as a Corporate Senior Paralegal and my firm entered the Chase Corporate Challenge 5k in Central Park. I was tasked with the position of organizing the event for my coworkers. Not only did I organize it, but I also decided to run at the last minute.
I was initially a little nervous because I had never ran in my life, but it turned out to be the best experience of my life. I finished in 35 minutes - I couldn't believe it! This small race changed my life forever and launched me into the fitness world. I was 37 years old, 160 pounds, and classified as overweight. I wanted to make a significant change in my life, so I started researching running clubs and ways to fundraise while running.
One day at work, my coworker, who happened to be ex-Giants player, Amani Toomer's sister, overheard my conversation in the cafeteria and asked if I would be interested in doing the "Back to Football 5 K Run" with her brother. She told me that this race would benefit his charity, The Diabetes Foundation. I remember almost fainting and mind muttering "OMG omg omg Amani Toomer!"
I kept my cool, however, and accepted. Just a few months later, Amani Toomer and I ran for his charity in Central Park. I finished in 32 minutes beating my previous time by 3 minutes. Or as they say in "runner's terms" I PR'd... And even beat Amani Toomer who came in at 38 minutes! Luckily he was cool about it and we laughed about my accomplishment.
Running for charity and making a difference for such an admirable charity really got me inspired and I decided this was my destiny. I love running, I love giving back, and I love helping people. So why not?! My running career began shortly after my race with Amani. I teamed up with local running groups, found a charity that meant something to me, and I started training that very same fall for my first half, the Nike Women's Half Marathon in May 2013!
I decided to make my first half marathon memorable and to make a difference by making it count. I set a lofty goal for myself of $3,000 to raise money for leukemia research. After hosting several fundraiser parties, happy hours, and getting support from family and friends, I not only hit my goal, but I went $2,000 above what I anticipated! It was so rewarding to know that I had worked towards fundraising over $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I knew that running changed my life, but now I knew that my new hobby also changed others lives.
I then set off to Washington DC to run my first race, feeling pumped and ecstatic that I was running to save lives! It was one of the best times of my life and helped me discover my passion for running. My official time in the race was 2:07, and along the way I earned a Tiffany necklace presented by firefighters at the finish line. What else could you ask for?! Not even two weeks later, I ran my second half in Brooklyn. I knew that I was hooked on running, and I haven't stopped since.
My journey towards becoming a runner and learning how to give back to the community in the process has been breathtaking and epic. It has also led to me develop lifelong friendships with so many other runners. Becoming a part of Harlem Run during the process has made my experience that much more meaningful. I am still an active fundraiser and my purpose and calling is to end cancer! With the help of my running friends and family, I know that I will continue to run with fight and never give up!