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Running is Good for the Soul

Updated: May 14

We’ve all heard it before: Running is good for the soul. But what does that mean? We’ve learned about the physical and mental benefits of running but what about beyond that?


As someone who strives to make the running community more inclusive, I’ll let you determine your definition of soul - for some, it may be religious or spiritual, for others it may not be, and that’s okay. For me, my soul is the core of who I am. My soul drives me to inspire, belong, and make an impact.


I have always been a solo runner. I enjoy hitting the pavement or the trail, taking in the sights and sounds of nature, and self-reflecting on my day or life events. I love returning from a run with mental clarity and a sense of accomplishment. I’ve heard this referred to as a “soul workout” and I couldn’t agree more. But what happens when your soul needs more? You turn to the running community! Here are a few examples of how the running community has personally nourished my soul:


Inspire

My first experience joining the Twin Cities running community was through Girls on the Run. The program helps girls train for a 5k and teaches life skills like dealing with emotions and conflict resolution. The company I worked for at the time was a corporate sponsor, recruiting volunteers and giving out free registrations for the Girls on the Run 5k. After experiencing the most amazing 5k I knew I had to get involved with this organization, so I signed up to volunteer as a coach. I’ve been coaching for nearly 5 years now. Each season I get to help girls achieve their goal of completing a 5k, help them complete a community impact project, and navigate some of the ups and downs of being a girl. Knowing I am inspiring future generations fuels my soul.


Belong

After a few years of coaching Girls on the Run, I learned about the Game Changers program that helps women of color become certified run coaches through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). I applied on a whim thinking it would be fun to expand my knowledge of running. Through a structured program, mentoring, and accountability, I gained an entire network of women of color run coaches actively changing who are seen as experts and leaders in the run industry. While this community spans multiple states, we occasionally meet to run, connect, learn, and inspire each other to keep changing the game. The Game Changers community was something I didn’t know my soul needed but connecting with like-minded women of color created a sense of belonging that was lacking in my own life. I now get to pour some of that energy back into the local community coaching for Moms on the Run in Minneapolis.


Impact

To continue my impact on the local running community, I applied and was selected to be a Twin Cities in Motion Ambassador for 2024. I’ve been running TCM events for many years. TCM events are always well-organized, fun, and inclusive, but when TCM rebranded and enhanced its mission to be even more inclusive, I knew I had to get more involved - and I am so glad I did. I’ve met fellow ambassadors, been on a panel for a TCM event, recruited TCM volunteers, volunteered at Get in Gear, and went Plogging for Earth Day. Impacting the community through these events gives my soul a sense of purpose.


Women Run the Cities remains my favorite TCM event. There is something special about watching women from all walks of life complete the 5k, 10k, and 10 mile. I’ve been running the event since before it was a TCM event, but the enhancements TCM has made while upholding the integrity of a women-only event keep me coming back each year. For the last two years, my niece (now 7) has also enjoyed running the kid's race and it’s becoming a new tradition I look forward to every year. I cannot think of a better way to nurture my soul than by passing down my love for running at this awesome event with the best running community


This article originally appeared in the monthly participant e-newsletter to PNC Women Run the Cities entrants. Learn more about the event here.


 

Makara Fairman is a TCM Ambassador and much, much more in the running community as you've just read in the story above. Follow her on Instagram here.

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