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Welcoming Everyone to the Run Community

Updated: Feb 28



If you scroll through the profiles of the recently announced 2024 TCM Ambassadors, you should find someone familiar looking back at you from among the running community representatives who volunteer their time to welcome and motivate the Twin Cities running community.


It’s the point of the program, after all.


TCMbassadors are meant to represent all types of movers, from first-timers eager to share their journey, to seasoned runners with sage advice to share. They’re central to TCM’s mission of creating a community that welcomes all to the running and movement community.


“I’m excited to have a TCMbassador cohort that represents all types of runners, from back to middle to front of the pack,” Mallory Burns, the TCM staffer who leads the program told The Connection. “This year’s group is an awesome combination of new and returning ambassadors, all who are dedicated to sharing their journeys and getting their communities moving.”


The 27 TCMbassadors for 2024, chosen from more than 80 applicants, seek to represent the rich kaleidoscope of movers that enlivens the Twin Cities running community. No matter where you finish in the pack, no matter which gender category you compete in, no matter which cultural communities or life stages your running originates from, someone familiar should greet you.


First-time TCMbassador Cass Casarez, for example, will likely connect across a wide spectrum of the community.


"As a black mixed Latinx fat queer person,” Cass noted, “I belong to many underrepresented parts of the running community. I am getting back into running and working out again for the first time in years. To say a lot has changed in my life since then is an understatement; the last time I ran a race I was in a completely different gender category!”


Returning TCMbassador Carrie Rodman, who juggles a professional career and motherhood, should be relatable to many who fit running into an at-capacity life.


“Since my first TCM in 2005,” Carrie shared, “I’ve gone to veterinary school, given birth to three children (now ages 9, 7 and 5), started (and grown) my career, and have maintained my fitness routine and running as a large part of my life. Need some insight into how to train as a mom? Expanding your running community? Injured runner? I’m your woman!”


If you connect with Carrie for advice and motivation, you’ll probably hear about mantras before long.


“I’m ALL about mantras and positive self-talk when it comes to running,” she confirmed. “The best piece of advice I ever received is a quote a friend of mine told me: “Be where your feet are.” This applies to running and in life. Be present. Focus on the mile you’re in, not what’s done or what’s ahead.”


Cass has their own mantra, one especially helpful for the early or harder stages of a person’s running journey: Forward is a Pace. “Not only did it help me finish my third half-marathon in 2018, it’s helping me get into a better mindset as I start working out again and preparing for my first full marathon later this year,” they said. “I am a runner no matter the time I finish a race. Walking is not a bad thing. Forward is a pace!”

 

As the program’s staff leader, Mallory appreciates how TCMbassadors embody the new brand and mission of Twin Cities In Motion.

 

“The program is evolving alongside Twin Cities In Motion,” Mallory observed. “With our Motion Center programming and our emphasis on speaking to all runners and walkers, I’m excited to see our TCMbassadors engage with the TCM community outside of our races, and hopefully encourage someone who’s never considered running, or felt like they don’t belong, to feel comfortable showing up and getting started in a supportive space.”

 

She also noted the collective resource and knowledge base embodied by the TCMbassadors.


"Our TCMbassadors are an excellent resource for so many things. They are here to answer questions if you’re a first-time runner, give motivation if you’re stuck in a rut or not sure where to start, and provide general support within the running community.


“I encourage everyone to follow them on social media, and attend our Motion Center programming to meet them in person and learn more about their involvement,” Mallory added.


Meet all of this year’s TCMbassadors here. You’ll find out which TCM events they are pointing toward in 2024 as well as their "This or That" runner preferences.



This article orginally appeared in the The Connection, TCM's weekly e-newsletter. Subscribe here.


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