Member Spotlight: Jessica Damouni

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What excites you most about running the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon?
Being a part of something greater than myself and being a part of something that brings so many strangers together. Also this is my first marathon and I am running it with my mum, I am definitely excited about sharing this experience with her!

Looking forward to seeing New York City in a completely different light and of course hearing those crowds cheering all of us crazies on!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I have two places that come to mind – the first is at the beach. I’m from Perth, Western Australia and when going back home for the holidays the first thing I want to do is go for a run by the beach. Nothing beats running straight into the cool water after a long, sweaty run!

The second is in Central Park with the Team For Kids runners, coaches and mentors on those early Saturday morning long runs! I never thought running such long distances could seem so easy and enjoyable – I’ve started to really looking forward to running up those rolling hills and chatting with my amazing team mates! And being filled with so many runners and cyclists, the park just has such a great energy that really is intoxicating!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
All though I can’t get enough of Beyonce, I’ve stopped listening to music whilst running. Now, I just enjoy the simplicity of hearing my foot steps on the ground when running, the sound of the bike wheels spinning when cyclists ride by, the sound of the wind and cars and people and taking in all that is around me.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Ripe bananas or very ripe mangoes!!!!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
Well running took me out on a romantic candle lit dinner for two……..haha kidding! I started running in primary school…but my first real memory of enjoying running was when I would have been about 8 or 9… My mum had just started running and was entering a 12k race in Perth called City2Surf with a couple other mums, my two best friends and I did the 4k race whilst our mums did the 12k and we started doing that every year!

I was very involved in all the co-curricular activities at my school as well like cross country, netball and rowing… and training for all of those included a lot of running!

My mum is a huge inspiration to me, she has done 10 marathons and one Ultra-marathon…Running is something that we can really bond over. I think my real relationship with running began after watching her finish last year’s NYC marathon!

Running helps me clear my mind and see things from a better and more positive perspective.

I’m so grateful for all the sports programs the schools I went to offered and for having such encouraging parents because if I really think about it – these programs are where I learned the skills that have been the most important throughout my life – determination, teamwork, strength (mentally and physically), health etc… being introduced to it at such a young age really helped it carry through to now and I’m so happy such a charity as Team For Kids exists so I can join in helping carry that through to the younger generations and helping others know the greatness that they can achieve!

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
Not really anything crazy – Drink water, sleep, eat a banana and run!

Why 26.2?
Why not!!?

Tell us a little more about yourself
I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia and at the age of 17 I left my family behind and moved to New York to study acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. I recently graduated in June and what better way to celebrate that and my 20th birthday coming up in November than to run 26.2 miles?

Running has definitely made me a more persistent, present and lively actress and has taught me to be patient!

I love the beach and I love to travel – Although I could do without the long plane flights (24 hours to go back home to Australia to be exact)

Sometimes I think I’m too optimistic but then I realize there’s no such thing as that – If I can help bring a smile to someone’s face or change a bad situation into a good one then I’d be one happy gal 😉

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