Member Spotlight: Victoria Fortune

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 United Airlines NYC Half!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
From Clinton Hill to Dumbo. I love taking the time to overlook the water after a long run. It makes me appreciate the simple things in life, like the ability to get up and run, breathe, see, and love.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
When I run in the morning, I listen to Gospel music. I typically get up around 5:45-6AM. At that time, most people are still in their beds. During this time, I bond with God and nature. I sometimes get emotional during my runs, thanking God for all of the blessings he’s granted me during this journey we call life.

When I run in the evening, I listen to up-tempo music like Kanye (Stronger, All of the Tights, College Drop-out) and a little Red Hot Chili Peppers (Otherside, Snow, Dani California).

What is your favorite post-run meal?
My favorite post run meal is sautéed kale, pan seared salmon topped with sautéed red peppers, green peppers, onions, and garlic, paired with a baked sweet potato.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running began at age 10 when I joined the community softball team. I played shortstop because the coach was so impressed with my speed. I took my running skills to high school where I joined the track and field team. I then went to college four years later, however didn’t join any sports team, but still managed to stay active. Running is therapeutic for me. It puts me at ease.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?

Why did you choose to run this event?
I chose to run this event, to show the kids in my community the power of hard work, faith, and persistence. It’s up to us to lead our children. If they see it, they’ll believe it. If they see me up in the morning around the same time leaving my house to train, maybe they too will begin to take more pride in their physical fitness.

Tell us a little more about yourself
Though my parents often reminded me of my potential and worth, it wasn’t until I saw Dominique Dawes win the Olympic Gold medal in 1996 that things began to click. I never actively pursued gymnastics, but Dawes’ image as an African American Olympian from my hometown spoke volumes to me. Dawes represented a level of confidence and courage that overtime I grew to understand. Today, I can confidently say that my life would not be the same had I not learned to trust and believe in myself.

I am 24 years old living in NYC and still find time to run at least three times a week. I don’t just do this for my own personal fitness, but because I live in a neighborhood where I am constantly around young children and teens. As a result, I feel that it is my obligation to be a good role model. On my morning jogs, I pass by the same group of kids, and each time that I do, I assure that I smile and make eye contact. Though this is a very small gesture, it’s my way of communicating with them the value of persistence and taking care of their bodies.

Running the United Airlines NYC Half with Team for Kids means more than just meeting the finish line. With each mile I complete, it is my hope that at least one kid I pass by becomes inspired to join a Team for Kids program and take charge of their fitness. While I am not an Olympian like Dominique Dawes, I realize that as an African American woman, it’s important that I step up and show our children the power of believing.

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Knowing I am making a difference with each mile I complete. The image of me being an African American woman and running for the physical fitness benefits of other African American children living in underprivileged neighborhoods warms my heart.

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