The story below is from New York Road Runners Young Runner, Amy Lei, and is an inspiring personal account of a journey many of the students in NYRR Youth Programs experience.
“Although it is just my first year at Stuyvesant, I feel as though New York Road Runners Young Runners program has been of great help. It shaped me from someone who hated all sports, to someone that is willing to give up time to run.
When I first heard of NYRR Young Runners, I was reluctant to join. The thought of running 30 minutes continuously seemed impossible to me. After all, I was not at all “fit” or “athletic.” In fact, I hated most physical activities. I couldn’t feel the motivation for it, but I knew it’ll be a good way to impress colleges. So what swayed me to finally join was the idea of “running for fun” or “running at your own pace.” I felt like it offered a lot of freedom for beginners like me.
One moment that stands out to me is my 2nd run. I had finally ran 1 mile without stopping to rest or walk. The accomplishment seems so simple and easy now, but at that time, it was a big change. In middle school, I’ve always walked at least half of the mile. So to do so for the first time, no matter how slow, was a big feat for me. Then, from that point on, I never stopped to walk again. I loved the feeling I got each time. It was a sense of victory or triumph because I pushed on, despite the occasional feeling of wanting to give up. Eventually I was able to fit in 2 miles within the 30 minutes. That 2 miles then turned to 3 miles, and just recently, I attempted 4 miles. I even see improvement in my mile time, as it went from something like 12 minutes to as low as 8 minutes.
I am definitely happy and grateful there exists such a program like NYRR Young Runners. It helped me improve, and it was evident during fencing tryouts. Although I didn’t make the cut, I felt amazed at all the activities I endured through. It ranged from many flights of stairs (something everyone dread), to an intense sprinting game, and even a 5 minute plank. None of this would be possible if I didn’t have NYRR Young Runners to push myself. So I really hope this program continues to be available to students. I already know many students just like the old me. They hate the thought of exercise and preferred to be a couch potato. As I’m already trying to recruit them, I’m sure it’ll open many opportunities for others too.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this race!” – Amy Lei