When we each first committed to running a half marathon, we didn’t know what to expect. If we’re being honest, we just couldn’t see ourselves accomplishing this kind of goal.
Where we’re from, people who look like us were not paying money just to run long distances. As you can imagine, we never thought the sport was for us.
But we’ll never forget our first half marathons. We both trained hard (as best we could) and made it across the finish line. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and our relationship with running after those races.
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We both wanted to sign up for more races, but we also wanted to train with a community. When we first started running, we had spent most of our time running with each other or running solo. We both realized that it was something that we wanted to do more often, but we couldn’t always find the motivation to do it alone. Having the accountability of a group or another person to get out the door was incredibly helpful.
We were still relatively new to running and wanted a beginner-friendly environment. We looked for run clubs but couldn’t quite find one that either worked with our schedule or offered the kind of connections we were looking for.
So in 2014, we launched City Fit Girls Run Club, an all-levels running and fitness community based in Philadelphia. We wanted to challenge the narrative that in order to be a runner, you had to look a certain way. City Fit Girls is and always has been open to runners of all paces and levels.
Our group began meeting every Wednesday at 6:30pm at Dilworth Park for a 3-5 mile run. No RSVP needed, just show up. We wanted everyone, no matter their background or experience to feel welcomed and supported. And we mean everyone: Whether you’re running your first 5K or you’re trying to qualify for Boston, we want you to know that you can run with us.
From the very beginning, our City Fit Girls run group has been nothing but supportive and encouraging. There’s something about connecting with a group of people, logging miles, and feeling the sense of accomplishment by the end of the run. Even on days we didn’t want to do it, knowing that the group would be there was all the motivation we needed to put on our running shoes and get it done.
When you set out to run, you hope every run is a good run. But runners know that’s not always the case. Some runs are so hard that they make you want to quit or question why you’re doing it in the first place. But together, we’ve learned to push through the discomfort and trust in ourselves.
This community has taught us that running can truly bring people together in ways that we could never imagine. Together, the City Fit Girls community has logged thousands of miles, crossed hundreds of finish lines, and made lifelong friendships. We show up to each others races and trade running tips over Facebook messages.
We’ve learned that when you have the support of a community, running isn’t just about personal records and race medals, it’s about empowerment and resilience.
Running has taught us that you never know how strong you are until you do something you never knew you could do. We’ve never regretted going for a run. And thanks to our community and what we’ve learned about ourselves through our miles thus far, we know we still have so much more to discover about our potential, and how strong and capable we are. And we have so many more miles left to run.