On a blustery day in Brooklyn, six runners from all over the New York area arrived at our photo studio full of nervous energy. Many of the women had never had their photo taken professionally—much less for the cover of a magazine. But by the end of the day, the strangers had turned into friends. Their beautiful photos are on newsstands nationwide in our March 2015 issue. The Women’s Running edit team agreed that this was our favorite cover shoot of all time—and since we couldn’t choose the highlights of the day, we asked the newly crowned models to give us theirs. Read through to meet all of our cover models.
I signed up for track because my mom ran. It’s cool because my mom has continued to get better as she’s gotten older, so I know I can too.
The best part of running in high school is being a part of a team. It allows me to build friendships with people in other grades. The school seems smaller now, because I know more faces in the hallways—it’s less scary.
Related: Running In Your Teens
The hardest thing about running long distances is at first there’s so much pain you want to quit. But you just have to remember pain is temporary and it’s going to be over soon. If you push through, it will help make you better.
I got to do a lot of jumping today, which I love. I do the long jump and I play basketball so I’m used to it and I find it really fun.
One of my little brothers started running cross country when I was 15. I was like, “Girls can do anything boys can do!” I wanted to prove that I could be just as strong on the track and the cross-country course as he was, so I joined the team.
The best part of running in my 20s is the confidence. I feel so much more confident in my body and in my abilities than I did when I was a teenager.
Related: Running In Your Twenties
My dad used to tell me it didn’t matter if I was jogging so slow that a person walking could pass me—the fact that you’re out there doing it at all is really powerful. It’s that struggle that will get you to the next level.
I get really inspired by women who are running into their later years, because they prove you can do it forever. It’s a sport that gives back to you— it gives you what you put into it.
My favorite part of the shoot was seeing all the other women of different ages. It was cool to see how the sport develops not only your body, but your sense of self. I thought that was really powerful.
I started running in eighth grade. I’ve never stopped! I see myself running forever.
The best part of running in my 30s is being in control of my training. Since I ran in high school and college, I was always being coached. Now I can enjoy the ride. It doesn’t have to be so intense, but then when I want to set a goal, I’ll go after it.
Related: Run Strong In Your Thirties
Looking back, I have no idea how I ate chicken finger Fridays in college and then ran a race the next morning. You just don’t know any better when you’re 22. Now I have a much broader view. It’s not just about the workouts, but the sleep, lifestyle and nutrition too.
The way to keep running is to constantly set goals. Keep signing up for races. Go for that new PR!
Everyone’s love of running and running backgrounds were very inspirational. It was also a nice bonus to try on brand new gear and the latest and greatest running shoes.
Get Karen’s Look: Helly Hansen Aspire Jacket ($100, hellyhansen.com), Lululemon Power Y Tank ($52, lululemon.com), Nike Sculpt Training Capris ($100, nike.com), Pearl Izumi EM Road N2 ($120, pearlizumi.com)
In 2002, I quit smoking cold turkey on New Year’s Eve. I wanted something positive to focus on so I went out and started running. I became hooked! You never know what your body can do. I went from running one mile to running eight marathons.
The best part of running in my 40s is feeling faster. I have more strength and stamina, and I’m more confident in my races. This year, I set a course PR during my cross-country season. In my 30s, I was more worried about dying at the end of races. Now I just run without fear.
I’m a masters athlete now so my goal is to run sub-2:30 in the 800. I’m at 2:36. The masters scene in New York is actually huge. There are some pretty fast ladies!
My favorite part of the shoot was the jumping shots. It was fun!
Tomomi Seki Freeburg
I started running when I was 52. My blood pressure had gone up, and I thought running would help. I started to enjoy running outside and being in nature.
The best part of running in my 50s is understanding that I’ll only become old when I think I’m old. Try not to think too much. Just do it.
Related: Run Even Better In Your Fifties
My favorite distance is 200 meters. I like sprints!
One of my favorite aspects of the shoot was the ageless, mutual passion between me and all of the other models for running, including the staff! In addition, it was great to see all of brand-new running gear and all of the colorful sneakers.
I’d been active in my life, but I was too old to have sports available to me [as a female] in school, so I’d missed out on being athletic. When I turned 50, I thought, Let’s try this! I was surprised how much fun running was and how much I loved being outside.
The best part of running in my 60s is feeling liberated. Being older, I’m not worried about a lot of things. What’s the worst that could happen? I feel in control of my body, and I have possibility. Plus, I know how to relax when I run.
There is so much opportunity for women today. It’s so moving to me. We’ve made a lot of strides in our country, but there is still a very strong, oppressive sexism. The fact that women can push past the exclusion from athletics and enjoy the power and strength and confidence that brings…it’s remarkable.
As soon as I came in, I wanted to leave because I was terrified. There is something about being the oldest—all those inner voices are speaking phrases that are not really helpful. But my favorite thing has been meeting people and realizing I’m much more beautiful than I think I am.