“A joy in running that inspires her”
Jen Simar, age 23, Houston, TX

“I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought about why I run; but, considering I spend most of my free time pounding the pavement, mouse-wheeling on a treadmill, or hitting the trails, it must be for a pretty good reason. Sure, running keeps me fit. It allows me to indulge in my love of baking (and the concurrent taste-testing) and still be able to fit in my slacks. It inspires me. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon and I aspire to one day be that woman pushing a stroller around the trail.

“There is a joy underlying the side stitches a beginner feels, the missing toe nails a veteran experiences, and the mileage our shoes endure. When I see a father-daughter duo cheer on Mom during a race, I want to cry in delight. As I watch dawn break while I squeeze in miles before work, I am filled with a satisfying stillness. When I witness ‘in memorandum of…’ shirts, signs, and emotions, my heart aches. There’s a joy in running that inspires me, that propels me forward.  I can’t imagine life without it.”