8 Everyday Runners’ Stories to Motivate You in 2021 | by Heather Campbell | Jan, 2021
These inspiring runners will get you excited to chase down your own goals.
At the start of a new year, many of us recommit to our running and fitness goals. We’re inspired by the possibility of 365 days stretching out in front of us. We vow that we’ll stick to our goals and resolutions.
And then all our plans and best intentions get derailed by life. According to Strava, most of us will give up on our resolutions by January 19th. That’s right — we don’t even make it a month into the new year!
There are a number of reasons why this happens as life ramps back up after the holidays and commitments pile on. The excitement of new goals also starts to fade, and the running habit hasn’t stuck yet.
Fortunately, a little inspiration might be just the thing to get you back on track. We can look to the pros, who are accomplishing amazing things, like Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon or Sara Hall’s breakthrough late last year at the Marathon Project. But, if you’re a regular runner like me, those might be a little too unattainable to motivate you.
Instead, look to the everyday runners who are accomplishing amazing things, despite the challenges like the pandemic, physical limitations, and more.
1. Darren Lamb recovered from COVID-19 and became a runner
The running habit never stuck for Darren before, but when he contracted COVID-19, it gave him the motivation to change his life. Inspired by his father’s journey to take up running and get healthy, when Darren recovered, he started to run, too. It helped him regain his breathing and drop weight. Now he has his sights set on a marathon.
2. Rhonda Foulds is running with Parkinson’s
Rhonda was training for her first marathon more than 20 years ago when she was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Since then, she’s run 100 marathons and a number of other races. But it hasn’t been easy. Brain surgery helped her significantly, but she still experiences tremors and freezing. Rhonda never knows if she’ll complete a run without falling or getting hurt. But running is also the thing that helps her cope with her diagnosis.
3. Carol Seppilu is running for her mental and physical health
In six years, Carol has gone from barely running a couple of blocks to tackling ultramarathons. Any race that less than 20 hours is too short for her now. She’s lost a significant amount of weight and gained a much more positive outlook on life. Carol has long struggled with severe depression, but running has significantly improved her mental health. She says that when she struggles in a race, she thinks about the challenges she’s overcome with depression, and when struggling with depression, the strength she’s shown in races helps her.
4. Peter Meades is running to clean up his community
Peter was looking for a challenge when the pandemic halted in-person races, so he signed up for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, a four-month, 1,000+-kilometer race put on by the creator of the Barkley Marathons. While covering the distance, he began to notice how much litter there was in his small, rural community. So Peter took on a new challenge to cover the 3000-kilometers of roads in his town and pick up all the trash along the way.
5. Faith Akioyamen ran a 100-mile race five months postpartum
When she first heard that people raced 100 miles or more in one go, Faith says it blew her mind. She never intended to run any further than the marathon distance, but she couldn’t get the thought of an ultramarathon out of her head. So Faith signed up for a 100-miler. And didn’t finish. Then she signed up for another, and again, didn’t finish — this time because she was pregnant. The goal of the 100-miler loomed over her as she ran shorter distances throughout her pregnancy. Five months postpartum, Faith made that goal a reality.
6. Arun Kallikadavil runs to keep challenging himself
Arun signed up for his first marathon with no running experience; he just wanted to teach his son about overcoming challenges. More than five years later, Arun is still running. And each year, he commits himself to a different running goal — for example, in 2018, he took up barefoot running — to show himself and others what’s possible when you push past your limitations. Another challenge involved completing six marathons in six months at the end of 2020.
7. Terri Biloski ran 1000-kilometers in 11 days
Like Peter, Terri was looking for a challenge in 2020. As a running coach, prior to the pandemic she spent most of her days running and connecting with other runners. So she also signed up for the GRVAT with the hope of completing it in 10 days. Though she didn’t quite make that goal, she was the first runner to finish!
8. Brianna Lawson runs to help her rescue dog
Brianna wasn’t a runner, though she’d tried many times to get into the sport. It wasn’t until her parents adopted a dog that Brianna began to find joy in running. Goldie, the dog, had been rescued from dogfighting, and Brianna found that taking her for runs helped Goldie overcome her trauma. Now the two regularly run together, and Brianna has kept up the habit for more than three years.
Whatever your running goals are for this year, you can accomplish anything you set your mind — and your feet — to!