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Running / July 2020
Danielle Rines, Reebok Editorial

How Runners From Around the World Fell in Love with Running

Thinking of becoming a runner? This global community of runners will convert you. From long-lasting bonds to life lessons, running has changed their lives and it can change yours too.

There’s a running boom happening right now. Since social distancing became mandatory and lock downs put in place, the amount of people pounding the pavement has significantly increased. If you’re considering becoming a runner or if you’ve just started running as a way to stay active during this time, you likely already know the benefits of running. From better sleep to improved cardiovascular health, running is a great way to keep your whole body healthy and fit. Many people are also taking up running as a way to mentally escape from the stresses of the day and the current environment. Running is a unique way to decompress and give yourself time to focus on you. 
If you’re still not sure running is the activity for you, there are many people who praise running for getting them to where they are in life. So, to help your running research Reebok checked in with some runners who have been at it for a while. While wearing Reebok’s Forever Floatride 2.0, runners from across the globe shared what sparked their interest in running and the important role it’s played in their lives. Their stories show how universal running can be and how it connects people to one another. From track clubs to family connections, no one story is alike. But, at the center they all have one thing in common: a passion for the sport. While many started running early on in life, it doesn’t have to happen that way for everyone. There’s no better time than the present to take up a new challenge and explore something new. Check out how these runners got their starts and fell in love with running.

Jody Bragger 

Lives in: London, England
“I got into running when I was child as a way to explore. I grew up in the South Downs National Park and for me running was a way of connecting with my beautiful home. Since lockdown began, I have come back to the UK and have once again been exploring the hills and forests of rural England. I have run over 800km in my Forever Float Ride Energy, along country lanes, forest tracks and hill ridges. It has been the best way to keep mentally healthy during such a challenging time and, just like being a child again, I have reconnected with my home and it’s beautiful nature.” 

Kelly Dekoning

Lives in: Toronto, Canada
Social: @kellyadek
“I started running because of the community. My coach at the gym I attended had run the New York Marathon two years ago and we threw a big party to celebrate. After one too many beers, she convinced me to sign up for my very first 10k and I woke up with the registration receipt in my inbox. Without the push of my gym community, I would have never followed through with that commitment. Fast forward a few months later, with zero runs under my belt following that 10k, and Midnight Runners came into my life (again, after one too many beers). While I have always been active, I never thought I had it in me to become a runner. Surrounding myself with a community of people that push me to be better and encourage me when I don't believe in myself is the only reason I run consistently.”

Justyn Knight 

Lives in: Charlottesville, Virginia
Social: @justyn.knight
“My start to running was quite unique, rather than doing it for fun I had to do it to save my gym mark in school. I naturally gravitated to it, however I felt that I had something to prove, so I worked really hard to be top of my class. Little did I know after a short amount of time that I would make friendships that would last a lifetime. No longer was running for just myself, but for a team.”

Josette Norris 

Lives in: Charlottesville, Virginia
Social: @josettenorris 
"I ran my first race for my church team when I was only 8 years old and immediately fell in love with the sport and the competitiveness of running. Although I played every sport offered in my town, running ultimately afforded me opportunities I never imagined possible. It also introduced me to some of the most meaningful and long-lasting relationships in my life. Running has taught me many invaluable life lessons, including when things get tough, keep pushing forward and always believe in yourself." 

Gabriel Acheampong 

Lives in: Paris, France
Social: @sawyer92600
“When I was at school, I always liked to run faster than my classmates. I needed to get back into sport after my studies, so naturally I started running. At first I ran to keep fit and now I'm looking for performance! I have understood over the years that running is like life, you have to be patient and ambitious.”

Ivy Rosales Fuentes

Lives in: Barcelona, Spain
Social: @ivy_havefun 
“I got inspired to run by my father. I always remember him returning home relaxed and happy after running some kilometers, so I started to run with him. It was our moment to share time together. When I moved to Barcelona I missed that, but when I found Midnight Runners I felt like I had found a part of home again! I discovered there were crazier, fun, fit and amazing people that made me feel that passion and inspiration to run, share moments and be even happier.” 

Brian Wilson

Lives in: Boston, MA
Social: @brian27426
“I started running after college just as a way to keep healthy and fit.  Eventually, I signed up for my first race and fell in love with the competitive spirit of running, not only against other runners but mostly against myself. I love the challenge of always trying to improve and push myself beyond what I ever thought was possible. And after getting more involved in the running community and joining clubs like Midnight Runners, I’ve been lucky enough to find a whole new social network that helps inspire and motivate me to keep pushing even more.”

Nilam Patel

Lives in: New York City, New York
Social: @Nilam94 
“I trace my love for running back to my high school cross country team, where my coach introduced me to the beauty of trail running and the benefits of grounding yourself through a lifetime of running. So, when I swapped the trails of Long Island for the busy streets of NYC in college, I turned to the running community to find my sense of home and belonging as it’s always given me supportive friends to lace up my running shoes with.”

Joey Ta

Lives in: Los Angeles, California
Social: @thisisjoita
“I was looking for another challenge. And running is a challenge that continues to thrill and excite. I’m learning so much more about running as it is essential to performing better in obstacle course races, trail running, and endurance challenges.”

Sarah Doll

Lives in: Berlin, Germany
“I started running quite early when I joined the track and field club in my hometown at the age of 13. I have come a long way from originally racing 800m distance to running my first ultra-marathon at the end of last year. What hasn't changed is how running makes me feel: strong, energetic, free and at the same time connected with people from diverse backgrounds who share the same passion, challenges and excitement for running. After all these years, the community aspect is still the main driver that keeps me going, and I'm super lucky to be part of the best running crew in the world.”

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Running / July 2020
Danielle Rines, Reebok Editorial