Name: Molly H-M
Where I Run: South Dakota
Who I Run With: Pierre Area Run Club
Favorite Race: Half Marathon
When did you first start running?: I’m not entirely sure when I first started running. I was always involved in sports growing up and one of my favorite days in elementary school was Track & Field Day. At the time, I thought I wanted to be a sprinter, but that’s probably because 100m was the “long distance” race for 2nd graders and all of the famous runners who looked like me ran sprints. When I played soccer, I was one of the younger girls on the team. Some of the older girls got to middle school and started running cross country. When I heard them talking about it, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I ran my first cross country race in the fall of 2000 and have loved running distance ever since.
Why do you run?: I don’t know that there’s just one reason that I run. I run for my health, for sure. I have a history of heart disease and diabetes in my family, so want to combat that as much as possible. I love the way running makes me feel, the strength in my legs, the burning in my lungs, the runner’s high (endorphins). There’s nothing else like it.
Who is/are your running role model(s)?: Shalene Flanagan is definitely on my list. She’s a fellow Tar Heel, an Olympian, published cookbook author, and just an all-around beast out there on the road. My cross country coach from high school, LeAnn Vette is probably my biggest running role model. I’ve known her since I was very young, and even 10+ years after my last high school cross country race she’s still providing support and encouragement.
Advice for anybody looking to start running: Don’t think that you need to be an elite to consider yourself a runner. If you’re out there putting one foot in front of the other, be it on the road, the trail, or a treadmill, you are a runner. Also, don’t feel like you need to be able to go out and run a 5k or half marathon on your first day. It takes time to build a base safely and without injury. You’ll get there.