Whether you are a marathon runner or enjoy a casual 5K every now and then, Philly is a great city filled with tons of support and encouragement in your running endeavors. When first I moved up here, I was afraid I would lose my motivation and all the hard work I’ve put into training. I quickly found out how wrong I was.
As someone who has a brother with Down’s syndrome, I am always looking for ways in my community to get involved, spread awareness, and work towards inclusion of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In high school, my favorite teacher and “sole” sister connected my passion for running with my love for my brother by introducing me to one of the most amazing organizations out there, Athletes Serving Athletes, aka ASA. It’s a running and multi-sport organization that allows a range of athletes to use their abilities to support those living with a disability, giving everyone the opportunity to cross the finish line at a multitude of events.
The love that encompasses the ASA community of athletes is contagious. They are fabulous, loving, selfless people who give their legs, lungs, and hearts to these individuals with disabilities (our athletes) so they can participate in mainstream races and cross the finish line.
From 3 miles to 13 and beyond, passion truly has no limits. I couldn’t just stop at 13 miles, I wanted to share the magic with more people. And so, when I began my first year at Temple, I made it my goal to spread Athletes Serving Athletes out of its central serving and originating area of Maryland and into Philadelphia. We were successful because on November 19, 2016, I was able to captain the first ASA team to race in Philly, which is now paving the way for many more races. As the tentative 2017 race schedule, has rolled out, Philly makes it appearance a couple of times– Love Run Half, the Blue Cross Broad Street Run, and the Philadelphia Half Marathon and Marathon!
In addition to Athletes Serving Athletes, there are many other running groups in Philly with causes of their own.
- Back On My Feet runs to revolutionize the way our society sees homelessness, with the idea to use running to boost confidence and self-esteem to set people out on the road to work towards new lives.
- The Monster Milers runs with adoptable dogs at partnering shelters to expose the dog to the community and relieve their shelter stress while they wait for their forever home.
By joining a running group, you gain a lot of things—automatic accountability, running buddies, a challenge, but my favorite thing about it is, you gain a family. My home away from home is racing with Athletes Serving Athletes. The longer I go and the more tired my legs get, my heart fills with love and happiness. Becoming a runner with Athletes Serving Athletes was hands down the best thing I have ever done and I want the runners of Philly to get the chance to experience that.