Thursday, April 30, 2009

'How I became a serious runner'

Don't forget: "Running the Sahara" -- a documentary about three men who set out to run across the Sahara Desert to raise awareness of the need for safe, fresh water in Africa -- is getting a special screening at 7:45 tonight at Ballantyne Village Theatre.

(One of the runners featured, Greensboro's Charlie Engle, will speak afterward and take questions. He was profiled Wednesday in a great story by Observer staff writer Lawrence Toppman; to read it, click here.)

In attendance tonight will be Rachel Korrin Williams, who last week was selected by random drawing to win a pair of "Running the Sahara" tickets after sharing her personal story about the longest distance she's ever run.

Here's what the 24-year-old Belmont resident wrote in her e-mail:

Well, I have not run a great LONG distance per se, but this is nonetheless a great personal triumph:

I've never been very athletic, never played sports in school, or even gave track and field a fleeting thought. But I started jogging three or four years ago, and in the past three months, I've run three 5Ks. I now love jogging so much I can't get enough of it.

Anyway, I'm a waitress, and I usually get 2-1/2 hours between a lunch and dinner shift. So one day, on my break, I decided to try to run five miles around the track at the gym. The most I had run prior to that was 1-1/2, 2 miles. I threw on my iPod, cranked it up, and took it really slow so as not to exhaust myself -- and I completed five miles!

I was SO proud. I went back to work and told everyone. I was absolutely giddy! (That is until my legs became SO sore later on that evening -- a good kind of sore, though.)

Before I started running, I never felt like I was truly a part of something, but now I feel so much pride when I'm out jogging and another jogger and I exchange waves, or when I pick up my race packet at Run For Your Life, or when I get to mention, "Yeah, I went for a lovely jog the other day."

So yeah, the longest I've jogged is five miles, and yeah, it was only around a crummy gym track, but it was a pivotal turning point in my running career -- at that moment, I became a serious runner.

I can't wait until I can run seven miles, or 10 or 13! My goal is to eventually run a full marathon!
When did YOU realize you had become a serious runner? Shoot an e-mail to me at