Local athletes who were once too intimidated to run are finding a new sense of community.
Some feared they didn’t ‘look’ the part.
Fleet Feet No Boundaries 2 coach Tara Frame hears that often but emphasizes everyone is welcome.
“You don’t have to be in tip top shape to run. You’re not competing against anybody but yourself,” Frame said.
Perhaps that also means your own judgments.
“I’ve always been a plus size person, so I always thought that I didn’t look like your average runner, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be fast enough to be a part of a run group,” Sarah Hampton said.
Hampton put all that aside more than two years ago.
Since then, she has run her first half-marathon and multiple 5k races.
Hampton documents her journey on social media, hoping someone else will follow her footsteps.
“I randomly came across this woman in Target last year and she goes, ‘I follow you on Instagram. You’re the reason why I run,’” Hampton said.
She is now the ambassador for the No Boundaries 2 team, which is a role that includes motivating fellow teammates to keep going.
Along with runners of various body types feeling embraced, Frame says she is seeing older people getting interested in the sport.
“It was later in life just a few years ago where I wanted to keep young, keep strong. Who knew that I would need it? Who knew that I would need it later on? Really need it,” said Suzanne Bahr, a stage 3 colon cancer survivor.
“There are definitely a variety of shapes and sizes out on the course, and it makes it more comforting to know that I’m not the only one who’s running a 15-minute mile anymore,” Hampton said.