Today we feature Sarah McKetta, a SoleMate for the 2015 NYC Marathon!
What motivated you to run in the NYC Marathon this year?
The NYC marathon is like a love letter to the city: it goes though all five boroughs, and it does so much to bring awareness to philanthropic efforts in the city. Running the marathon is a celebration of this space and this community. I love running it.
On top of the sheer enjoyment of the marathon itself, it’s really gratifying to know that I’m working towards a goal that is both personally challenging and also has the capacity to help people. Raising funds for Girls on the Run has infused this process with so much meaning that the marathon has been made uniquely special.
How has running been a part of your life?
I started running with my mom when I was a little girl. I hated it! It was so hard, and it felt like it took me so long to see any progress. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started really committing to running—at this point I realized it wasn’t just a physical activity, but a mental activity. It’s an opportunity to set goals against myself, to reflect, to have a private moment, and to meditate. As I began running for reasons unrelated to fitness, I found it increasingly rewarding, and only then did I begin to start thinking about running in races or training for long distances.
A major component of loving running has been this mental part. Being a runner so long has really built my confidence—on days, for example, where it feels like I’m doing poor work or having trouble in my personal life, I can find solace in a run and I can know that I’m fostering a different kind of strength. This is one of the reasons I was so attracted to GOTR. I think teaching young women how to be physically strong is a really important scaffold for emotional strength-building.
Why did you choose to support Girls on the Run?
I first heard about Girls on the Run through a friend who used to volunteer for them. The mission resonated with me so completely.
I’m so aware that one of the ways that I am privileged is that I grew up exercising, with mentors who could teach me how to do it and motivate me, and I lived in a safe city where I could run outside. Creating spaces for young women to learn how rewarding exercise can be is nourishing in so many ways—it fosters emotional strength, it promotes goal-setting, and it creates lifetime healthy habits. I think that women’s strength is rarely emphasized—when we talk about women’s bodies, we talk about what they look like but not the amazing things they have the capacity to do—to lift, to run, to jump, to swim. Girls on the Run understands the deep connection between physical strength and mental strength, and I’m honored to get to have any part in this organization.
What is your favorite running accessory?
WIRELESS BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES have CHANGED ME.
What is your favorite run in NYC?
I love running downtown along the Hudson in the evening. There’s something so fresh and crisp about seeing the sunset over the boats. I’ve always found a lot of peace when I run next to water—around a pond, by a lake, down the river—and so I think that’s a major part of my loving that run in particular. I also really relish running around Central Park reservoir late late at night, like right before the park closes, when I have the place to myself and I can look at all the lights on the water.
"Running was an essential component to building not only my physical but also my emotional strength. It shaped my confidence, compassion, and character."
Thank you, Sarah!
You can support Sarah in her fundraising efforts by visiting her online fundraising campaign page here: www.raceplanner.com/donate/Sarah-McKetta