Today we're shining a spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon SoleMate, Jordan Zimmerman! Jordan will be running her third marathon for Girls on the Run NYC.
Why did you decide to be a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and fundraise for Girls on the Run?
I have been a runner for years and have always admired the drive and dedication of my many friends who not only ran long distances, but put their money where their miles were to support something they truly believed in. Two years ago, I joined my current company, Edrington Americas. We might sell booze for a living (Scotch whisky, mostly), but the truth of the matter is that Edrington is owned by the Robertson Trust, Scotland’s largest charitable trust—which trickles down to me in the form of available annual double-matching for funds raised for a charitable cause. My CEO constantly drives home the mantra, “Find your why.” It didn’t take long for me to ask myself, “Why aren’t you taking advantage of this amazing professional perk to help others? You already know your why.”
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
Girls on the Run is a celebration of the strength, self-confidence, and self-worth that a supportive and active community can build. I spent my formative years in a community focused on female aesthetics, and I internalized the pressures to be “perfect” in a way that led me down a dark path of depression, eating disorders, and a number of other challenges. Running is different—it shows that regardless of race, ethnicity, shape, size, income, or cultural background, as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we all cross the same finish line. I now consider New York City my adopted home, and I want to help show every young girl in this city that she, too, has intrinsic value and self-worth. Girls on the Run is an amazingly powerful tool to make that happen. I can’t wait to cross the finish line in their name.
Is this your first marathon? If no, how many have you run?
This will be my third marathon. I ran New York last year (my first) and am about to embark on my second in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. [Editor's note: Have a great run in Chicago this weekend!]
Favorite place to run?
I have two answers here: The first is here in my (adopted) home borough of Brooklyn—the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise. It’s calm, peaceful, and relatively solitary, which makes passing a fellow runner that much more meaningful. I’ve given many early morning high-fives to running strangers, as well as found myself profoundly moved by the most beautiful bird-eye views of sunrises over what I truly believe to be the best city in the world. The second answer? The gravel roads of the Scottish highlands. Just dairy cows, sheep, and the occasional whisky distillery. Trail shoes required.
Favorite time of day to run?
First thing in the morning! I need to pound the pavement to clear the grog and set myself up for a focused, successful day ahead. And hey, let’s face it: I work in the liquor industry, so I’ve most likely had a dram or two by 6PM. While I’m sure it’s possible to put in the miles post-cocktail, I’m not sure they’d be the most coordinated.
Favorite post-run snack/meal?
Because I work out in the morning, I relish in coming home to the perfect, and perfectly complicated, protein shake. We’re talking organic whey protein, maca root powder, camu camu, hydrolyzed collagen, MCT oil, and sea salt, among other things depending on my mood. I find it really important to reward myself with food that truly rewards my body. But, when I want to throw that all out the window after a double-digit day, let’s be honest: chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for the win.
Favorite running accessory?
Over the ear headphones. I have no desire to run without strong bass and a good downbeat. Friends always ask me how I stick to a desired pace. The answer is that I specifically (okay, okay, obsessively) curate my running playlists based on beats per minute. When the carb-loading, foam rolling, and fuelling strategies fail, the steady beat gives me the support I need to power through.
Favorite pump-up running song?
That’s so difficult! Top few at the moment are "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes, "The Way You Used to Do" by Queens of the Stone Age, "Remember the Name" by Fort Minor, "Everything is Everything" by Lauryn Hill.
Group or solo run?
Solo. Although the thrill of seeing a friend and receiving a word of encouragement along the course is invaluable.
What shoes do you run in?
Saucony ISO Triumph. C/D width, and 2 sizes larger than my normal shoes. I finally found the winning formula! Function over fashion.
When you get tired, what makes you keep running?
Again, music is an important part of my life and is important to my steady pace and ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Psychologically, though, it’s this mantra: “You’ve never regretted a run you’ve taken. Only those you’ve never started nor finished.”
Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I was never a runner in high school or college, preferring the competitive cheerleading route (yes, really, Texas will do that to you). I only started running after I began dating someone who was a runner himself. I’ll never forget having the amazing opportunity to see him cross the finish line of the TCS NYC Marathon from the grandstand, alongside thousands of other runners from so many walks of life. I remember thinking to myself, “I want to be a part of this.” A few years, and many walking boots later, I now think, “This is where I belong.”
What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
I attend SoulCycle in Brooklyn Heights one a week (it’s a workout disguised as a dance party! Need I say more?), as well as discovered Crossfit this past year. My Crossfit community humbles, challenges, and supports me in ways I never imagined another sport than running could. Outside of working out, I eat a mostly plant-based diet (pizza is mostly plants, by the way) and commit to 1-2 massages and visits to the acupuncturist per month. On top of that, I give long run days to myself. How do I want to celebrate my achievement? Sometimes, that’s a quiet, sunny afternoon with a book and a good bottle of rose on my roof deck. Other times, that’s a bar crawl and a live music show with friends. Either way, it’s about being kind enough to myself to listen and act upon what I’d truly prefer.
Any other fun facts you want to share?
I spent close to 5 years working in the artisanal cheese business, have three wines & spirits certifications, and a license as a professional beer server. Just like running, the hospitality industry is a true passion of mine—and I’m always down to throw a good cocktail party! Now, how do we turn that into a fundraiser…?
What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
You are strong. You are unique. You are capable of achieving anything you wish to achieve. And if you ever doubt yourself, please find me. I’ll remind you of your awesome power not only to achieve, but to inspire.
Any fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates?
Don’t be afraid to share your story and your fundraising journey with those outside of your immediate running community. While it may feel daunting, I’ve received so much positive feedback from friends, colleagues, and even barely acquaintances who felt inspired to give—and some even to run—simply because I was willing and able to be vulnerable. With the extreme grit and tenacity it takes to train for and run a marathon, I feel we runners often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability can be one of the truest signs of strength and celebration of one’s self-worth. If that’s not a nod to the mission of Girls on the Run, I don’t know what is.
Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Jordan! If you want to donate to Jordan's fundraising efforts, click here. You can also follow Jordan's journey to the marathon via Twitter - @jzimmerman_tx & Instagram - @jzimmerman_tx.