SoleMate Spotlight: Ryann Jones

Ryann Jones, a Girls on the Run NYC coach and 2015 NYC Marathon SoleMate, is next to be featured in our Spotlight! Ryann, originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania - a 10-minute drive from Scranton, which is home of The Office :) - is an avid reader and halfway through her goal of reading 30 books by the end of the year. Outside of Girls on the Run, Ryann spends a lot of her time writing, as she is a journalist, and also loves walking in Prospect Park with her husband and their dog. Ryann has been involved with Girls on the Run for three season as a running buddy, substitute coach, a SoleMate, and an Assistant Coach. Thanks so very much for your dedication, Ryann!!!

How did you get involved with Girls on the Run? How did you hear about us?
One of my close friends (Torey Van Oot) had signed up to be a running buddy and suggested I sign up as well. I had so much fun at the 5K, I decided to fit coaching responsibilities into my schedule. I was an Assistant Coach last season.

What inspires you about working with Girls on the Run NYC?
I was consistently blown away by the level of understanding and insight that the girls brought to our discussions. They struck a perfect balance of maturity and silliness that made me look forward to our practices. I was also inspired by the progression of their athletic abilities as the season went on. Girls that were offering any and every excuse to get out of running at the beginning of the season were begging us to let them run “just one more lap” by the end!

What do you most enjoy about volunteering a Girls on the Run Coach?
The girls made me laugh so much. Every Tuesday, I’d look forward to practice because I knew I was bound to hear some great stories, jokes, and riddles from the girls (they liked to tease me because I'm terrible at figuring out riddles!). I loved talking with them about school, their friends, their families, and their pets.

As a Coach for Girls on the Run, what is your favorite moment of the season?
I think my overall favorite moment was our practice 5K. Prior to the practice 5K, I think some of the girls doubted they could finish a 3.1 mile run. I was so proud to see each girl give it her all. The girls who had already finished stood at the finish line to cheer on those who were still running. I could tell by the end of the practice 5K each girl felt confident they’d be able to complete the end-of-season race.

What motivated you to run the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon as a SoleMate?
I’ve been a coach and running buddy for the past few seasons, so I’ve experienced first-hand the positive influence the Girls on the Run program has on young girls in New York City. I wanted to run the marathon with a charity partner because I train best when I’m being held accountable, and there was no question that Girls on the Run NYC would be that charity partner!

I’m a relatively new transplant to New York City. My husband and I moved here two years ago. But I grew up only a couple hours away in Pennsylvania and visited the city often. It’s been a dream of mine to live in NYC since my first visit in fifth grade, and we plan on making the city our permanent home. That’s why I am so happy to coach my team  – several of the girls are my neighbors and it feels great to help make a positive impact in my neighborhood.

What inspires you about working with Girls on the Run?
The girls! I’m so proud of them. While they definitely improved their fitness throughout the 12 weeks, they also improved their confidence and teamwork skills. I was so touched to see the girls cheering each other on at our practice 5k.

How does training for this race relate to the Girls on the Run program?
I wrote this on my fundraising page: “I know I am in for a challenge, but in the spirit of Girls on the Run, I believe in myself and know I can accomplish my goal with determination and hard work.”

Running this marathon will definitely be a challenge. In October 2010, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. I fractured my tibia and tore ligaments in my right knee. I’ve had several reconstructive surgeries on my leg since then. I was not very athletic before the accident but I was so bummed out during my long rehab, I promised myself that once I made a full recovery I would not take my mobility or fitness for granted ever again. Once I got the OK from my surgeons and physical therapists, I started to run. That was about two years ago.

Completing the marathon is my ultimate goal – it’s something I never imagined I could do, even before the accident. And I think the Girls on the Run program, at its heart, is about having the confidence to complete unimaginable goals.

What is your favorite part about being a SoleMate?
Everyone’s so friendly and it feels great to be part of a group working toward the same goal.

What is your favorite running accessory?
My Garmin watch – it makes pacing so much easier!

Thank you, Ryann! You can support Ryann in her fundraising efforts by visiting her online campaign page here: