Today we're shining a special spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon SoleMate, Stephanie Simpson! Stephanie is running her first 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 remember watching the NYC Marathon in 2015 and being so inspired by all the runners I saw and was like “I want to be one of them!” But at that time, I definitely didn’t have the confidence to step that far out of my comfort zone to try. Last year when I watched the marathon, again I felt this pull towards needing to run it and for some reason this time I was ready to embark on the journey. When researching different charities I could run for, I found GOTR and fell in love with it! I instantly felt a connection to what the young girls in the program go through as many of them, like me, are new to the running world. I also think it is so important to create safe spaces for our young girls so that they can be guided and supported into becoming strong, kind, and compassionate leaders and women.
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
To me, it’s a mindset that I hope we are share in this world. It’s so important to remind, hold space, and encourage our young girls that they can be whatever they want to be and to dream big. I love that GOTR not only believes that but also empowers these girls with tools that will serve them their whole lives.
Favorite place to run?
Central Park (though the hills can be brutal some days…haha)
Favorite time of day to run?
Favorite post-run snack/meal?
I love stopping at my friend’s coffee shop at the top of the park, shout out to Little Bean Coffee!! and getting a seasonal latte and an almond croissant. Then later…pizza!
Favorite running accessory?
I run with my mala bead and crystal bracelets. I truly believe that sometimes they give me the energy to make it through the long runs.
Favorite pump-up running song?
I’m a musical theatre dork …. So there are several songs from shows that just get me going. Currently, the Finale from “Come From Away” gives me new life during my long runs.
Group or solo run?
Usually solo run, though I do have a running partner that I enjoy running with and who has helped me become a much better runner over this past year.
When you get tired, what makes you keep running?
Remembering why I started running in the first place, that all the money friends and family have so generously donated is going to an amazing organization, and telling myself that I am stronger than I think.
Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I literally started running consistently on Nov 6, 2016. I tried running a few times over the past few years and I would always just stop for various reasons and excuses and I rarely ran outside. This past year has been life changing in so many ways. I have found a new love and respect for myself and my body and I have met some amazing people!
What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
I am a professional dancer/performer and I teach dance, musical theatre, and yoga. I also coach people privately on mental training and mindset in order to achieve their goals and live a healthy, balanced, and engaged life. I definitely practice what I preach and working with my clients this year has been such an amazing journey as I am working through many of the same challenges they are during this marathon training.
Any other fun facts you want to share?
Hmmmm….my favorite color is purple, I love to travel, and I used to play Cinderella at kids birthday parties to support myself as a performer when I lived in Los Angeles.
What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
Believe in yourself and the process. You are much stronger than you think. And above all…always have fun!
Any fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates?
I used social media a lot, posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook after long runs, sharing both the struggles and victories during my training. I also sent out personal emails to family, friends, and co-workers.
Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Stephanie! If you want to donate to Stephanie's fundraising efforts, click here. You can also follow Stephanie's journey to the marathon via Instagram - @stephanie.e.simpson and her website - stephanie-simpson.com.