Identifying your “why” is crucial. Running’s not easy — we know this — but reminding yourself of what drove you to lace up in the first place and staying focused on your goals will push you toward success. For Vanessa, a certified run coach and founder of VCPM, Inc., a business dedicated to empowering women through running, hitting the pavement has made her a stronger person inside and out. “Running has given me the chance to amplify my voice,” she told us. “Not only the voice I share with the world but the voice I hear the loudest — my own. I hadn’t realized there was a fierceness to who I am at my core, but seeing yourself go from one mile to 26.2 miles just because you said you could is so transformative.”

Applying the lessons she’s learned from running into other aspects of her life, Vanessa has watched herself become a fearless individual — someone who embraces challenges and builds others up. “I’ve been able to free myself of definitions and measurements that I was using as gauges without realizing they were merely devices for holding me back,” she explained. “Most importantly, through running, I’ve strengthened the most powerful muscle we have — my mind. And that has empowered me to find my own power within.”

Running is all about the challenge for Maggie, an avid runner, two-time marathoner, and run club member. “Every run has a goal,” she told us. “Whether it’s a mental goal or a physical goal, by the end of the run, you have completed it. Knowing that you’ve accomplished something gives you confidence that you can carry with you into the rest of your day.”

And like Vanessa, Maggie too has seen running transform her into a powerful, more capable version of herself. “Running taught me to be strong even in moments that I doubted myself,” she said. “No matter how tough, painful, or mentally draining a run may be, at the end, I always feel like a stronger version of myself.”

After battling lupus in her early 20s, it’s running that has helped Mireille, a public health professional, take her health back. Since then, running has become an integral part of her recovery and she’s completed eight marathons and trains with various run clubs in LA. “When I run, I feel proud of myself,” Mireille told us. “To run is to choose yourself, your health, and your goals over and over. When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I felt unstoppable.”

Aside from personal growth, Mireille also loves that running can be a vehicle for change. “I’ve seen so many individuals run as a way to raise awareness about issues that are dear to them,” she explained. “Running is a language that many of us understand, and when we continue to run for something bigger than us, we speak change into existence.”

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