Maybe you’ve already heard about our flagship challenge, Run The Year, and maybe this is your first time coming across it. Either way, you deserve to know what you’re getting into! We think it’s a pretty awesome challenge, but we asked a few of our participants to weigh in on how Run The Year has affected their lives.
Don’t take our word for it! See what the people have to say…
Everyone comes to Run The Year differently. Some are referred by a friend, others stumble across us by accident, and still others go looking for a challenge like this. On purpose! How did some of our people find us?
“It has been so long I am not even sure how I first discovered the Run The Year project. I know at the time I was part of a group that was trying to do 500 miles in a year and when I saw 2,016 miles in 2016, I thought why not try a bigger goal?”
“How did I discover RTY? This is my 5th year. I can honestly say, I stumbled across it.”
“I found Run the Year in 2014, when I came across Run The Edge’s Hug a Runner Challenge. I had just started running again (or trying to anyway). When I received the email about doing Run the Year I thought it would be fun. I really liked how friendly and funny the Run the Edge team was, and the Facebook group for Hug a Runner was so encouraging that I thought it would be great motivation for 2015. It was, and it has been every year since.”
Once they find Run The Year, our participants are inspired to rise to the challenge in the first place for very different reasons. Many have even come back to it to take it on more than once! Sometimes the challenge itself draws them back, but for others, it is the community and connections fostered over the year!
“I wanted to try it because I had already signed up for my first marathon - it was set to be the Rock N Roll Marathon in Nashville this year! I was starting to feel like, "Hey, I am a runner! I can do this!" I wanted the challenge and the community and the sense of accomplishment. I was developing such a sense of pride in learning that I am capable of so much more than I thought.”
“I enjoy the Facebook group. I’ve made some friends through it and I’ve had the privilege to meet some of them in person at races. I learn a lot from the other people in the group. The other participants get running (or walking). They cheer you on no matter how fast or how slow you are. When my “regular” family and friends are tired of me talking about mileage or races my Run the Year family gets me. I also love the Run The Edge team. They are so supportive and funny and they really care about the participants and want to make a difference in people’s lives.”
The challenge has come to mean many things to many of our participants, no matter how long they’ve been doing it— it can be a very personal journey for each individual! It asks the same thing of each person: to run or walk a certain number of miles within one year. But it challenges each of us in very different ways!
"This challenge means I can do anything. Truly. It has shown me that even with two high needs kids, as a single mom, while working 50+ hours, I can STILL do anything. And I CAN prioritize self-care."
“To me, this challenge means getting out, staying healthy, and trying to stay positive in a world that is so negative right now. I am lucky enough to have a huge support system at home during this uncertain time, but I know a lot of people don't have that. I love that we all have a place to come and feel safe sharing our fears about the state of the world, our disappointment about all of our races being cancelled, our everyday struggles just to stay positive. It is such a mental thing when there are less and less things to do and more things keep getting taken away from us. Doing this challenge gives me a sense of purpose, the other people in the group motivate and inspire me, and it helps me stay healthy mentally and physically.”
A year might not seem like a very long time, but a lot can change! We have had front row seats to proof of that in 2020… Even in less chaotic eras, a year of doing something different (such as taking on a daunting challenge) could spur a surprising transformation in 365 days! We asked out participants how they felt at the beginning of the challenge versus now…
“The biggest change I have noticed is that I am more ready to “walk” to a destination than even drive. I am an associate pastor who lives just over 4 miles from church. Because of my ability to track my road mileage and be encouraged by it, I walk every day that the weather lets me!”
“I used to care about pace. Now, I care about the finish.”
“I have actually had some big changes in the past few months. When I started this in January, I was running, walking, etc. but I really didn't have a plan. In February I went to the doctor and I was told my cholesterol was high, I was overweight, my sugar was high and I needed to start eating better. I was already exercising but that was not enough. I started going to the gym, eating better and trying to stay healthy. Then the pandemic hit, things started being cancelled left and right and I was starting to get really down. I decided to really throw myself into this challenge, the streaker challenges, and the Un-Cancelled Project. I started to love signing up for virtual races and loved seeing my miles add up in the Run The Year tracker. I started signing up for more and more virtual races so I could try to increase my miles every month. Since February, since I really started to take this challenge seriously, I am down 40 pounds, my cholesterol and all of my other numbers are way down and more importantly my mental health is so much better having something to look forward to every day.”
“Changes have been most obvious in my mindset and how I view myself. If I keep pushing and keep being humble and willing to be the man in the arena getting my butt kicked, then I am unstoppable. I didn't used to believe that about myself. Others believed it and communicated it to me but now, I believe it too and that has inspired me to do more and work harder than I thought I was capable of. Other changes are of course in my body, which I LOVE! I have my 20s body back! What the heck?! How did that even happen!”
“The message. The thing that drives me - You were created for purpose - and you can do SO MUCH MORE than you believe. If I can, anyone can. You just have to start. You have to take the first step. And then go. Stop thinking about why you can't. Everybody's got reasons they can't. That's such an irrelevant mindset! If there's something you want, be willing to work hard and do not quit. If you quit too soon, you miss the miracle - if you quit too soon, you miss your whole journey. Take the leap!”
“The only competition you have is the one in your head.”
“I think even if anyone is doing this just for mileage, they will realize that is so much more than just tracking miles on a page. The sense of community, the no judgement, the positive atmosphere of the group, like minded people sharing all different goals is the main reason I keep coming back. I hear a lot "there is no better cheerleader that a running friend you have never met" and I think that is exactly what this challenge is all about.”
“The Run the Edge team really works to bring joy and fulfillment to its participants. They are always looking at how to make things better and more fun; how they can make a bigger difference in the world.”