Monthly Archives: February 2012

Who Helps Me Run Inspired?

So, I guess it’s obvious that I have become busy with grad work and regular work, huh? I was on a roll there for a while and then I had NO spare time for blogging anymore! I started this post after watching the Olympic Trials Marathon (3 weeks ago) when I was feeling inspired by all the amazing runners. I began thinking about all the runners that have motivated me along the way. My blog is called Run Inspired for a reason after all!

Bart Yasso

If you’re reading this blog chances are you know who Bart Yasso is. He’s well-known in the running community and is Runner’s World’s Chief Running Officer. He’s done crazy things, like run a marathon on all 7 continents, cycle unsupported across the United States, and MUCH more. He wrote about his adventures in one of my favorite books, My Life On The Run. He also is the inventor of Yasso 800s, which are one of my favorite speed training workouts that helped me get my PR of 4:00:04. He’s also battled alcohol problems when he was younger and continues to fight agains Lyme Disease to this day. When I went to the New York City Marathon Expo I was able to meet him, which was so exciting for me! I was starstruck talking to him. He’s so sweet, friendly, and encouraging. He signed a copy of Runner’s World that had an article about him in it, and wrote, “Never limit where running can take you.” It’s hanging in our running/sports room and is a great reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to!

Dean Karnazes


Oh Dean. He is seriously some kind of machine, not human. He is a well-known ultra-marathoner who has a list of accomplishments longer than any other runner probably. He has ran “relays” of over 100 miles alone without a team, in 2006 he ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days, and this past summer he ran across America from California to New York to inspire Americans to get off the couch and get back in shape. He has ran and won the most challenging ultra-marathons in the world including Badwater in Death Valley- 135 miles in temperatures up to 130 degrees. He once ran on a treadmill in Times Square for 24 hours straight.  I could go on and on. He has a true love for running that is contagious. I read his books and I just want to get up and run. I hope I get to meet him someday!

Kara Goucher


Kara Goucher should probably be first on this list. I just think she is so inspiring and has so much heart. She began as a very successful track runner, made it to the Beijing Olympics, and then stepped up to the marathon distance in 2008. Her first was New York where she finished in third place, then Boston in 2009 where she also finished in third. She took a break from racing in 2010 to have a baby and ran throughout her entire pregnancy. Then in 2011 she made an amazing comeback, first running Boston again and getting a PR less than 7 months after giving birth. Then she finished in third place at the Olympic Trials Marathon this past January and earned her spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. I also love how open and honest Kara is on her blog. She puts it all out there and gives her fans a window inside her feelings and thoughts. She wants to show us she’s not perfect and she has struggles too, especially when it comes to feeling confident in her running. This is what makes her so relatable to runners everywhere, even though she is much faster than us all!

Shalane Flanagan


Shalane is another amazing elite runner. She won Bronze in the 2008 Olympics and holds the American record at the 3K, 5K, and 10K distances. Like Kara, she is fairly new to the marathon distance but seems to be a natural at running 26.2.  She has proven to be fearless, and she loves proving her doubters wrong. She ran her debut marathon in New York when I ran the race there in 2010 and won second place. She was just about 2 hours ahead of me 🙂 Then in her second marathon ever, she won first place in the Olympic Trials Marathon this past January. Watching her and the other top finishers (Kara and Desiree Davila) had me in tears. These women are so strong and fearless. It’s so inspiring to see them run!

Ben Davis

Ben’s 120 Pound Journey video on Youtube makes me cry everytime. If you aren’t familiar with this video, stop reading and go watch it right now. Then get some tissues to dry your eyes. He has an amazing and inspiring story that is a great reminder that ANYONE, ANYONE can be a runner. No excuses. After his video gained in popularity he started a movement with the catchphrase “DO LIFE” and it sends a powerful message. You can also check out his blog for more information about him and what he’s doing now.  He was also on the cover of the December 2011 issue of Runner’s World.

Suleiman Rifai

Suleiman is my good friend Hani’s uncle, who is affectionately and appropriately called “Uncle” by many people who know him. Ever since I met Hani when I moved to Virginia she would tell me stories about him and how he was doing amazing things – running marathons, qualifying for and running Boston, doing the Empire State Building Run Up and a cycling event in New York City where he lives. What makes these accomplishments even more amazing is that Suleiman is blind. He runs with Achilles International, which is a group that helps people with various disabilities train and participate in athletic events. Uncle trains for his races with a guide who is attached to him by a rope, and then they run the races together. I was able to meet Uncle when I went with Hani to NYC to watch the 2009 marathon to see him and her father run.

Suleiman is the runner in red on the left

After that weekend I knew I had to run the New York City Marathon the next year. And I did! Uncle did too, and he beat me by more than 20 minutes 🙂 When talking to him he is very modest about his accomplishments and would probably laugh if he saw that I put him on my list of runners that inspire me. But that’s part of the reason why he’s great! Runner’s World has even done a little article on him back in the July 2010 issue. Does it get any more inspiring than that? I don’t think so.

Who are some of your running idols? I could go on listing more, but these are my top 6 🙂