My favorite part about running is the ability to set goals for yourself, and the best way to achieve any running goal is with the help of others! That is the thing that I love most about our running community here in West Michigan. Everyone is so supportive of one another and there are so many opportunities for group runs and events. That is the reason why I chose to be a pacer for Gazelle Girl for the first time in 2019.

I had been a runner since my high school track and field days, but after spending time running and training alone in college, I started to miss the feeling of being on a team and sharing miles with friends. I made the decision to start attending group trail runs with Egress Endurance, a local running company based in Holland, Michigan. The mission of Egress is to help others face adversities through running.

At the time, I was new to trail running, I was tired of training alone for big races, and I wanted to run for a reason bigger than myself. I was able to meet so many amazing people through Egress, and I later joined their team as an event coordinator and group run leader. I have been a member of the team for the last 2 years, and I have seen runners crush huge goals at our races, including first marathons and ultra-marathons.

Seeing so many runners achieve their goals through Egress has been a truly inspiring experience for me, and I knew I wanted to be involved in more opportunities to help others. That is when I applied to be a pacer for Gazelle Girl! I was part of the 9-minute mile group in 2019, and so many of the ladies who ran with us were able to hit their goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon.

This race was the most rewarding run of my life, so much more than any race I have ever done on my own. I remember cheering so hard for the ladies in our group and crying with my fellow pacers at the finish line. We were so proud and overjoyed for our runners, and it was amazing to see them work so hard and achieve a goal that meant so much to them. Nothing beats that feeling – and I am so excited and honored to pace again for 2020. I look forward to meeting you all!