Emma Baranowski - Gazelle Sports Activator

I am going to start off by saying that I am a "back of the pack" person. I am usually in the last part of the finishers for a race. I probably will never win a race or an age group prize (unless you consider last a winner). BUT I can tell you that I am a runner. Why? Forward is a pace. I will repeat that again: Forward is a Pace. 
Many times we think that runners have to be fast, fit, and "elite". I am here to tell you that they do not need to be; and they aren't. 
I joined a training program with Gazelle Sports over 5 years ago because I signed up for the Warrior Dash with some friends and I did not want to make a fool out of myself. I STRUGGLED the first few months. I could not run for 3 minutes straight. I was absolutely defeated because I could not keep up with anyone nor run that long. I seriously questioned what I was doing there. 
I then read about run/walk and started running for 60 seconds and walking for 30 seconds for an entire distance... and I did it! I still was in the back of the pack, but I was doing it! I was running! I finally found my groove and ran a few races (including a marathon) like this. During this time I also teamed up with others who were struggling and we made our own little "pack" in our group. We would run/walk together. We did races together. We encouraged each other and had fun in the process. 
Today I still run/walk and I am still at the back of the pack. But I am moving forward and that is what matters. I love being out in the community to cheer others on, no matter where they are in their running journey. Seeing others run that first mile without stopping, or completing their first 5k, or making the 2 hour club for Riverbank - that brings me joy.  Helping, encouraging, and supporting others on their journey is what inspires me and keeps me coming back.