AFH Photo // Aijanah Sanford
The vibrant month of September is packed with many marathons including the 2017 Boston 5K Summer Series on September 21st, the Freedom Trail Run on September 22nd-24th, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA Island Run on September 23rd. This offers a great opportunity for Boston teens to put their interest in running toward a good cause.
There are many different types of runners. Some run competitively, while others run for fun, exercise, or a way to de-stress. Running has no boundaries. Despite the differences, all runners share one thing in common: their passion and enthusiasm. 
You don’t have to be fast or have a reason to run competitively or casually because through practice, you’ll get better. Ebony Smith, a sophomore at Excel Academy Charter High School, reflected on her decision to become a runner. “I became a runner because when I was younger, I always wanted to race my sisters and cousins.”
Julie Biegner, an avid runner, says she has loved running for as long as she could remember. “It probably started when I was around six and it just became a part of my life.”
There are many different ways to start running competitively. You can join your school’s track team, join a fitness or athletic center at any gym, or go to a track field at a park.
Biegner switched to running as a form of training instead when she got older. “When I was around 16, I joined my high school track team. That changed the way I ran with more of a purpose, to build speed and endurance as opposed to just running for fun and for exercise.”
Smith started running competitively in the 7th grade when she decided she wanted to improve. “Running is special to me because it is one of the only few sports in which a ball, stick, hoop, or net is not required. It is purely up to my stamina.”
People run for their own purpose and satisfaction. Biegner says “Running is something that I can call my own, that I do just for me. Anytime I’ve faced a big decision or had uncertainties in my life, running has been a way for me to put it aside for a bit.”
Running casually and competitively differs because running a marathon, for example, requires greater stamina and endurance. Beigner says preparing for a marathon builds discipline and consistency. Smith would love to run in a marathon in the future. “After a marathon, I would want to feel like I improved the world or worked for a good cause.”
As someone who has run the Los Angeles Marathon in 2006 and the Boston Marathon in 2012, Biegner recommends that teens who want to run start by running around their neighborhood. “As a beginner, don’t worry so much about speed or distance, just get a taste for how your body feels when you’re running, and how you feel after.” Depending on your area, it could be challenging to find places to run, but Biegner recommends to run are along the Charles, a reservoir, or along a beach. “A good running location is anywhere you don’t have to worry about cars or traffic lights.”
Checking out some training programs and plans online allows for teens to develop ways to be successful for a marathon; including healthy diets, sleeping, and strength building. “The cool thing about running is that you can do it anywhere, anytime,” said Biegner. “You don’t need any special equipment. Just some shoes and maybe a good music playlist.”
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