The Courage to Start

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

– John Bingham

Mom & Me before the race.


This past Thursday, I had the privilege of running with my mother in her first 5K ever.  Only 12 weeks ago and at 60 years old, she decided that now was as good a time as any to start running.  Just like me, she set her mind to finish the race and finish the race she did – ahead of her anticipated time!

If you ask my mom – or even if you don’t – she will tell you that I am her inspiration for running.  She will tell you that she has always wanted to run, but never thought it possible until she watched me, just over a year ago, go from nothing to training and completing one of three half marathons so far.  She will tell you that she would have never known about the No Boundaries 5K training program if I never learned about it through MIT and she will tell you that she would have never thought she could learn to run without my encouragement and advice.

I will tell you a different story.  Just like me, my mom had it in her all along.  She just needed a little help in finding the courage to start.  I didn’t teach her to run or make running any easier for her – in fact, my mom and I never even ran together until her 5K.  

Coach Natalie, Mom & Me finishing.


I have learned so much from running both from myself and from my mom.  It’s funny to me, while I train for half marathons and she trains for 5K’s, we experience the exact same accomplishments and setbacks.  The same highs and lows.  The same struggles and success.  The same emotions.  The same fears.  The same joys.  Running is the same no matter who you are, what your ability level is, or what you are training for.  We are all runners.

Watching my mom’s transformation into a runner was like watching a mini replay of my own running journey thus far.  I understood every obstacle she encountered and overcame.  I was able to tell her it would get easier – and better – and know that it really would.  I understood the bad run days – the days when your body, or more commonly your mind – just won’t let you run.  I understood how it felt to run that first mile without walking and feel like you could take on the world.  I understood what it was like to struggle to the point of tears and have the support of your team and coach behind you every step of the way.  I understood what it was like to love running, hate running, and wake up on Saturday morning to love it again.  I understood what it was like to plan your day around your mid-week runs.  And I understood how big of a deal it was to run another mile without stopping.  I understand because I too am a runner – and only a runner knows.

Crossing the Finish Line


So, although my mom thinks I have inspired her, I would say that she in fact is the one who has inspired me.  To keep reaching for my goals.  To take on the world.  Watching her train for, run, and finish her first race has reminded me that running is possible.  And no matter where I – or anybody – am in my running journey, I can do this.  Sometimes we all just need a little reminder of what motivates us in the first place: The courage to even start.

Until the next mile marker,


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