August 1 2017
Harlem Run co-creator Kayla Lauricella explains how she started running to lose weight and eventually learned to enjoy the sport.
After the wildly successful and inspiring 250-mile-plus run I led in January from Harlem to Washington, D.C., which raised more than $100,000 for Planned Parenthood, Run 4 All Women is back to host a series of national events this weekend to continue the momentum. Hosted by our brand ambassadors, the events are set to take place in Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana from August 11 to 13 and have already raised $19,000. Additionally, the Run 4 All Women virtual challenge through Racery has raised nearly $8,000 and allows participants around the globe to pledge their miles for Planned Parenthood.
As the founder of this (unintentional) movement, I was happy to sit down with the Run 4 All Women ambassadors and hear what they are most excited about, most nervous about and the greatest lessons they’ve learned along the way. Take a read below:
“The team of women putting together these events have poured their hearts and souls into them. It has taken hours and days away from our families, work and day-to-day lives to continue the fight. But we do it because we need and want to make a difference. I perform my Run 4 All Women ambassador role with as much pride as I do my role as a mother and role model to my two strong girls.”
“The greatest lesson I’ve learned is not to be afraid to raise my hand and take the lead; that may be the most inspiring move of all. Hope comes when you least expect it, if you keep an open heart and an open mind.”
“There is nothing more fulfilling than taking a risk and standing up for something that’s important to you, even if it’s terrifying!”
“Ask someone what their favorite book, color, joke is. Just start a conversation with a simple question. Let’s come together by talking and running and then we can begin our work together.”
“Six months ago, I had the incredible opportunity to join Alison and the Run 4 All Women crew for four miles on their route to Washington, D.C. It seemed an ordinary four miles: a typical route down the Delaware Canal path that I had done many times before. But those four miles changed everything. In the face of the powerlessness that I had been feeling since the election, each step on that path was a reminder of the strength of our bodies—the power that we hold to rally, to run, to resist.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to carry this message–this feeling–forward this August 11 and 12 as we run from Princeton to Philly. I’m really thrilled to have the chance to raise funds and visibility for Planned Parenthood, an organization designed to protect, heal and empower our bodies. They are under attack by a political machine that has little care about whether our bodies live or die. In the face of this, we must rally. We must resist. We must run!”
“I want the world to know that everyone can be an activist and find their own ways to be an activist. You don’t always have to be at the mic to make a change. It’s okay to be afraid; just don’t let that fear stop you from doing what you are passionate about. Be afraid, but do it anyway.”
“I want the world to know that I won’t be defined by my silence. I want the world to know that I choose a life of courage over comfort. I choose to speak the ugly and inconvenient truth. I choose to take massive action combining my passion for running with women’s advocacy work. It’s a conscious decision that requires determination, resolve and effort. It takes a community of like-minded people to get the work done. Run 4 All Women has built that community.”
“This experience as a Run 4 All Women ambassador has challenged me to think differently about myself and the role I play in the different communities I belong to in so many ways. Every day of this journey, I’ve felt a little more comfortable in my activist skin, and a little less comfortable in my feminism, which has been challenged to grow into something bigger and more inclusive. I see myself stretching beyond what I already know, trying things I am not good at and initiating conversations that are scary and uncomfortable. I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity to help others feel forward movement in their lives, and for the new ways I feel it in my own.”