A blog by runners. For runners.

My first run: Jen Matz


It was ten years ago. I was home from college for the summer when my mom got the phone call. One of our family’s dearest friends was on life support after a freak accident. We planned to go to the hospital that evening to say our goodbyes.

In the interim, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had to do something. Anything to clear my head and process what has just happened. So, I took my dog to my favorite park. Only when we got there, we didn’t walk like we normally did – we ran.

We covered about 3 miles, but I have no idea how long it took. I just remember gasping for air, having horrible side stitches, and wondering if my legs were on fire. It was rough, but also amazing.

I still don’t know why I decided to run that day. It would still be a few more years before I’d toe the line of a race, follow a training plan, or discover firsthand how awful chafing was. But that day ten years ago was monumental because it was my first run. It was the day I became a runner.

We each have a story like this. Our motivation for getting out the door is different, but the result is the same: we became runners.

Contrary to the belief of many non-runners, no one is born a runner. We each have to start with one run.

We asked our Facebook fans to share their first run experience:

  • Corina M.: I thought somehow you were either born athletic or not, I was not. But as my 30th birthday got closer I decided one day, after I walked my daughter to kindergarten, that I would try it. I knew nothing about running. In fact, I was wearing Vans. As I began running it started to snow, and my husband drove by and asked if I wanted a ride. I said no that I was running and he laughed. I ran to lose weight at first and I lost 65 pounds in 6 months. But 7 years later I do it because I love it!
  • Jennifer R.: I thought that I wasn’t a runner; the only time I’d ran in the past was if I was about to miss a bus! Then one sunny morning, instead of walking home from dropping my son off at school, I thought “What the hell? Why not?” and jogged part of the way home. I couldn’t do more than a block, but over the next few months I trained for my first 5K, and finished at a decent 37:28! Right in the middle. I’ve always run for strength and stamina, not weight loss.
  • Athena C.: I had never run a mile, ever! I never could make it longer than a minute. One day I said as I was walking “this is taking too long”, so I ran. A MILE. I was so excited that I cried! I ran my first 5K this year, and even though I am not fast, I felt it was one of my biggest accomplishments!
  • Jenny L.: I decided my life was boring and I was overweight, so I put ‘Completing a 5K’ at the top of my new bucket list. I ran intervals on the treadmill so nobody would see me. The first time I ran 3 miles without stopping, I was red from head to toe, shaking, and I vomited. And I fell in love.
  • Lisa S.: Already a gym rat, someone dared me to do the Disney 5K. I had never run before and didn’t want to, but I couldn’t pass up the dare. That was in 2003. I love it and haven’t stopped since!

What was your first run like? Share your story below or tag it #myfirstrun on Twitter. You never know whom you might inspire!

Written by Jen Matz.