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Why I Run displays News and Sentinel Half Marathon racers and their stories. We want to know about your running career, motivation to run and your advice to first time half marathon racers. This is your chance to show off your accomplishments, and you could be next. Contact us at and show the running world what you are made of.

Lauren Leaman

July 12, 2023
News and Sentinel Half Marathon

Why do you run?

To stay fit, healthy, and be competitive.

What has your running career looked like leading up to this point?

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I have been running since I was in the 3rd grade. I joined the Emerson Elementary School track team and hated every minute of it until senior year of high school. Everyone thought I would go on to play soccer in college until I made the decision to run instead. I ended up at West Virginia Wesleyan college as a heptathlete where I finished my career with 6 first team all-conference titles, MVP, 5 school records, and 6 conference meet records. I wouldn't have traded my choice in schools for anything. I had the best coaches and teammates I could've asked for. I would have about 15 events over our 3-day conference meet and survived them through the support system I had standing with me. My sophomore year I thought my running/athletic career was over for good when I went into septic shock and could barely walk for weeks. I had lost everything I built the years leading up but my family, coaches, teammates and friends stood behind me and never let me look back. No matter how tough the practice or race was I didn't take the pain for granted as at one point in time I thought it was over involuntarily. Though my journey was full of rocky patches I am thankful for the athlete and person it has turned me into today. When I graduated college, I knew I wasn't ready to end my running/athletic career and decided to take up half marathons alongside my dad who has run them off and on my entire life. As one who has been a sprinter their entire life this was a big change, but it has been fun so far. Shortly after I started this next chapter of running, I made the decision to run a half marathon in all 50 states! So far I have completed four (Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and North Carolina) and will be marking off the fifth right here in my home town of Parkersburg, WV. Looking forward to incorporating home into this chapter.

What keeps you motivated to run?

I have set a goal to Complete a half in all 50 states.

Do you have superstitions or quirks when it comes to competing?

Yes, always have, always will. They include the clothing/shoes I wear to race, the food I eat, and the style of my hair. I won't get into details that secret is safe with me.

Do you have any advice for other runners?

Just have fun and don't worry about the watch. When I retired from track, I had a difficult time with trying to not beat myself up over not hitting a certain time or pace. I was afraid I would end up getting burnt out or start to hate running all together, so I had to train my mind to understand that it was okay to run how fast or slow of a pace my body is feeling that day. So all in all just have fun and don't take it too seriously, unless you're a collegiate athlete or an Olympian then you should take it seriouslyvery serious.

How many times have you ran for the News and Sentinel Half Marathon?

Zero! This will be my first time and I am very excited as I've grown up with this race. I competed in the kids races and 2 mile, volunteered at the finish line in the cool zone, and was the 2019 race coordinator. My sister has since taken on this role for the last two years and has done a great job at keeping it running strong.



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