APOGEE Fitness & Wellness is thrilled to partner with The Running Goddess 5K this year and lock arms with a great cause spearheaded by 2 dynamic women. We got a chance to sit down with the Founder, Bettina Sementilli & Race Director, Annie Bai recently in nearby Katonah. After a nice long chat about all things health and fitness, we dug a little deeper in this compelling Q&A… Enjoy!
Apogee: Why did you begin the Running Goddess 5K?
RG: We were looking over some photos of the Katonah 5K Road & Trail Race last year (which we also organize) and noticed there were no women in the front row of the start line. But, in the broader sense it seemed natural, as an avid runner, to incorporate running as a way to help others. We have experienced firsthand the benefits of running for the body and the soul. There is a kinship with all women who struggle to be the best that they can be. In particular, we care deeply about the next generation of young women and their futures (the race supports at-risk girls and girls’ education in the sciences). We are all Running Goddesses, in a way, in the things we do every day: giving to our families, giving to our communities, and running – well, everyone benefits from that!
Apogee: How has running changed your life?
BS: Running has helped me go beyond anything I expected. It is the mental and physical fortitude that helps me achieve my dreams. Did I ever think I could run a marathon, much less four? Survive personal tragedies gracefully, and open a store? Some people like getting lost in a run. I like to say I find myself in my runs.
AB: I began running in my thirties, and I am still astounded that I can do something that always seemed so out of reach. The universe keeps trying to teach me the same lesson, and I’m just starting to get it. I shied away from sports when I was young, but in my twenties I tried out martial arts on a lark and ended up training intensely until I earned a black belt and instructor status. Now in my thirties, I am learning how to run, play tennis, garden, and who knows what’s next. This has helped my mindset immensely as I tackle the daunting challenge of restarting my legal career after a decade-long break raising a family. The only limits I have encountered are mental and I find that as long as I try, I can accomplish anything.
Apogee: What do you recommend for a first time runner in order to prepare for the 5K?
RG: If you haven’t run in a while, you have the next two months to prepare! I always recommend two things; first and foremost, make sure you are in the right sneakers. I have met ladies who have given up because they are frustrated or in pain, and sometimes it can be the result of wearing the wrong sneakers! Your local running store will be able to recommend something appropriate. Second, invest in a good, high impact running bra. To prepare yourself for running, ( barring any health issues, see your doctor if in doubt), I advise starting with a short run/walk of about 10-20 minutes – whatever length you are comfortable with. Begin with a 2 min walk/1 min run ; do this 2-3 times for the first week or two. After this initial phase, reverse it to 1min walk/2 min run until you are running continuously for 30-40 minutes (depending on your race goals) by the end of your 8 week training phase. Of course, for The Running Goddess 5K you can also opt to run/walk or walk. The choice is yours!
Apogee: You currently have a scholarship fund in place for one lucky girl, can you share the details?
RG: Sure. The Running Goddess Scholarship Fund will be used to help jumpstart an athletic high school girl’s college aspirations in the sciences. If you are a senior attending high school in Westchester or Putnam, have consistently been athletic, and will be majoring in the sciences in college (Fall 2014) to name a few of the prerequisites, you’re in the running, literally! You can go to the “Scholarship Fund” section of our website for more info.
Apogee: How can I get involved if I do not run, am not a sponsor, or perhaps have a Y-chromosome?
RG: Y–chromosomes are welcome and wearing one of our purple men’s Running Goddess T-shirts will fit the bill quite nicely! We ask that guys wear purple to support our cause and the women in their lives. Other than that, volunteering for our race at water stations or on the course would be helpful. Lastly, you can also show your support with a simple click; go to our website www.therunninggoddess.com and purchase a race shirt or donate to our designated charities. It’s all good!
Apogee: Anything you’d like to add?
RG: The race is soon after Mother’s Day, so we have a lovely present idea for you. Sometimes it’s hard to find just the right present for the wonderful woman who is your mother, wife, or grandmother. We want to convey heartfelt appreciation, and our wishes for a happy and healthy life. Now you can buy a beautiful Running Goddess card with the gift of a race registration, or donation made in her name! Give the gift of good health; give a gift registration.
*All registrants of the race will also receive a complimentary 5 day pass to APOGEE Fitness & Wellness.