We chatted with a young Lady named Elle Dailey about her journey training for the Chicago Marathon and fundraising for an awesome organization called Girls on the Run.
So, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 24-year-old dreamer, runner, health nut, animal lover, caffeine addict, foodie, holiday-obsessed, family gal! Always seeking a new challenge, physical activity, and outdoor adventure. I’m blessed to be married to my best friend and high school sweetheart. I couldn’t survive adulthood without him; he’s always positive, always laughing, and always smiling. I envy that, but it rubs-off on me too! We live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and I’m currently working as an “email broadcast specialist” at a company called Medical Marketing Services. On my free time, I run, Netflix binge, do spontaneous and goofy things with my hubby, and spend time with family and friends (not so exciting, I know).
Why do you run?
That’s such a hard question for me! I started running in high school when I was 17- years- old simply to lose weight. I could only run one block without stopping back then, but I kept going back out there and putting the work in. Along this weight loss journey, I realized that running meant so much more to me than that and I was hooked. Nowadays I run to stay healthy, to stay positive when things get hard, to keep my anxiety under control, and to feel adequate and have a sense of accomplishment. The number one reason, though, that I would say I have continued to run through the years is to prove to myself that I am stronger, both mentally and physically, than I think I am. I’m not confident in my abilities at all, so running reminds me that I should be! It is my outlet and I can honestly say that for so many reasons, it has truly saved my life and pulled me out of scary “ruts”.
“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” –Oprah Winfrey
How many times have you run the Chicago Marathon?
This is my second go-around at the marathon distance. My first one was in 2011 at the age of 20. Let’s just say this time around, I’m far more educated in the running category and much more committed to my training so I’m very excited to see the difference in my performance this year!
Have you run for a cause before?
I did fundraising for PAWS a couple years ago, but sadly was unable to participate in the race due to an injury. I absolutely love animals, but I’m having a much easier time talking to people about the “Girls on the Run” charity. I am able to more easily relate and my feelings are very passionate and strong towards supporting their mission. It’s far more important than people would think!
What is Girls on the Run?
They are a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Their mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. They meet twice a week in small teams of 8-20 girls and focus on teaching life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The 24-lesson curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. Running is used to inspire and motivate the girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced throughout the program. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k running event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result—MAKING THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE, AND TEACHING GIRLS THAT THEY CAN.
Why did you choose to run for GOTR this year?
I chose GOTR because I feel that any little girl can benefit from this program and that it can truly change their lives. I wish I could have participated in something like it! If we can teach girls at a young age to be confident and motivated, to lead a healthy lifestyle (both mentally and physically), and simply inspire them to follow their dreams, maybe we wouldn’t have so many women torn down by social media. And maybe we wouldn’t have as many women suffering from eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Maybe women would start leaning on each other and working together instead of everything always being a competition. Maybe if we can teach more little girls to stay joyful, inspired, and motivated, they wouldn’t let anyone stop them from believing in themselves. They would have confidence and love the bodies and lives they were blessed with. This program is trying to instill positivity and healthy habits at a young age before life gets a little rougher. I couldn’t think of any other charity I would rather be running for!
What do you think is the biggest benefit GOTR can provide for young girls?
Their journey, overall, towards their big 5k race is by far the biggest benefit in my eyes. I can relate it to the months of training I put in for the marathon. They get to see all their hard work turn into accomplishment, which shows them they can do anything they put their minds to! What seems impossible is always possible and always achievable as long as you believe in yourself. This program prepares them for life’s obstacles with a more positive outlook, mental and physical strength, confident minds, and healthy bodies.