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August 2017-Leah Harris

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, what you’re doing now…etc.)

A: I was born and raised in Rapid City. I graduated from Black Hills State University. I am currently the Environmental Process Specialist for the City of Rapid City. When I’m not at work, and not running, I’m typically with my better half, Matt and his three wonderful children.

Q: How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A: I started running in 2013. Originally running for me was for fitness and a search for self and soul. Quite amusingly my original fitness goal for running was aimed to run two consecutive miles, without stopping. At the time it was impossible, now two miles just isn’t enough. Running was also a sort of therapy for me. I was able to step away from the house and the environment there to cleanse my mind and quiet my psyche. In the winter of 2014-2015 I literally ran into the club. Erika invited me to join; perhaps just sharing an addiction, offering company of kindred spirits, but in my case calling me down the rabbit hole. A few miles turned into half marathons which led to 30ks, 100M relays, and eventually full marathons.

Q: Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A: I believe there is a place for runs both alone and in a group. You just have to figure out what you need out of the run at that moment and which amount of company would be better.

Q: Do you prefer roads or trails?

A: I can say that I have certain roads or trails that I prefer, but not that I necessarily prefer one category over the other.

Q: What is your favorite distance or race?

A:   I can say that half marathons are definitely the most fun; just long enough but not arduous. On the other hand there is definitely something to be said of the satisfaction of finishing a full marathon.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

A: My goal is to be a life-long runner. Within that scope I hope to gain knowledge and skill to complete any race I feel up to registering for.

Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual?

A: Potatoes the night before, Powerade during, and an Epsom Salt Bath after. After a few trials this seems to be the best on my body to prepare and cope.

Q: What do you love most about running? What do you like least?

A: I love the freedom the most. You can run practically anywhere you like; in town, in the forest, on the prairie, on a treadmill… You can take running with you no matter where you go, as long as you remember your running shoes. My least favorite is ice obstacles! They’re hard to see and can really do some damage!

Q: Who inspires you most?

A: I don’t even know her name… One time while on vacation I found out we were on a marathon route. I watched quite a few runners shuffle past. Later I learned we were at around mile 24 of the marathon. Then out of the corner of my eye a motion catches my attention. This particular marathoner passed by just like the others save one little detail. She was in a wheelchair. This woman found the strength in her to propel herself 26.2 miles with the use of her arms, not her legs. I cannot even fathom the strength and determination. I don’t know her, I never will, but I will never forget seeing her run by.

Q: Do you have any favorite races that you have run?  

A: My favorite local race would have to be Run Crazy Horse. The course is great and the weather typically cooperates. However the Walt Disney World Marathon was pretty epic too!

Q: What advice do you have for new runners?

A: The advice I would offer new runners is try a little bit of everything! Everyone is going to have ideas for you but those opinions are going to be built on what works for them. While there are general statements that are true for most if not all runners, specifics can come down to how does your body feel when you do it…