Making a Difference


Now that my STEM experience is over, I can reflect upon it.

This e-mail from the coordinator probably says it all:

They did it! You did it! We did it!

We started with six ladies in our pilot program with the Schenectady YWCA this fall, and four of them crossed the finish line today. We lost one eager runner to surgery midway through the session, and we lost one other whom I’m convinced we can lure back in the spring.

Our ladies did beautifully out there despite having to run the race in freezing rain. All of them finished in under an hour, including our runner who is in her 70s. Our fastest runner finished somewhere in the 37-minute range. As they crossed the line you could see how proud they were, each sprinted to the finish. And they were singing and laughing after the race.

The impact this will have on them will be more tremendous than we can ever imagine. Two former graduates of our Troy program ran the race with them today as mentors and both of them have logged about 10 races since they began running last fall. One who was previously unemployed now works two jobs, and credits running with the tremendous transformation in her life (it took her 10 years to leave her abuser for good, and she says it was running that made her feel strong enough).

For those of you who were able to be there today, you saw the pride in these ladies eyes when they crossed the finish line. For those who weren’t there today, you’ve seen it other times along the way — when 1-minute jogging intervals became 3, then 8 then 20. And it was thanks to all your kind words and encouragement that these ladies began to have belief in themselves.

I can’t wait to see you all at the celebration on December 10 at the YWCA, where we’ll show some pictures. And we hope to be running with you in future sessions. We meet awesome women through this training program, and it’s not limited to the clients we’re helping move from couch to 5K. What an incredible group of women you are to share your time and your passion for the sport.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you this essay, written by a woman who was in our first Troy program (see below). She wasn’t asked to write this for us, it was for a project where DV survivors expressed themselves through art and writing.


Though I couldn’t be there on Saturday, below are some photos from race day:


The clients & volunteers before the race








after the race

You can see that despite the awful weather, they are smiling in every photo.

Yes, running is more than medals and PRs.

I hope to be part of this program again in the spring.

Happy Running! Have you ever volunteered in a Couch to 5K program?



2 thoughts on “Making a Difference

  1. i love to read inspirational running stories. it’s such a blessing when we can use something we love to benefit and enrich other people’s lives. glad you had such a great experience and thanks for sharing.


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