Welcome to Run Tampa, your new running family. There is just one thing I love more than running and that is the people I run with. That is the secret to Run Tampa’s continued success: I treasure the incredible diversity of our members, from self proclaimed turtles to Boston qualifiers, young and old, beginners and veterans.
My name is Debbie Voiles, and I founded Run Tampa. Of all the great benefits of the Run Tampa community, meeting runners and becoming friends is by far the best part. Run Tampa is a family, and I kind of feel like the mom, or maybe the grandmom, since I’m 63.
Our Facebook group has 4,600 members; if you’re not a member, please request to join. That’s where most of Tampa’s online running conversation takes place. I’m on there everyday, and I post the invites to all five of our weekly group runs, there.
If you’re not on Facebook, don’t worry about missing out on the information, you can register for our weekly newsletter, which includes pics of the past week’s group runs and information about what’s coming up in the next week and months ahead. Register to receive it here.
Run Tampa History: In 2008, I started this website because Tampa needed an online running calendar. In 2010, I hosted the first group run, and I started the Run Tampa Coaching Program soon after. I started the club in 2011. In July of that year we had our first social, and in December, our first destination race, the Jacksonville Marathon and Half.
Destination races: Since then, our destination races have included the Napa to Sonoma Half, San Francisco Marathon & Half, Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, Spacecoast Marathon/Half, Maine Marathon/Half, Grandma’s Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half, and Big Cottonwood Marathon/Half.
Podcasts: About the time I published, After Your First 5k, I started the Mojo for Running podcast, available on iTunes and at MojoforRunning.com. Later, I launched a second podcast, the Beginner Runner Village Podcast. Between the two, they have been downloaded over 600,000 times in 177 countries. I receive emails from all over the world, and do you know what I’ve learned?
A runner is a runner is a runner, whether it’s a newbie training for that first 5k or an ultra runner training to break the 24 hour barrier, we’re more alike than different.
If I have one piece of advice for runners, it would be this: As the years pass, always make running whatever part of your life best facilitates all the other parts of your life. There may be times, sometimes stretches of years, when you’re tied up with raising the family, and you run only to keep fit and provide stress relief, or maybe for months at a time, your job precludes you from doing any races or an injury means you have to cut back or take time off. Just do whatever helps you at that time. Never let running add stress. Never feel compelled to do a marathon or run faster or get in a certain number of miles. Your life will change from year to year, and your running should, too. Remember, you are the boss.
Sometimes you may go though a period when running occupies many hours a week, but that may not always fit into your life. Life happens; just be flexible, and you’ll find yourself running happy. That’s what I’ve been doing for over 40 years.
For me, whether running solo through the woods of Croom, running along Bayshore or the Riverwalk, sharing conversation with a clutch of Run Tampa friends, or racing with thousands of others, running never gets old. I hope to meet you at one of the Run Tampa group runs soon. I’m the one with the gray hair and the smile.