Tara Reynolds has run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon with the Race to End Duchenne team for three years in a row, raising thousands of dollars. She does it all for her friend and inspiration, Joel.
Why did you choose to join the Race to End Duchenne team?
When I was a youth minister in Houston, my dear friend’s and mentor’s son, Joel, was in my youth group. Joel lives with Duchenne and he is the reason I run for PPMD. He has quickly become one of my inspirations to live life to the fullest and to keep pressing on even when life is hard.
How many races have you participated in?
I have run with the Race to End Duchenne team in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for three years straight. I hope to run some different races in different cities for Joel in the future too!
How do you prepare for races?
Well, I really don’t consider myself much of a runner to be honest, but I do enjoy the races. One thing I have learned is that training for a big race takes just as much mental preparation as it does preparing yourself physically. I try to follow a training regimen of shorter runs during the week and one longer run on the weekends leading up to race day. The night before the race I lay everything out I’ll need for the next day, take a long soak in the tub, and I try to meditate on why I run in the first place – for Joel and all the people I know who are affected by Duchenne. I also eat a lot of carbs as I normally do, except I don’t as feel bad about it on race weekend!
Do you have any fundraising and/or training tips or pointers you would share with other runners – either advice someone gave you or you’ve discovered on your own?
People like to support amazing causes, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there when fundraising. I know it can feel awkward for a lot of people to ask friends and family for money, but really the worst that can happen is that they don’t give. So, ask! I also have learned that people enjoy personal stories when being asked to donate, so I always try to personalize my “asks” with stories and memories I have with Joel. Pictures also go a long way!
As for the race itself, try to spend a chunk of the race running without music. This past half marathon, my phone died after mile one, and I had to run almost the entire race without music. It was an incredible experience. I was able to engage with the other runners and spectators more than I would have, and I also got to spend considerable time thinking about why and for whom I was running. It made seeing Joel at the cheer station so much sweeter, and finishing the race that way was an incredible experience.
What will be the first thing you do when you finish your next race?
The usual! Collapse into a heap and tell myself “I’ll never do this again!” Somehow, though, I always end up at the start line the next year. It’s so worth it. Also, I’ll reward myself by stuffing my face with a whole lot of Mexican food and a frozen margarita!
Join Tara in the Race to End Duchenne
Race to End Duchenne is Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy’s signature program that raises funds to support our mission to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy. When you join the Race to End Duchenne you are supporting PPMD’s vital work in advancing research, care, and advocacy to help those with Duchenne live longer, stronger lives. Join the team at one of our upcoming races!Join the Race