Tell us about your mission as a group?
RDP’s mission is to develop an opportunity to help aspiring elite distance runners reach their goals, create enthusiasm for the sport and increase the strength of the running community in the city we love.
What is your purpose?
We love to run fast, build passion for running in the Raleigh area, and be female role models in our community. We also want to create opportunities for aspiring female distance runners to continue to compete at the highest level.
How did RDP start?
We started the Raleigh Distance Project as a group of 6 female distance runners all feeling an equal pull to do something more with the sport we love. Each of the 6 founders pursued their passion individually, but knew their ultimate success would not be possible without the support of a team. We saw how limited elite and professional running opportunities were to athletes who may not have reached their full potential as collegian or high school athletes. Belief in oneself begins with belief in one and another. After traveling as a group to collectively race the Genworth Virgina 10-Miler in September of 2017, we officially founded the Raleigh Distance Project as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in December of 2017. We have maintained our foundation of creating a support system to encourage elite runners to keep chasing their dreams, adding 4 more members to our roster at the end of 2019. We have emphasized giving more opportunity to those who might not have had it otherwise, but we also believe highly in engaging with our local community. If we can create fans of the sport and encourage others to pursue their own goals alongside ours, we can all be better together.
Why do you like working with Gnarly?
We love the great tasting products! With clean ingredients, safe sport certifications, and great taste, what’s not to love? Fueling, recovery and hydration are important components to our training. It’s hard to find a company that offers such a wide variety of products, suiting the needs of our gluten free, lactose intolerant, whey protein lovers, and vegan athletes alike. The formulation of each product is researched in depth to create truly great products with optimally sourced ingredients. The leadership and development within the company is another huge draw! With an emphasis on performance and educating their customers, Gnarly has a truly unique brand.
Do you have hazing practices when someone joins, and if not, what would you do?
Make them run lots of miles and not let them stop to go to the bathroom! Eventually, we talk most athletes into running a marathon-even if they are 1500m track all-stars.
Tell us something about your group that no one knows?
Our group text chain is called, “The Whole Enchilada” and we each receive roughly 100 texts each day 🙂
Tell us an inspiring story about one of your members.
Historically, Kim has always said she will never run a marathon. But only a few months before the Marathon Olympic Trials, a few of her teammates convinced Kim to race the Houston Marathon, held on the last day in the qualifying window. She reluctantly agreed, but under the condition that her teammates run Sunday long runs with her. With only a few short months to train, Kim competed at the Houston Marathon and qualified in her first ever marathon, with a time of 2:43:01 (average pace 6:13 over 26.2 miles). And then one month after, Kim came back and ran an amazing marathon at the US Olympic Trials finishing just shy of the top 100 women. Through the encouragement and support of her teammates, Kim achieved not only running a marathon, but running 2 marathons within the span of a month, and one of those being the US Olympic Trials. This is one example of the power of team and community support.
What is your team cheer or motto?
Passion alone is powerful, but a squad committed to chasing dreams together is unstoppable.
For a more race appropriate cheer, we sometimes yell, “don’t be a bitch” which offers the same motto as referenced above, just using different words
What would you like to see different in the running community?
Running is a universal sport but in the world of long distance running, diversity is a major issue. While we’ve seen major improvements in the number of women gracing the start lines since the days of Katherine Switzer, we still see that minority communities are not well-represented in the running community. We recognize this multi-faceted issue and while we don’t have all the answers we feel that talking about it helps to create awareness.
As it relates to elite running, we have found that very few athletes are able to make a living wage as distance runners. Unlike the ranks of the NBA, WNBA, NFL, etc. the USATF serves as more of an amatuer sports organization, where, besides Olympians and World and National Championship competitors, the money rarely trickles down to the true performers. We hope that what we are doing will help to bridge that gap for more athletes as we grow and increase our support. We also hope that through our efforts we can strive for more diversity so that as role models we can reach a larger population of young women.
Any advice for aspiring athletes?
Aspire and set high goals. Because even if you don’t reach them, you will grow, learn and achieve higher than you even thought you could. Be patient with yourself and always keep in mind why you compete. Running is a lifetime sport, not just a right now sport. With your body as your guide, you’ll keep getting stronger so keep chipping away.
BCAA’s – We use these for pre-workout in order to prevent muscle breakdown during activity and promote faster recovery as well as less delayed onset muscle soreness. We just mix our BCAA’s with water and drink on our way to practice. Flavors are also great! Also pairing the BCAA’s before our workout with the vegan protein following workouts helps further build muscle and prevent breakdown just in time for our recovery day.
Vegan Protein – Gnarly’s vegan protein powders allow us to add our own source of carbohydrates and caters to many of the athletes on our team (vegan, dairy-free, gluten free, whey-free) and not to mention the obvious- but it tastes great! The vegan protein is formulated to act as more a meal replacement making it a best post workout option-especially when added to smoothies. Gnarly’s products are certified for sports (NSF certified) which is extremely important to us as elite runners, ensuring we are fueling our bodies cleanly. We appreciate all of the science behind each Gnarly product and this protein is just one of their key elements to a successful fueling strategy.