We’re wild about running and serious about fun.

Meet our runners

We believe that running is for everybody, running is fun and that all runners are extraordinary.  Read real stories from people like you and get inspired to take the next step.

Sara

Meet Sara. Sara has been running since 2003 when she decided to train for an Olympic distance triathlon. “I hated running. It was my least favourite of the three events,” Sara explains.  “Halfway into training for that triathlon I had a bike accident. Because my shoulder was hurt, I could no longer swim and cycle, only run…and somehow I started to love it. The ease of putting on a pair of shoes and just going out to explore was great.” She ran her first marathon in 2004.

Due to severe back pain she had to stop running in 2009. Sara explains: “My biggest challenge was in 2010 when I had spinal fusion surgery, and coming back from that surgery has taken years, and is still a process. I started really slow and worked up to a 10K with House of Running earlier this year. I recently completed the Dam to Damloop, a 10-mile event, and now I plan on training for a half marathon. Anything is possible.”

Sara’s current goal, she says, is “to keep running, which means listening my body. It sounds easier that it is.” She would love to finish a third NYC marathon but when we asked about her proudest moments, she wrote: “It’s each time I put on my shoes and get out and run, not because I have to but because I want to.”

Since her surgery she had to change her whole focus.  She shares: “I try to ignore that ‘inner voice’ telling me I used to be faster. I listen to my body and just enjoy that I am running again. If I need to slow down or walk, I do.”

Sara tells us that she loves running with House of Running because the focus is on the social side of running. “Not everyone has to run to break a PR. Running can be, and is, fun.”

Sara’s tip for you aspiring runners: “Running is a mental challenge above all else. On one run you will hit a wall you didn’t think you could push through, even after the first mile. The next time will always be different, and probably better. Keep challenging yourself and you will be amazed at what your body and mind can accomplish.”

Meet Debbie.  Debbie ran cross country and track and field from middle school through freshman year of college, “but back then it was all about short distances and speed,” she tells us. “A few years after graduating from college, I joined the New York Road Runners Club and that’s when my true love of running for health, community, and road racing began. That was in the early 90s, so I guess that means I’ve been a “runner” for more than twenty years!

“I’ve always been athletic, and loved that through road racing I could still compete and challenge and push myself to see what was possible when I put my mind to it. I used to see older women running road races in Central Park and I vowed to be just like them someday…they were so inspiring to me then (and still are). I also love what running brings to a person’s life; physically, mentally, and emotionally. That’s definitely what keeps me running today. I consider running my meditation, my therapy, and my exercise all rolled into one.

I’ve occasionally struggled with injuries, including plantar fasciitis and IT band syndrome, which have slowed me down here and there (not to mention reinforced the importance of stretching and cross training). I also wasn’t able to run while I was pregnant, and struggled to begin again after having my son…it just didn’t feel good for quite a while. My first road race post-baby was a happy day.

This season I’m focusing on running for me and not chasing any times for any particular distance, as I’ve done that for the past two years and mentally I need a break. I still have a goal of breaking two hours in the half-marathon (I came within 23 seconds last spring), so I imagine I’ll tackle that challenge again in the not-too-distant-future.”

Her proudest moment, she writes: “Without doubt, crossing the finish line for my first-ever marathon, the NYC Marathon, in 1996. I ended up getting in just two months before the race, so wasn’t as prepared as I could have been, but I had an opportunity and I took it. At the time, running a marathon seemed like an impossibility for me… I honestly didn’t know if my body was capable of it. I’ll never forget the surge of adrenaline and emotions that I experienced upon completing that run…I felt like a superhero for about the next six months!”

What keeps Debbie on Track?  She explains: “I’m a very focused and goal-oriented person, so when I set my sights on something, I break it down and do the work to make sure I can successfully accomplish it. I’ve applied this same philosophy to my running, and it’s worked for me. I’ve also come up with many strategies to keep me running during times when I feel less motivated (busy work times; cold, rainy weather, and so on), including making running dates (I never bail on a running date), building in small rewards for following through, and of course being a part of the House of Running community, which is both motivating and fun!

More than anything, I love the community aspect of the House of running. We moved to Amsterdam a little over two years ago, and since I work from home, I don’t have much occasion to connect with other people. I was so excited to begin my first season with House of Running because, in my experience, runners are AWESOME people and I knew I’d found a great community. I’ve also run some races I probably would have struggled training for without the support of the HOR group runs, including the Paris Marathon and the Berlin Half-Marathon.”

Her tip for you aspiring runners out there: One of the things I hear the most from aspiring runners is that it “hurts too much” or that “running is not something I think I can do.” To those runners I say, you absolutely CAN be a runner…it’s all about starting slow, letting go of expectations of what it should feel like or how fast you should be, and sticking with it. I’ve gotten more than a few friends and relatives into running, despite their belief that it wasn’t possible for them.

Invariably, they’ve gone on to run marathons and half-marathons, blowing their limiting beliefs about themselves out of the water. Running is for ANYONE. It’s the great equalizer. And it’s totally awesome.

Meet Anna. She’s from Poland but lives in Amsterdam. It wasn’t long ago that she was only starting out. She took up running in September 2012, she recalls. Not knowing what she was getting into, she decided to go for a run with work colleagues. It was 4 kilometers. “I almost died because I wanted to keep up with them so badly,” she tells us.

In 2013, she decided to take it up a notch and train for a 10-mile event. “At that time 16 kilometers sounded like science fiction,” she remembers, but she wanted to challenge herself. In the end, she injured her foot and was out for half a year. “That was the saddest thing,” Anna explains. “I decided that after my foot healed I wanted to aim way higher and try the ‘impossible,’ the marathon.

I searched the internet for running groups as I knew that as much as I had motivation I did not have enough discipline or knowledge to train properly. That’s when I found House of Runnning (HOR) and decided to join the marathon training season of summer 2014. And it began. I started running longer and longer distances each week and every long run was my longest run ever! I had no idea that I could run for so long. Before I joined HOR, the longest run I ever did was 12 kilometers. I used to think that 12 kilometers was already unbelievable. Nowadays I say things like, ‘only 12 kilometers, that’s nothing!’

While training with HoR I ran my first FULL MARATHON in Amsterdam! All of that resulted in my full blown running addiction, no more sleeping problems and greater energy levels than ever! After the Amsterdam marathon I signed up again for more training with HoR with the new goal of the Paris marathon.

Last week I ran the Paris marathon! I couldn’t have done any of it alone! I have learned a lot from the amazing HoR coaches and experienced runners who are members of the group. I always enjoy our chats during the runs and I am looking forward to each new season, new challenges and new medals.

My tip to the beginners is not to be afraid of new challenges and listen to your body.

Update: Since we first posted this, Anna has completed several other long-distance events, including the New York Marathon.

Meet Emma. She’s one of the founding members of House of Running and has been regularly running since joining us in 2012. Before House of Running, she’d run a 5 and 10K race or two and even attempted 10 miles. In 2012, she joined us for some support in taking her running to the next level. Emma explains, “When I set myself the challenge of training for a half marathon I decided I needed a run group to help me get there and House of Running seemed the perfect choice for a beginner like me.” She wouldn’t have guessed that 3 years later she’d be glowing from having just run her second full marathon. A year ago she was “still living off the glory of having managed to complete what so many will never achieve and was in no rush to run another marathon,” says Emma.

This past weekend, she took on the Rotterdam full marathon and was not only pleased for having given 42K another go, but thrilled at having slashed her previous finish time by 25 minutes! “Knocking 25 minutes off my marathon time has given me a real sense of accomplishment,” says Emma. “I now no longer fear the marathon. My recovery has been much better and my self-esteem has been given a much needed boost which has helped all areas of my life. I might still be living off the glory of running my first marathon but I’m so glad I ran a second one!”

Update: Since we first posted this, Emma has completed numerous other long-distance events , including two more marathons.

Meet Bryony. Bryony bought running shoes back in 2008 and, like many people, gave running a go only to stop soon after and restart months or years later without getting to her goal.

This January, Bryony joined our Walk to Run program and has finally stuck with it. “I realised the only place I will ever have to live in is my own body and I better do my best to keep it working as well as it can for as long as I can, as you never know what’s round the corner. So, every time I don’t feel like going out, I try (try) to remember I am lucky to have a choice,” she explains.

Her proudest moments so far: “Every time I run further or longer than I have before, sticking at it and being able to do it makes me pretty proud!”

Bryony explains what’s helped with her success: “Without doubt the group, and having a better programme than the free apps I was trying to use before. The group works for the same reason that personal training works – it’s much harder to break a promise you have made to other people, than it is to break a promise to yourself. I realised that the reason I couldn’t run far before was because I was simply going too fast to maintain the pace. Running with a group makes you realise that everyone has a different natural pace, and faster isn’t necessarily better – age, environment, health all have a part to play.”

Bryony’s tip for you aspiring runners or beginners out there: “Don’t be scared. You don’t have to go fast. You don’t even have to run. Walking isn’t failing/cheating, it’s part of developing and getting better. Slower runs also count, you can’t get faster every time or we’d all be Usain Bolt. Even if you don’t enjoy it at the time, you will enjoy the differences you see/feel… Finally, run with a group or find a friend. You can nag them when you feel strong, and they can do the same for you. It’s hard to bail on someone waiting in the January rain at 8am if you just want to snuggle further under the duvet.”

Update: Since writing this post, Bryony has since completed a 8K running event and is working toward other distances.

Meet David. He started running a year and a half ago when he joined House of Running to train for his first half marathon. Since then, he’s been unstoppable. Pure enthusiasm has carried him from one challenge to the next and he continues to set big goals, which he says he now knows he can achieve.

Last weekend he took on his first 42.2 kilometers at the Paris Marathon. As many of you know, this distance is tough and can kick you in the butt. David, however, had the mindset of a champion. After a year and a half of training, his body and mind were prepared, he tells us. From the start, everything had been going according to plan. But when the unexpected happened (as can happen on any run) and David got a cramp in his back at kilometer 31, he didn’t get discouraged. He explains, “my mind and my legs had decided to keep on going. Even if I had to slow down, I had already decided several months ago that I was going to complete my first marathon in Paris.” And so he did. That positive attitude carried him to the finish line.

David describes it as an awesome experience. “The feeling of arriving to the finish line can not be described,” David explains. “It is a mixture of happiness and pain but also the greatest sense of achievement.” And with the lessons learned and experience gained at this event, he’s already got plans to challenge his performance at the Athens marathon this November.

David’s tip for you aspiring runners out there: “All and all, after only 1.5 years of running and even an injury setback, I think it was very important to be patient and never give up. In the end, all the goals that I have set–from the Dam tot Dam, a half marathon and a full marathon–I have been able to achieve them thanks to House of Running.”

Update: Since we first shared this post, David has successfully completed several other long-distance events including the Athens Marathon.

Meet Amit. He started running in August 2014. At that time, he says a half marathon was unthinkable for him. Then he heard about House of Running. He was inspired by the idea of joining us to train for something that has always seemed impossible.

This past weekend Amit tested his impossible at the Rotterdam Marathon. Amit explains, “before the marathon I was mixed feeling anxiety and excitement as I had never participated in any race before (not even a 5K). And I had not even seen any race. So I had no idea what to expect. When I started it was an amazing feeling with all other runners, supporters and the environment. However after crossing 21 kilometers I started feeling it in my legs and each step was getting painful. I wondered what was I thinking signing up for this marathon. But towards end the cheering supporters made me forget the pain and the finish was one of the best experiences of my life. The last kilometer made it all worth it. All the 5 months of training, running in wind, snow, rain, not being able to party on Friday nights, 42km of running… everything was worth it.”

Amit says he owes his success to two things: 1) The House of Running coaches, Laurie and Peter. “There is no way on earth I could even think of doing a marathon without their guidance. I had complete trust in them and knew that if I just do what they ask me to and follow the schedule, I should be able to do it,” explains Amit. And 2) The supporters. “The supporters were just AMAZING. There were bands playing on side of the roads, kids standing on the side of track giving high fives, beautiful girls giving me roses, people cheering and shouting my name.”

We asked Amit for a tip for you aspiring marathoners out there. He wrote: “The one and only tip would be to join House of Running. Don’t even think about it and just do it. The coaches are amazing. The group is amazing. It seems like a lot of hard work preparing for a marathon but for me it was all fun.

People ask me it must be really tough preparing for a marathon, you must have worked really hard. And I tell them yes of course I worked very hard ( but inside I never felt like I did , I was just having fun the entire time). I have made some friends and created a lot of nice memories – running in snow, rain, rain+snow, running across Amsterdam, through different parks, along Amstel, bridges, canals.

Even if you don’t want to train for a marathon, if you want to start and enjoy running, joining House of Running will be a smart thing to do.”

Meet Silje. She’s a coach here at House of Running in Amsterdam and a true inspiration!  Two weeks ago she finished her first 60 kilometer event. Like many of you, she was once a non-runner, clueless about the ins and outs of running, and unable to imagine herself running long distances.

Silje started running only 9 years ago. Her twin sister had just started running and Silje thought, “We are literally identical. If she can do it, I can do it.” And so it began.  She started off on a gym treadmill running only minutes at a time, gradually running more and walking less until she didn’t have to walk at all.

In her first months of running, Silje tells us that she got hooked on the amazement she felt each time she’d accomplished more than she thought possible. Silje writes: “I still remember when I reached my first 5 kilometers, 8,10,15, 21, 25, 42 and most recently 60. I remember how hard it was but most of all how proud I felt after. This addictive feeling is still there and I continue to challenge myself. I love to set out and run a distance that I have not yet conquered and the feeling of standing at the start line not even sure if I’m even capable to finish. This has taught me that anything is possible with a plan, dedication and a dash of stubbornness.

Although I love running there are indeed days where I don’t feel like it, where I’m tired, and where my body aches and commands me to stay in bed or on the sofa. What I’ve found is that as long as I have a goal and a plan those days become less recurrent. On days when neither my plan or goal helps, I convince myself to set out for only 5 minutes of running. If I still don’t feel like it by then I can to go home. This still hasn’t actually happened.

In July I’m facing my biggest challenge yet, a 128 km trail race in mountain terrain in my home country. I have no idea what to expect but no doubt it will be a stunningly beautiful adventure.

To all new runners, my best advice is not to listen to your mind. Your body is capable of way more than you can ever imagine.

Update: Since we first shared this, Silje has scaled back her distances to give her body a rest and is now back to training for her next trail ultra.

Meet Sascha. Sascha first tried running a few years ago. Like many beginners, she was uber enthusiastic and — without guidance from an expert — she started running every day twice a day only to very quickly burn out.

Sascha joined our Walk to Run program this past January and has now been running for almost 8 months. She explains: “When I moved here in December I knew I needed some exercise and I saw a post online about the Walk to Run program. I thought it would be perfect for me to meet new people and learn to run properly. I feel a great connection with the group. They really inspire me and motivate me to go on. We have so much fun together and we support each other when needed.”

Nonetheless, her journey has not been smooth. “I’ve always been very hard on myself and believe I’m never doing enough,” Sascha tells us. “I still feel like that at times but the difference now is I have the group to support me. After a few months, I suffered from shin splints. I was trying to do too much. I was out for a few weeks and was devastated because I had made so much progress and was afraid that I would never return to running with the group. But with the help and encouragement from the coaches and the group I came back feeling faster than ever.”

Sascha’s proudest running moment: “Every time I put on my running shoes and beat my previous run either by time or distance it’s an accomplishment because I’m still running faster and longer.”

What’s helped her success? She explains: “Having a great group of ladies waiting for me for most runs and feeling that I’m helping them too by motivating and pushing them. We care about each other’s progress and well being and we are in it together.”

Sascha’s tip for you aspiring runners out there: “Do what I did. Get yourself the best Christmas present ever and sign up for the Walk to Run program. I promise we will be fun to run with and you won’t regret it.”

Update: Since we first shared this, Sascha has completed her first 8K event and continues to train for longer distances.

Waiting for the right time to get started, take the next step or go after that scary, impossible dream? The right time is now.

 

 

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Be you and #doextraordinary.