A few weeks ago, my friend sent me a question via text: “What are your two greatest accomplishments?”

My answer, which came easy, surprised me.

Our greatest accomplishments are usually academic and professional: awards won, speeches delivered, things acquired, children born – and their accomplishments. The thing on my list, though, was: “Running two marathons.”

After decades of “making my mama proud” – that’s my biggest accomplishment. But it’s not just the marathons that I’m proud of – it’s the journey that got me through them and the passion that they sparked in me.

In the first two installments of “Awkward Black (Runner) Girl,” I share how running helped me adopt a sense of stick-with-it-ness and a host of other positive characteristics: increased confidence, a heightened sense of boldness and toned legs!

It’s also exposed me to the fact that passion – about anything – is necessary for a fulfilled existence.

I started studying people and noticed that those who have no “thing” that they are passionate about lack some spring in their step. They lack excitement.

But when I meet those who pursue a hobby or interest passionately, I notice a light in their eyes, a wider smile and less edge.

So, though I’m a running enthusiast, in addition to promoting that activity I now promote passion in general. Running opened my eyes to the value that any interest or hobby can bring to one’s life.

Whether it’s boxing, knitting, painting or solo travel, there’s something about challenging ourselves to explore new adventures that awakens the soul.

As I continue to share my running story and introduce you to people all around metro Atlanta who are making moves in the running community, my wish is that you’ll be encouraged to try something new or to delve deeper into a current passion – if not running.

I hope that if you’re ever asked the question: “What are your two greatest accomplishments?” – you will have a ready answer that highlights your courage, creativity and sense of adventure.

Powell will be discussing running health, techniques and events in upcoming articles as well as featuring members and groups within Atlanta’s growing black runner community. If you have questions or comments about this topic, please post them in the comment section below or send an email to rashidapowell@gmail.com.


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