Studies have shown that the Bronx has the lowest health standards of all New York counties. But run crew Bronx Sole are on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of their community. It’s not about being the fastest runner, it’s about making sure everyone is able to join in.
We spoke with Stephanie, a Bronx Sole crew captain, to learn more about her experience since joining the group.
On: Hey Stephanie, first off, how would you describe the run culture in NYC as a whole?
Stephanie: "I feel like it's getting bigger and more people are inspired. You see so many people asking, 'Can I join?' and it brings more people in. There are a lot of options for crews that you can try – there are so many groups in the Bronx. Whether you want to do, a Bronx female run, or you want to do another run. There's a group for everybody."
How did you get involved in Bronx Sole?
“Oh, short story is I wanted to do something different. I'd been in the workforce for a while out of college and I wanted something different than happy hour on Fridays. So, I followed Bronx Sole for a while. I am a history buff, and I liked that they do a little bit of Bronx history, every time we run. It’ll be places that you walk past, but that you never knew the history of. So, as you know, people do their new year's resolution. And the first Tuesday of that January, I went, and I've been coming back ever since.”
What gives you the strength to help lead this group?
"The support of the two founders, Justin and Pedro. I've been running
with Bronx Sole almost two years, and I just recently became a captain. So I feel like they saw something in me as far as leadership, to want to make me a captain. So that makes me want to be my best and show up every week, to be good support and a good representation of Bronx Sole.
What impact have you seen the group make on other women, like your friends who have joined? What impact does it have on their lives?
"We become friends outside of just running. The group's makes them comfortable with running, even if they're new. I'll stay in the back, because I want them to go at their own pace. I don't want them to feel like they're forced to run, or forced to walk. I tell them, 'run as much as you want and walk as much as you want. It's your own race'."
What does it mean to see other females feel empowered with you in this group?
“I think it's important because it gives other women encouragement. Because some women might not be comfortable running by themselves in different areas. They might not even see other women running.”
When we do our long runs, and we're training and other women see us, they're like, ’Oh, what time do you guys meet?’ They finally see other women.
Interested in meeting up with Bronx Sole? Send them an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send them a message on Instagram (@bronxsole) to get involved.