On RunningMyselfTogether, we love partnerships and interviews. I’ve had the opportunity to work a bit with Eric Wallor of Run Around USA and Full Potential Running and talk to him about his mission. And I even had the opportunity to write an article for his blog entitled, When Running Defeats Mental Illness.
Eric is doing a lot of cool things, and what really sparked my interest was his app Run Around USA. Running can be tough, hard, arduous (insert adjective that would describe how difficult running can be sometimes). Run Around USA gives you incentive to get out there and run. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
First, let’s talk about mental health.
During my conversation with Eric, we posed the question – Who’s more apt to talk about mental health? Men or women?
It seems easier for women to talk about it, though that answer isn’t rooted in science nor do we have facts to back that up. It just appears that way. But supporting mental health is important to both Eric and those at Run Around USA (and Run Around Europe and Run Down Under, the other facets of the company).
About a month ago, Andy, the National Manager of Run Around Europe, put together a virtual event supporting mental health. The goal was to go for a run while wearing a white singlet or t-shirt and write the name of someone you know who is struggling with mental illness on that singlet or t-shirt. Then, take a picture and post it on Instagram hashtagging #whatifIrunwithyou to support those who are struggling.
And you can continue to support the cause by hashtagging #whatifIrunwithyou.
Who is Eric?
Eric has been coaching track & field at Harper College in Palatine, IL since 2008. He’s also a coach at Full Potential Running, coaching men and women ranging from 10-38 in both Chicago and virtually (if you’re looking for a coach, feel free to reach out to him!). Full Potential Running is about to hit their 2-year anniversary.
Eric started running in high school, but got a bit of a later start. He tried a bunch of different sports after starting with junior track, and found his way back to running. His runner’s journey was just like a lot of ours – filled with highs and lows, but there was continuous improvement, and he began to fall in love with the sport again.
He had success in High School and College and ran at the University of Illinois. He said, “When I put on the Illinois uniform for the first time, I was so excited.” It was his dream school.
He’s been training for marathons and half marathons since 2008, and now he’s taking it one step further, by trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials (marathon). He just got back into training for that.
When You Just Need a Break
In 2016, he took a break from running. He was trying to improve his speed and qualify for the Olympic Trials (marathon) and spent a lot of focus on that. Unfortunately, career and relationship goals were sacrificed a bit. Because of that, he needed a break. As most of us would.
He said he spent more time focused on coaching which gave him a different perspective on running. He was working with people in all different stages of their running journey. That was enlightening and uplifting.
Sometimes… you just need a break. And that’s ok.
Run Around USA
Run Around USA is a virtual running app, where the more you run, the further around the USA you go. It tracks your journey and allows you to follow others’, with incentives along the way. The app started in the US back in November, but originally started in Australia (Run Down Under), with literally excel sheets.
Now it’s in Australia, Europe, and the United States both online and with an app for your phone. I’ve been using it for a couple months now, and it’s a great motivator. I haven’t made it very far, yet, but I’ll get there!
Everyone starts off in Pittsburgh.
“Why Pittsburgh?” I asked.
“No rhyme or reason. We needed to start somewhere,” says Eric.
Sounds good to me.
You’ll run the entire perimeter of the US and end in Washington DC. It’s a 10,670 mile journey. But no need to fret. We have faith in you. Plus, there are check point towns along the way and it’s a great way to learn about the states and the history of the US as you venture on.
Download the app! It’s that simple. And keep at it. Apparently, towards the end of the trek you will run through Charlotte. That’s my goal – get back home! I joked that it’ll take me about 5 years, but I’ll get there!
Soon there will be the capability to like and comment on each others’ journeys. It’ll be a great way to encourage and motivate each other. And are you part of a run club? Your entire group can join, as well!
Running can be tough and sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated. For Eric, running is very intrinsic. He loves the adventure of a run, the ability to spend time thinking and meditating, and the successes that come with running.
If you haven’t started running yet, but want to, I suggest starting with signing up for Run Around USA. You can find me on there, and we can run the US together!