Lizzie Styles puts the "World" in Wings for Life World Run. She has participated in two World Runs, in two different countries, and finished among the top five women at each. Now she’s ready for a third, running in her home country for the first time in Santa Clarita on May 8. Check out a Q&A with Styles below.
You’ve run the WFLWR twice, both times in different countries — which ones?
Styles: I ran in 2014 in Barcelona, Spain and made it 35.7 km (22.2 miles). Then I ran in 2015 in Niagara Falls, Canada with a distance of 32.7 km (20.3 miles).
What country was your favorite to run in? Your least favorite?
My favorite country would have to be Spain. I decided to run this race just for the fun of it because I had never seen a race set up like it. I was supportive of the cause and I wanted to stay in shape for my college’s cross country running team while I was studying abroad in Barcelona. I was already in love with the city of Barcelona, so I enjoyed being part of such a community-focused race. I ran the first 13.1 miles of the race faster than I have ever run a half marathon before and continued on for another 10 miles. I had never run so far before and I loved the feeling of pushing my legs to their limit.
I also liked running in Niagara Falls because the course was beautiful, but it could not compare to the first time that I discovered the Wings For Life World Run in Spain.
What’s the craziest or most unique experience you had running in a foreign country?
The craziest experience I had while running was meeting people from around the world who are united for the same cause. I had the chance to talk to a former race car driver who is now confined to a wheel chair due to a crippling disease. He told me how happy he was for me and how much the race meant to him. It was a very heart warming experience.
Where are you running this year, and how are you preparing?
This year I am running in Santa Clarita, California. I am very excited to run in a new location, which I think is half the beauty of this race.
I’m currently building up my mileage. I had elbow surgery in the fall, which prevented me from running or training for about eight weeks. It actually gave me a greater appreciation for those who are not physically able to run and it reminded me that I should always be running for those who can't. Now that I’m healthy, I’m slowly building up strength and increasing my mileage. Hopefully I will be able to come close to my previous distances.
What does the WFLWR mean to you?
WFLWR is a unique race that will always have a place close to my heart. I plan on running every year and hopefully in a different country each time, if possible. I have a "Running for Those Who Can't" tattoo already designed. It is in Spanish, since I first ran the race in Spain. I plan on getting the tattoo after the 2016 race — it’s something that I always want to be part of my life. As long as I can run, I will be running for those who can't.
Join Lizzie Styles on May 8 — sign up now to run in Santa Clarita.