The Wings for Life World Run attracts people who participate at all levels, from casual walkers and weekend warriors to running enthusiasts and all-out distance crushers. Everyone is welcome, and all are inspired by their direct contribution to spinal cord injury research.
The running community itself is similar; many local running groups encourage anyone to join, and the group is united in celebrating each member’s own personal progress, regardless of what level they started at.
One such group local to the Santa Clarita, California, World Run location is the community created by the Runner’s Lane running store. Their active run group has helped them field a huge team for the World Run in 2014 and 2015, and they’re back with another impressive presence for 2016. We spoke with owner Flo Mina about the joy of running and the importance of interaction to help everyone achieve their goals.
[Photo above: A portion of Team Runner’s Lane at World Run 2015]
How did Runner’s Lane initially get involved with Wings for Life World Run?
Flo Mina: One of my employees saw some info on it and we reached out because we thought it was such a cool concept. Especially with proceeds going toward spinal cord injury research – that was a big reason we wanted to be a part of it.
What does it mean to you now that this will be your third year at the event?
We’re kind of part of the legacy of it now because we were there from the get-go. The main reason it’s a big part of our race schedule and why we push it heavily is that my business partner Melissa has had a really close call with spinal cord injury. She has two Harrington rods that hold up her spine, so it hit close to home when we found out that the charity aspect was for spinal cord injury research.
Do you think people have to be serious runners to participate?
Absolutely not. We have runners who have run 5k and been elated with that performance, and we’ve also had our manager Kyle Robinson finish in second place (in California) twice in a row. We have every level of runner represented. The World Run is your own race, and that’s what we teach our group in general, so it fits perfectly with what we have going on.
How active is the running community in Santa Clarita?
It’s huge here. It’s very convenient in Santa Clarita, because we have perfect paseos that run throughout the city. We can run around 20 miles easy without ever crossing a street. You’re completely safe from traffic. And this community is totally amped on fitness. If they aren’t running or biking, they’re at the gym. There’s a place for everyone and for every level.
What do you like most about the World Run’s unique format?
It’s great because some people are intimidated by having to complete an exact distance. But if they can just go out and do the best they can until the Catcher Car passes them, that’s all we can ask from them, and they’re totally proud of themselves. It’s a great first-time race for anybody. The whole atmosphere, the whole vibe during the race, the music, the hype – it’s just fun. It’s not like any other races we do.
Can people outside of Santa Clarita join Team Runner’s Lane?
Absolutely. We actually have people from up and down California and outside the country who have joined our team. We’re totally open to anybody joining our team, because it’s for a great cause.
If someone is interested in the community and activities you’ve created, how could they join the Runner’s Lane group after World Run?
People usually find us through Facebook; we do probably 95% of our communication through our Facebook page. We invite anyone who might be thinking about running for the first time to join us, so we have people in Canada, back east, in Texas — it’s a big community, just talking about being positive and encouraging.