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The Life-Changing Impact of Running

Life-changing journey brought runner to the streets of Austin

Running is life-changing. That is undeniable. It impacts runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds. Running’s positive effects can be felt in veteran runners and newbies. It impacts everyone differently. For Jose Antonio Santiago, it all began with trying to complete 100 meters. It wasn’t easy, but it took him on a life-changing journey. Learn how that 100-meter run brought him to the streets of Austin and introduced him to his favorite marathon, the Austin Marathon.

From 100 meters to the Austin Marathon

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line with a Mexican flag. His life-changing journey began when he started running nine years ago.

Jose Antonio Santiago poses at the 2019 Austin Marathon finish line.

It all started nine years ago, trying to run 100 meters continuously. I found it difficult. After I did that I increased the distance to 200 meters. Six months later I ran my first 5K. After crossing my first finish line, I felt an emotion so strong that my life changed completely. Running is life-changing. In the following weeks, I ran my first 10K. Two years after I began running I completed my first marathon in Monterrey, Mexico, where I live. I crossed the finish line in 5:01. 

Austin Marathon love

I went to Chicago in 2018 and ran the marathon in 4:16, a 45-minute improvement. My most recent marathon was the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Everything allowed me to experience the city of Austin in a different way, the course, the people, the State Capitol, the finish line festival. I’m excited to return to Austin and run my favorite marathon on February 16th! One reason I love my annual visit is I get to soak up all of Austin while running the Austin Marathon.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, Rene Arguello, Christy Thomas, and Shawn Livingston.

Running’s Positive Impact Turned Around this Addict’s Life

Former veteran uses running’s positive impact to help others

The positive impact running has on people is widespread and far-ranging. Runners of all speeds and abilities have bettered their health, become better role models for their kids, and uprooted stigmas set by society. Shawn Livingston uses running’s positive impact to make up for lost time. Learn how he went from hitting rock bottom to being featured in a documentary and giving hope to those living the life he used to live in his edition of My Running Story. Experience running’s positive impact firsthand and join Shawn at the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon!

What running has done for me

Shawn Livingston crosses the finish line of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. His edition of My Running Story talks about the positive impact running has had on his life.

Shawn Livingston crosses the finish line of the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon.

Running has had a positive impact in every single aspect of my life. It has become the best medicine I could ever hope to find for both my physical and mental health. It’s also introduced me to a community the likes of which I have never seen before. The friends I have shared and endured so many miles with has left a bond that will last for life. Most importantly, running has given me the ability to help others.

As a combat veteran of the US Army, I lost my way once departing the service. I was plagued by symptoms of PTSD, the loss of close friends, injuries that led to opiate addiction, and legal trouble. I hit rock bottom. Eventually, I discovered running. It’s positive impact completely transformed my life. 

Woke the Monster

Andrew Shebay, with Pipeline Films, began filming a documentary called Woke the Monster (trailer below) a year ago. He just wrapped up production. This documentary would tell my story and highlight running’s positive impact. That film would provide a platform and show me I had the ability to help others by using my experiences. This would allow me to show individuals similar to me what’s possible. Addicts who still suffer, their families, and the rest of the world can see that people can change. They can accomplish feats beyond their wildest dreams. However, those who’ve led a life similar to mine often can’t change on their own. They need a pacer in the marathon of life. Someone with the ability to help inspire and motivate them to the finish line. 

The positive impact of running

I’ve started a movement, Be Somebody’s Pacer, so people can use their experiences in life to help others who are having similar troubles. If those of us who have suffered hardships and persevered aren’t using our experiences to educate others, then, in my opinion, it was all a waste. The ability to help others has become the most rewarding part of my life. If it wasn’t for running I would have never discovered that I had this special ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Follow my journey and stay up-to-date with Woke the Monster on Instagram.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, Rene Arguello, and Christy Thomas.

Lifestyle Change Introduces Mother of Two to Running

Lifestyle change leads to running, becoming more of a role model for her kids

Think back to when you started running – what was the reason? Just like every runner is different, so is the story of how every runner became a runner. Watching her boys grow up, Christy Thomas, mother of two, decided to make a lifestyle change. Read her edition of My Running Story to learn what led to this lifestyle change and what distance she’ll run during Austin Marathon weekend.

My running story is extraordinary because it has changed me inside and out

Image of Christy Thomas at a running event. She began running because she wanted to make a lifestyle change. Christy will run the 2020 Austin Half Marathon!

Christy started running after deciding to make a lifestyle change.

In 2015, I realized that I needed to make a lifestyle change. I would watch my two amazing little boys and be happy because they were mine. And then I would start thinking that if I wanted to be able to enjoy them as much as I could and as long as I could, I needed to change my habits and my health. There weren’t any major medical issues, but I was a bit overweight and pretty sedentary. I was ready to change my lifestyle.

I started with just a few miles at a time. During the Texas summer. And IT WAS HOT. Some would say it was the perfect time to begin. I was miserable. Then it got a bit better. And I found friends who ran. Better yet, friends that lived close, ran the same pace, and had kids about the same ages. It all clicked. 

Can’t stop running

I haven’t stopped running. In fact, my friends have pushed me to run farther and faster (not at the same time) than I ever thought I could do myself. Since I decided to make a lifestyle change and began running, I’ve become a healthy and happy role model for my kids. And I know I’ll be around for a long time to see my boys grow up. I’m excited to run the Austin Half Marathon and continue to be an excellent mother and role model.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, Erica Richart, Angela Clark, Rebecca Galvan, Jeremy Tavares, Axel Reissnecker, Blair Nagel, Brittany Drennan, and Rene Arguello.