This is the first of what I hope will be a long, interesting and inspirational string of Runner profiles. I’m not profiling the guys and gals you’ll see in the Olympics (though it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of those you’ll find here made it). This blog is about running. ‘Badass’ is an attitude, a feeling of exhilaration, pride, and accomplishment. These are runners who inspire me – and at least for now – all members of the “Badass Running” team, formed of like-minded runners who found one another on Facebook.
For my first profile, I have chosen Jamilia Williams… Over the past year, I have literally been stunned by the sheer volume of races she’s completed, and the miles she’s covered. ½ marathons, marathons, 50 mile races, and recently well beyond – Jamila truly epitomizes the ideals this site will try to embody… heck, I want to BE her… Let’s get to the interview:
PROFILE: JAMILA WILLIAMS
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/jamila.williams
Home State : SC
BAR: When did you start running?
JW: I started running 5ks in 2011 and first half marathon in DEC 2012 (Dallas MetroPCS) and first marathon (RNR SD June 2013)
BAR: Why do you run now?
JW: I love the feeling of freedom that running provides. It allows me to go into my own little world. My job is very stressful sometimes and it keeps me busy. Running relaxes me.
BAR: What motivates you?
JW: Lots of things motivate me but I love seeing people who don’t look like what a “typical runner” looks like working out and running. I’m especially motivated by people who have lost legs and arms, those who have battled terminal illnesses, lost a lot of weight, etc. I love hearing stories on how people got involved with running.
BAR: What was your longest race
JW: Nanny Goat 24 hour endurance race ….It took me 23 hrs 17 minutes to run 100 miles
BAR: What was your hardest course?
JW: Monument Valley 50k –What an incredibly scenic race but it required running through sand pits, climbing a mountain up to 6,500 ft, and very rocky terrain. I took lots of pictures though. I have Leadville Marathon next month. That has an elevation of over 13,000 ft so I am sure that will be even harder!
What was the hardest race for you?
JW: Bataan Memorial Death March- I ran a 50 miler and 50k the weeks before Bataan but I still decided to enter the heavy division (38 lb rucksack) and I also decided to bring Old Glory with me! I was so close to quitting several times as I realized that I took the wrong rucksack and packed it incorrectly. My shoulders were killing me! But, I received SO MUCH support on the course and even from wounded vets with no legs! I knew that I couldn’t give up!! It was such a sweet feeling coming across the finish line. Yes, I will do Heavy again. And I will be more prepared!
BAR: What was your favorite race (location / dates in case people would like to try it)?
JW: I love the Disney races. I ran the Disney half marathon, Disney marathon (January in Orlando), Wine and Dine twice (November in Orlando), Disneyland half (CA), and Avengers half marathon (November -CA). They give me a chance to enjoy myself and take pictures with characters. My goal is always to take pictures with ALL the characters and not worrying about my time at all
BAR: What is your favorite course?
JW: Tough to pick one. I would say Marine Corps Marathon. I can go on and on about this course! I love the Blue Mile where they honored service members who had passed away. The guy behind me called out all their names and I broke down in tears and got choked up. Several of my friends were also there cheering at different points along the route. Very emotional and beautiful experience for me. Can’t wait to do it again!
BAR: What are your favorite and least favorite distances, and why?
JW: Least – 2 mile APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) and 5ks because they are more sprinting- oriented events. I consider myself a distance runner so I love running at a much slower pace for a longer time.
Favorite- marathons and 50 milers – I love distance running so the further the better J
BAR: I see a lot of pictures of you with cupcakes. What is it about cupcakes?
JW: They’re delicious! So many different flavors to choose from!
BAR: Do you mind sharing your PRs?
JW: Half PR: 1:58:22 Marathon: 4:13:06 50 miler: 11:27:39 100 miler: 23:17
BAR: You often carry the American Flag with you… you and Old Glory on the road together. How did that start, and what does it mean to you? How far will you carry her?
JW: I started being interested in running with Old Glory after going to several races and seeing people run with her. I love my country, love serving in the Active Duty Army, and have been deployed. I love running with Old Glory. It’s my way of showing support and honoring fellow veterans, those currently fighting in combat, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice
BAR: You have a lot of running companions, and some groups. Can you tell us a little bit about them? What other runners, professionals, friends, etc. inspire you and why?
JW: Yes! I belong to several running groups such as Black Girls Run, Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs, 50 state half marathon club, 50 state marathon club, Team RWB, Wear Blue Run to Remember, National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA), Team Badass (of course), and Run it Fast. Each has its own different mission BUT they are all focused on running, working out, and staying fit. Several members in each of the clubs and groups that I belong to inspire me. Some are BQs, 100 miler gurus, and some who believe in “getting their money’s worth” on the course. Others are not even runners but they are positive minded individuals who believe in doing their best and making a difference in this world. My parents also inspire me! They are my biggest fans and I am very appreciative of everything that they have done for me.
BAR: What are your bucket-list goals as a runner, this year and beyond?
JW: I have a four year (when I’m 40) plan to qualify for Boston and run Leadville 100 miler (one of the toughest in the US). If I accomplish these before I’m 40 then I’ll have to find new and more challenging goals J
BAR: Do you have a favorite pair of shoes, or brand of shoes? Why?
JW: I am a die-hard Brooks fan (still am) because their shoes are the most comfortable. I have several pairs of Brooks Dyad shoes.
BAR: Is there any other gear you consider essential? Do you recommend one over another? Are there brands / items you’d like to try?
JW: I like my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Single Barrel for trail runs but I wear my Fitletic belt during races but honestly I don’t like to carry much gear on me ..I don’t like feeling weighed down
BAR: What apps / GPS equipment do you use. Are there others you’d like to try?
JW: Nike Plus, Garmin Forerunner 310XT. I would love to try the Garmin Forerunner 920XT or the new Apple watch though J!!!
BAR: Any advice for runners trying to catch up and keep up?
JW: Enjoy yourself and find your passion. For me, it started with 5k fun runs. I like running them occasionally because it feels good not worrying about time. Each person’s journey is different. Some are faster than others. Don’t compare yourself either. You’ll never be happy that way. My biggest piece of advice is to stay humble, compete against yourself, and never forget where you came from. Encourage those around you too. We all have our momentsJ