7-Year Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Raceiversary Inspiration For Running Beginners

Finishing my first 10K. (Photo: brightroom)

Seven years ago to the day, I toed the line in my very first race. My raceiversary reminds me how far I’ve come: from a totally clueless newbie in cotton socks to an intermediate runner with seven marathons under my race belt. Running beginners, take heart.

On April 29, 2007, I remember being incredibly nervous as I readied for my first race ever, with 5,720 other runners lining up in New York City’s Central Park. I’d being running casually for two years already, so I’d run those hills countless times. But I still didn’t know what to expect from a “race.” It was New York Road Runners’ Run as One TGL Classic. I pushed myself as hard as I could and finished the 4-miler in 46:19 at an 11:34 pace.

Seven years later, I’m amazed by how far I’ve come. My 4-mile personal best is 34:38 at an 8:40 pace. I clawed my way from the back of the pack to the middle to the front of the middle. My half-marathon personal best is 19:18 faster than the national median time of 2:19:48 for women.

And I’m still getting faster.

I hear from running beginners a lot. Having started running from scratch after battling a bone tumor in my leg for a decade, I know what it’s like to hit the pavement and be instantly out of breath. But I also know that by sticking with it, I just kept getting better and running just kept getting easier.

So I thought I’d share some cold, hard stats about just how far I’ve come as a runner. Here’s a comparison between my race times from 2007 and now. The moral of the story: If I can do it, anyone can.

Inspiration For Beginning Runners

My first 1 miler at the Norway Run. (Photo: brightroom)

Inspiration For Running Beginners

My first race, April 29, 2007

4 miles then: 46:19 at 11:34 pace
4 miles now: 34:38 at 8:40 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 3-miler/5K, May 22, 2007

3 miles then: 32:17 at 10:45 pace
3 miles now: 23:22 at 7:47 pace

At the 2013 Wild Dog Triathlon

My first 10K, June 9, 2007

6.2 miles then: 1:11:20 at 11:30 pace
6.2 miles now: 54:09 at 8:44 pace

At a 2013 track workout

My first 1-miler, October 6, 2007

1.7 miles then: 16:14 at 9:32 pace
1 mile now: 6:46 at 6:46 pace

At the 2011 Fifth Avenue Mile (I haven’t raced a mile since then!)

Inspiration For Beginning Runners, New York City Marathon

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon. (Photo: brightroom)

My first marathon, November 4, 2007

26.2 miles then: 5:54:25 at 13:31 pace
26.2 miles now: 4:28:06 at 10:14 pace

At the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon

U.S. median women: 4:41:38 at 10:45 pace
U.S. median men: 4:16:24 at 9:47 pace
Stats from Running USA

My first half-marathon, November 4, 2007

(That’s right, my first half-marathon was the first half of the New York City Marathon! I didn’t race one until 2010.)

13.1 miles then: 2:45:56 at 12:40 pace
13.1 miles now: 2:00:30 at 9:12 pace

At the 2012 Staten Island Half Marathon

U.S. median women: 2:19:48 at 10:40 pace
U.S. median men: 2:01:37 at 9:17 pace
Stats from Running USA

Inspiration For Running Beginners

After nailing my current 3-mile PR. (Photo: Phil Hospod)


Anytime I get down on myself as a runner, have a bad race, or anything else that makes me doubt myself, I look back at these race times from 2007. I’ve come so incredibly far as a runner. And I know I still have more progress in me.

Now I’m staring down my 15th stand alone half-marathon, the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Mass., on June 8. I’m hoping to finally go sub-2 there. If not then, I know it will happen this fall.

So here’s to progress! I look forward to celebrating many more raceiversaries and personal records in the years to come.

Running beginners, are you with me?

Don’t forget to enter my SHAPE Diva Dash giveaway! One winner will get two race entries in any of eight cities around the U.S., a subscription to SHAPE magazine, and a month’s supply of EAS products. Or register with code AXKB to get $10 off.

Run the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half with me! Use codes blogrunkarlarunHalf, blogrunkarlarun5&10, blogrunkarlarunHat to get 10 percent off registration for Heartbreak Hill Half, the 5K and 10K Five & Dime or Hat Trick of all three races.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to SHAPE.com, the host of NYRR's On The Run web + TV show, and a race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 20 halves, 6 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

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