Carla, Biologist, has been with ATL for 7 years. She started running four years ago and hasn’t looked back. Carla is one of the Co-Ambassadors for a run group called Black Girls Run (BGR) Indianapolis. The group encourages women to learn how to run or continue to run by hosting group runs.

BGR also hosts “Walk Before You Run” programs that help women get started on becoming a runner. At the end of the program participants graduate by running in a local 5K race like, Indy Women’s or SHE Power. They also team up and race in Geist, Monumental Marathon, and Carmel, to cheer and encourage each other to finish.

Describe what you love most about the sport of running, and the whole activity behind it? I love the ability to run outside and observe nature and watch how the seasons change. I like the ability to see how hard I can push myself each time I go out, especially for a race.

How does your passion for running impact your role at ATL? I can say it keeps me alert and allows me to prioritize my schedule.

On average, how many miles would you say you run each week? It really depends on if I have a race to train for or not. If I have a race coming up, I would say 16 or more miles a week. If I don’t have a race it’s probably 12 or less.

What is your favorite distance to run? I would say a 10K (6.2 miles) is my favorite.

Describe your best race/marathon/running experience? My best experience was just recently, running in the Ragnar Trail in Atlanta at the Georgia International Horse Park. There were 16 ladies who came from different states that represented BGR and were competing against over 100 teams. We split up into 2 teams of 8. We each had to run 3 trail loops. One loop was 4.2 miles, the intermediate loop was 5.3 miles and the hardest loop was 6.2 miles. It was a relay run where we kept running day and night until everyone completed their 3 loops. Instead of camping we chose to have the glamping experience where we had a 4-person tent, our own tables and chairs, and access to elite porta potties in our area of the campsite. Our glamping area also included a concierge who would make coffee for us in the morning and provide water, Gatorade, energy drinks and even beer throughout the day, and items to make s’mores at night over the bonfire.

Each loop was a challenge. We were running on a trail through the woods, going up and down steep hills and running through all kinds of terrain. We ran through dirt, grass, concrete slabs, over bridges, mud and water. We even ran at night, some of us had to run in the wee hours of the morning. When we completed our race, we celebrated by taking pictures with our medals and having mimosas provided by the concierge. It was a challenge but it was so much fun. I would love to do it again next year!

What race/marathon/accomplishment are you the proudest of or means the most to you? The race I’m most proud of is running the Chicago Marathon. It was my first marathon. I trained so hard for that race even though I went through some health issues. I remember having to run 18 miles on a Saturday but couldn’t finish because it started lightning. I got so much support and advice from my run group and friends to prepare for that race. Even though it rained during some parts of the marathon, it was still a good experience. There was support along the whole route and I got to see people of different races and cultures. The route took us through the different towns in Chicago, and the most important was the support I got from my run group friends that were there to cheer me on. I finished in even better timing than the one I set for myself which was 4:55:44.