Q&A with Ultra Runner Sarah Leone

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New Balance and RootsRated have teamed up to profile runners making a difference in their communities. We asked each of our runners a series of questions to learn a little more about what running means to them, where they like to run and what are some of their running goals.

Sarah Leone, 37, has a contagious energy that radiates through her easy smile and vibrant eyes. As the Programs and Operations Director at Paradox Sports in Boulder, Colorado, her professional life centers around helping those with disabilities find adaptive ways to thrive in the outdoors. Her ability to inspire the world through positive change is downright contagious. When it comes time to recharge her own spirits, running plays a big part in keeping her life balanced.

What got you into running?
My favorite games as a kid involved running around. I formally got into running as a freshman in high school at the advice of my big brother. He thought it would be fun if we ran track together. I loved everything about it and never stopped!

What are some of your favorite trails/events?
Marshall Mesa, Anne U. White Trail, Bobolink and all of the Mount Sanitas area trails that meander up to the Red Rocks area and up Sunshine Canyon are incredible. Any community running event gets me fired up! The energy is amazing at all of them.

What does running mean to you?
Running changed my life. It was a huge part of what shaped me in high school and college to be the person I am today. It builds confidence, teamwork, and a healthy lifestyle. It makes you pay attention to your body, work through emotions, see how your form affects performance and injury prevention, and it builds a natural mental toughness in you. It created a positive social scene, life-long friendships and travel opportunities [that] I wouldn't have had otherwise. I also love the camaraderie ingrained in the running community, especially coming from a cross country running background where it's such a team sport. Usually runners will give each other a wave, a hello, a smile or a head nod. We're no longer strangers passing each other on the trail... we're one big runner family. We get each other and know the ups and downs we all go through. It's meaningful in different ways to everyone and I respect that shared understanding.

What are some of the local clubs or runs you're a part of?
The local running groups are amazing in Boulder. The Flatirons Running Group that meets at Under the Sun is a good time! Plus you get a free drink and entry into a drawing for swag!

Why is running an important part of your life?
Running is almost like meditation for me now. I keep a very busy life so this is my outlet for some quiet, reflective time. Even though I'm in motion, my mind is still... listening to the crunch of the trail under my feet, concentrating on my breathing, taking the time to soak up the warmth of the sun, the beautiful scenery, and the sounds of wildlife around me. I am so at peace when I run, even when I'm pushing it! It's always refreshing for my spirits.

You can read Sarah's full profile here.

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