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Just A Girl Who Decided to Go for It

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

For the past five years, Allison Nuara has wanted to run the TCS New York City Marathon. She’d never run one before, and had about six years of running experience, which includes running track in high school, two half marathons, and a handful of 10Ks. In 2020, Allison decided she wanted to run the NYC marathon, but never followed through with it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When she finally was ready to run the marathon, she knew she wanted it to be for a mental health charity. As an individual who struggles with depression, anxiety and ADHD, Still I Run was a NYC marathon charity partner that caught her eye. “I fell in love with Still I Run’s mission and the initiatives that are put forward towards the running community, “remarked Allison.

When Allison found out she was selected to run the 2022 TCS New York City marathon as a part of Team Still I Run, it was a dream come true. “I was going through a very hard period of my life. A lot to do with mental health. Once I was selected it gave me the motivation to train and additionally held me accountable. It was very challenging, but so exciting,” remarked Allison.

In order for her to run the marathon, she knew she needed to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the challenge. Additionally, in order to fundraise, Allison would have to talk about her mental health challenges to friends, family, and coworkers in order to share the mission and her “why” for joining Team Still I Run.

The Only Journey is the Journey Within:

Mental health is commonly stigmatized due to the lack of understanding about what mental health conditions are and what it is like to live with one. According to the American Psychological Association ( APA), stigma happens when people are negatively viewed for having a specific characteristic - whether that's mental, physical, or otherwise. Allison grew up in a household where the stigma around mental health was prevalent. It wasn’t until the age of 26, that Allison decided to be proactive and schedule a visit with a psychiatrist. That visit revealed a diagnosis of ADHD, anxiety, and depression. That hit her hard. “I refused to admit to myself I actually had depression. I was afraid of the stigma. I was afraid it would change me, and I was in denial that I was depressed,” explained Allison. Group therapy ended up helping her a lot in terms of how to open up and express her daily struggles in a safe space without judgment. Eventually, she felt more comfortable trying to treat her ADHD and anxiety.

Runners are Friends You Haven’t Met:

During race weekend, in addition to running the marathon, Allison got to meet up with the rest of the Still I Run Charity Team, something that she said was very exciting. “I felt like I knew them my whole life,” remarked Allison. “We were all excited to be there.” This sense of camaraderie during race weekend was due in part to regular texts, emails, and zoom calls the months leading up to race day. Connecting virtually allowed the team to talk as much as possible and build friendships before meeting in person. “I got so lucky with my team. Sasha and Patty are truly amazing. It was incredible we were all running the NYC marathon together and raised so much money. It is nice to know how many people care about defeating the stigma on mental health,” stated Allison.

The Joy of the Run:

The day of the marathon threw Allison a couple of curve balls. It started off with having to wait two and a half hours at the Staten Island Ferry, which resulted in her missing her wave at the start of the race. There were also record high temperatures, making running weather less than ideal. Despite it all, Allison’s enthusiasm for the big event was not taken away.

Allison says that running the TCS New York City Marathon was magical for her. "I was wearing my Mets hat during the race and strangers would shout ‘Let's Go Mets!’,” remarked Allison. “I also got about one hundred high fives from kids as I ran by them. The excitement from the crowds kept her going until about Mile 18. It was then she needed a break because she had a bad stomachache. Eventually, the pain subsided, and Allison was able to continue.

When Allison approached the finish line, she shared that she started to have feelings of embarrassment due to the fact her finish time would be 40 minutes slower than she hoped for. However, she gave positive thinking a try, and started repeating to herself the familiar Still I Run mantra of “forward is a pace”. That phrase and belief in herself helped carry her through the finish line and gave herself the love and grace she deserved. “I did it. I was so proud of myself. No one can understand what it is like until you do it. I teared up once because I was in disbelief and shock that I was actually there,” shared Allison.

Forever On Cloud 9:

Running 26.2 miles was beyond anything Allison could ever fathom five years ago. “I am so grateful for Still I Run and how they are making the world a better place,” Allison shared. The new marathoner had so much fun running the race that she plans to run NYC again in 2023. From her marathon experience, Allison realized she now enjoys training for a race because it provides accountability and motivation. “I plan to run NYC each year. I know I can run faster if I train in a different way, by adding weight training to my workouts.”

Today, Allison can confidently say she ran her first marathon. She can also call herself a Still I Run ambassador! Allison told us she loved her connection to Still I Run so much that she applied to be a 2023 ambassador. Now, as a Still I Run ambassador, Allison proudly represents the organization at local races in her area. Through dedication and perseverance, Allison is a fantastic role model for fellow mental health runners, and Still I Run is thrilled to have her in the Ambassador Program! If you or someone you know would be interested in applying for the 2024 ambassador program, applications open up in October. You can even subscribe to our monthly newsletter for updates, store sales and Still I Run events!


By Michele Krimmel

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