One thing you’ll hear a lot of runners say when asked (or volunteering) why they love running is that they love the sense of community. This community is not only found during the race, or even on the streets of your neighborhood during your training runs, as you nod to the person jogging past you.

It’s also found here, in the ubiquitous infiltration of the Internet into the world’s everyday life. For me personally, running is, ironically, pretty much the only reason I use social media anymore.

It seems Haley Gonzales, a Run This Year community runner and multi-marathoner, might relate.

Haley at 1 of the 2 times she's run the California International Marathon!
Haley at 1 of the 2 times she’s run the California International Marathon!

“I wanted to be accountable for my training and figured if I put it out there for people to see I need to stick to it. I found Run This Year through Twitter,” says Haley, a Sacramento resident who has been running since December 2011. “[Twitter] was something I NEVER thought I would join. But I have met some great runners and found communities like Run This Year.”

When Haley attended the 2011 California International Marathon to support her friend Krysta, she got a taste of the magic of the marathon. She says, “I was so inspired by all the runners, I loved the feeling of watching them and seeing the spectators cheer them on. I saw the faces of runners as they crossed the finish and I wanted to be a part of that.”

She began training for her first half-marathon immediately following that experience. A year later, she was a part of that very magic she witnessed as CIM runners crossed the finish line, as a California International Marathon finisher. In 2013, she did it again, with a 1 hour 25 PR to boot! As she neared the finish, she says, “I cried as I got to mile 26 because of how well I was doing. I was so happy!”

The community Haley has found through running is exactly what she wanted when she began blogging in 2012 and begrudgingly joined Twitter. “I want runner friends and this has helped with that. I decided to join RTY because I like the idea of having a goal as a community of runners,” she explains. “Even if it’s not the same goal we all cheer each other on and support one another.”

Haley has big plans to Run This Year. Among her goals to run a sub-1:45 half-marathon, a sub-24 5K (her current PR), and run two marathons (including the San Francisco Marathon – along with fellow RTY-er Jeremy! – on her birthday!), she has set her Run This Year goal at 2,014 kilometers.

“But I will probably do more,” she mused. She also noted, on why she joined Run This Year, “I have never logged my miles for a whole year and thought it would be cool to see how far I run in a year.”

As a bonus, if you’re in the Sacramento area, you should check out the running group Haley has been asked to head – #9run6. Want to learn more about that? Or just want to learn more about Haley in general? You can find her in the following social media communities:

twitter: @iamarunnergirl
instagram: @iamarunnergirl


Interested in joining Run This Year? Want to push yourself beyond what you once thought were limits? Join us in running the year in miles or kilometers – or whatever goal you want to push yourself toward. More info here